From daunting to exciting, Paraparaumu College is sending a newly-formed jazz band to the National Youth Jazz Festival in Tauranga for the first time.
The jazz band was formed last year under the expertise of House of Sound tutor Andy Christiansen and since then has been building up a repertoire in preparation.
"When Andy introduced the idea of attending the festival mid last year, the group was really keen," extra-curricular arts director Clare Thorley said.
"It was a daunting prospect at first, but one where the focus was on being part of a really unique festival, and where they will learn a lot about their craft, being among like-minded peers.
"This is hugely valuable.
"We are first-time participants, so there is much anticipation and excitement around the trip north."
The band's first performances have been at the college's jubilee celebrations last year and for Waikanae Rotary and Paraparaumu Bowling Club for invited audiences.
"It has been fantastic to have these opportunities, for the students to feel they have the support of their community.
"It has allowed the group to further develop their confidence and cohesiveness."
The band consists of 12 students, seven of whom are travelling to Tauranga for the festival which starts tomorrow and runs over Easter weekend.
"I can't decide what I'm looking forward to the most out of getting to play in front of lots of people and getting to listen to other people play," said year 12 student Jack Harman.
Having taken part in the New Zealand Jazz Foundation workshops in January at the New Zealand School of Music, Nicholas Harman and Aidan Romain are also looking forward to being in an environment full of like-minded musicians.
"We are looking forward to watching some of the really good bands perform, but we're also looking forward to seeing musicians that we met at the workshop in January and connecting with them again," said Aidan.
The band are all male except for a year eight student, Hannah Harman, from Paraparaumu Beach School who has stepped up to play trumpet for the group, making it a family affair with her two older brothers playing saxophone.
"Our trumpet player got braces and found it too hard to play," said Jack.
"The trumpet is a really nice addition to the sound and as Nicholas and I (her brothers), were going and our mum was taking us, we thought it would be a good experience for her."
Featuring a double bass, drums, keyboard, trumpet, clarinet and two alto-saxophones the band was tight and polished during their dress rehearsal send-off performance at the college last week.
Not afraid to do solos and perform in front of half the school, the band is hoping this will be the first of many visits to the national festival for years to come.