Two Tauranga school bands have won top honours at the 42nd National Youth Jazz Competition over the weekend.
The two-day competition at the Baycourt Community & Arts Centre on April 5 and 6 involved 380 students from 21 schools performing in Big Band and Combo band sections.
The repertoire of tunes played by the competitors covered a wide range of styles, all composed by the students.
The Best of Festival Trophy for the Most Outstanding Jazz Band was won by Tauranga Girls' College band Thomas the Tank Engine, and the New Orleans Trophy for Most Outstanding Big Band went to Tauranga Boys' College.
The Norman Family Trophy for Best Jazz Combo band was won by Auckland Grammar School and three students from Tauranga Boys College each received individual awards.
Reuben Stephens received the Rodger Fox Trophy for Most Outstanding Trombonist and Troy Weenik was awarded the Bill Hoffmeister Trophy for Most Outstanding Pianist.
James Robinson won the Edwina Thorne Trophy awarded to the Most Outstanding Trumpet or Flugel player in the competition.
Avid jazz fans Kay Gordon from Brookfield, who was in the audience on Saturday afternoon with her sister, mother and two other relatives said it was "fantastic".
"We came because we all just love jazz. These young people are so talented and creative and the singers were amazing. We are so pleased we came, we thoroughly enjoyed it."
Kerikeri College student Hunter Chalmers, 17, said it was "exhilarating" to get the chance to perform in front of such as audience and it was "lots of fun".
Musician and National Youth Jazz Competition director Liam Ryan said the students' performances are always a "knockout" and it was his favourite time of the year.
This year a record 380 students from 21 secondary schools from Wellington to Kerikeri showcased the "best youth jazz" in the country, he said.
"The standard of the performances was incredibly high, with jazz becoming a popular part of the New Zealand school music curriculum. The students blew us away again this year with their musicality and their enthusiasm," Ryan said.
"We love that Tauranga comes out and supports them too," he said.
Head Judge Dr Rodger Fox said the standard of the combo bands and big bands were improving year on year.
"It's very encouraging to see the competition continuing to grow. It shows it is valued by the schools... it's great to see students really working on improvisational playing."
The competition is sponsored by Tauranga City Council, TECT, ARA, University of Auckland; New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, SAE Institute, Music Planet, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Pub Charity, Grassroots Trust, The Southern Trust, and Dr Toot.