Shauni James is a Rotorua Daily Post reporter

Festival gives pupils better music grasp (+video)

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Rhapsody Rotorua has been offering opportunities of fun and learning for the students in a local high school's jazz band.

Yesterday John Paul College's Jazz Band performed for family and musical director Rodger Fox, followed by a workshop with him.

Rhapsody Rotorua is a premier youth festival for New Zealand and Australia, which involves adjudication sessions, workshops and performances.

Year 9 John Paul College Jazz Band player Sofia Czyrek, 13, said she liked Rhapsody Rotorua as she enjoyed music in general, and enjoyed playing the saxophone with a group of people she was friends with.

"It's something to look back on after graduation."

She said the workshops were informative and gave students a better understanding of music, as just playing the notes right did not mean it was perfect.

"It's a completely different culture and language."

Year 11 piano player Denisa Berbece, 15, said the music was "not just notes on paper", as there were also aspects such as the rhythm, accents and where you stress the notes.

"It's really fun. It's great seeing other musicians play from New Zealand and Australia."

She said it "really great" playing in a band as it was more communal and there were some fun memories.

John Paul College head of faculty for Arts Matt Czyrek said Rhapsody Rotorua was "fabulous" as it allowed students to mingle with and listen to other musicians from around the country and Australia.

Mr Czyrek said it was an opportunity to see where the band was going and for the students to see what they could become.

There would also be workshops on Friday by tutors from different schools from around the Bay of Plenty and Australia, he said.

He said John Paul College Jazz Band students would also be in a performance on Friday night as part of larger groups.

This gave them a chance to play with a different conductor and students, learn from each other and to learn new music in a larger group, Mr Czyrek said.

Rhapsody Rotorua includes two free public concerts, both at 7pm at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre today and tomorrow.

Today's concert is of individual school ensembles and tomorrow's is gala performances.

Tickets can be obtained at the Performing Arts Centre.

This is the 16th year of the event and features over 600 students.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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