Organisers of the 40th National Youth Jazz Competition say everyone involved still had a ball despite Cyclone Cook creating an overhaul of the event's programme.

The cyclone shut down several main roads in and out of Tauranga and many buildings and businesses closed early for safety reasons, including Baycourt Community and Arts Centre where the youth jazz event was being held.

Many schools which planned to take part in the annual event were unable to make it but of those who attended, each performed.

Bands came from as far north as Orewa, and as far south as Wellington. Nine Big Bands performed in the Addison Theatre and 11 Combos performed in the Exhibition Space.


Head judge Dr Rodger Fox felt the standard of combos and big bands was improving year to year, in large part due to the schools returning to the competition and building on their performances each time.

This year after performing both combos and big bands received an onstage workshop with a judge receiving immediate feedback.

"The bands are very receptive to feedback and this is showing in the band performances. We gave four Gold Big Band Awards and five Gold Combo Awards. This says it all. It's great to see students really working on improvisational playing," Dr Fox said.

There were four gold Big Band awards presented to: Tauranga Boys College Big Band, Trident High Big Band, Orewa College Jazz Band, Pukekohe High School Stage Band with Pukekohe High School Stage Band winning the New Orleans Trophy for the Best Big Band and the Best of Festival Trophy for the most outstanding jazz band.

The competition director, Liam Ryan, said the National Youth Jazz Competition fostered excellence in jazz performance offering the young competitors unique opportunities to improve their performances.

"We had more bands registered than we have ever had - it's just such a shame that the weather didn't co-operate. The bands that performed really brought their A game and set a new benchmark for excellence. A big thanks must go out to the school musical directors, young performers who played their hearts out, parents and support teams who came along and make it happen."

40th National Youth Jazz Competition Award Winners:

Sounz Trophy - best performance of a New Zealand composition: Auckland Grammar School
Best of Festival Trophy - Most outstanding jazz band: Pukekohe High School Stage Band
New Orleans Trophy - Most outstanding Big Band: Pukekohe High School Stage Band
Big Band Gold Award: Tauranga Boys College, Trident High Big Band, Orewa College Jazz Band, Pukekohe High School Stage Band
Big Band Silver Award: Bethlehem College Jazz Band, Auckland Grammar Big Band, Tauranga Girls College, Hillcrest High School Jazz Band, Avondale College Big Band
Best Jazz Combo - Norman Family Trophy: Lynfield College Jazz Combo
Combo Gold Award: Blend (Tauranga Girls College), Wellington High School Jazz Band, Haphazard (Auckland Grammar School), Lynfield College Jazz Combo, Avondales Blue Note Combo (Avondale College),
Combo Silver Award: Kai Time (Tauranga Boys College), Good Vibes (Western Springs/Rosmini College), PHS Quintet (Pukekohe High School), Dandy (Whangaparaoa College), Mason Jar (Tauranga Boys College), Avondale College Jazz Combo
Award for innovation - Derek Jacombs Trophy: Liam Bewley (Trident High School)
Best original composition - Ken Mitchell Trophy: Robin Baek (Auckland Grammar)
Best saxophonist - Yanagisawa Trophy: Andrew Isdale (Lynfield College)
Most outstanding bassist - P & S Penman Trophy: Harry Scholes (Western Springs/Rosmini College)
Most outstanding drummer - Hill/Wilcock Trophy: Lewis Huysmans (Auckland Grammar)
Most outstanding guitarist - Mayers Music Centre Trophy: James Poss (Avondale College)
Most outstanding keyboard player - Bay City Music Trophy: Elijah Wilson (Auckland Grammar)
Most outstanding pianist - Bill Hoffmeister Trophy: Elijah Wilson (Auckland Grammar)
Most outstanding trombonist - Rodger Fox Trophy: Tina Jeong (Tauranga Girls College)
Most outstanding trumpet or flugel - Edwina Thorne Trophy: James MacEwan (Western Springs/Rosmini College)
Most outstanding Big Band drummer - Lauren Ellis Trophy: Ben Frater (Pukekohe High School Stage Band)
Most outstanding vocalist - Dave Feehan Trophy: Kiara Fernandes (Avondale College)
Most outstanding young musician - George Rawiri Trophy: Andrew Isdale (Lynfield College)
Most outstanding clarinettist - Tom Bayliss Trophy: Sam Ashton (Tauranga Boys College)
Most outstanding flautist - Errol Christiansen Trophy: Keeson Perkins-Treacher (Wellington High School)