Hawke's Bay people who enjoy the sounds of the big bands have a another treat lined up just a few weeks after the National Brass Band Championships were staged in Napier.

For the first time in four years the acclaimed, and well-travelled, Royal New Zealand Air Force Band will play a concert in Napier as part of a two-city engagement.

The band will play at the Napier Municipal Theatre on August 4 before heading to play at the Gisborne War Memorial the following day.

For bagpiper Murray Mansfield, who was awarded the Queen's Service Medal for his services to pipe bands last month, it will be a brief visit back to the city he grew up in as he is set to join the band on stage to play a rendition of O Waly Waly.


The Napier Boys' High School old boy has lived in Palmerston North, and at the Ohakea Air Force base, since 1989 and has been playing the bagpipes since he was 5. He has played with seven pipe bands and is a multi-time winner of premier solo piping competitions with his music heard around the world.

It has been a busy past year for members of the 60-strong band, having played at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Anzac Day services at Gallipoli and Queen's Birthday celebrations at the New Zealand Air Force Museum in Christchurch.

"We've performed to 80,000 people this year which is a record for us," the band's music director, Flight Lieutenant Simon Brew, said. "The Edinburgh Military Tattoo was terrific because the atmosphere in the stadium was electric - the performances inspired and brought so many people together.

"Now we're really looking forward to touring Napier and Gisborne for the first time in four years."

He said the concert would feature showtunes, melodies from silent movies, classical masterworks, jazz solos and rousing military marches including the Dambusters March, Ron Goodwin's 633 Squadron and the Air Force Medley.

The band will also be joined by soprano Leading Aircraftwoman Barbara Graham.

Tickets for the 7.30pm concert are available through Ticketek with adults $25, seniors $20 and $5 for students.