The little brass band that could

By Anne-Marie McDonald

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Members of Brass Whanganui: front, left to right, Matt Johnston, Karen Page. Back, left to right, Gordon Ririnui, Tracy Wilson, Bruce Jellyman, Jonathon Greenwell, Riki Wainhouse and Allan McDonnell.
Members of Brass Whanganui: front, left to right, Matt Johnston, Karen Page. Back, left to right, Gordon Ririnui, Tracy Wilson, Bruce Jellyman, Jonathon Greenwell, Riki Wainhouse and Allan McDonnell.

Brass Whanganui punched well above their weight at the National Brass Band Competitions in Napier over the weekend.

Competing in the B-grade section, Brass Whanganui came first in their grade in the street march - achieving third place over all grades - and third in their grade in the stage events.

They gained a higher placing in the street march than some of the A-grade bands.

A number of band members also achieved second placings in some of the solo sections: Riki Wainhouse, at the age of just 12, in the under-15 cornet; Jonathon Greenwell in the open bass trombone; Matt Johnston in the open euphonium; Ethan Mancer in the junior euphonium; and Ian O'Malley and Hamish Jellyman in the open duet.

Musical director Bruce Jellyman said he was "delighted" with the results.

"The national champs are the holy grail of brass bands, and we were competing against some extremely good bands.

"We couldn't have wished for better results. They were the result of two months of extremely hard work from the band," Mr Jellyman said.

He said Brass Whanganui was in a "re-building phase" and was not yet ready to move up to A-grade.

Bands compete in four grades, with A being the top and D the lowest.

Mr Jellyman said it was a big mission to get all 38 band members plus their kit - including large musical instruments such as bass drums and tubas - to Napier and back.

Watch Brass Whanganui compete in the street march here:

- Wanganui Chronicle

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