Hamilton locals Simon Winship, 20, and Walter Hughes, 15, are part of this year's National Youth Brass Band (NYBB) which is gathering in Hamilton from Sunday for five days of rehearsal and a concert at the Gallagher Concert Chamber next week.
The band will be in town from January 17 and features 37 of the country's most talented young brass and percussion players. All members are under 23 years, and the youngest is 13.
Under the baton of musical director Alan Spence from Whakatāne, the band will perform a programme of contemporary and classical music, but also jazz, and New Zealand music.
Simon and Walter both play baritone horn, a low-pitched brass instrument in the saxhorn family.
Simon is member of Hamilton City Brass and started playing when he was 13. This year will be his third year in a row of being a NYBB member.
"We have a messy year behind us, lots of concerts and even the New Zealand Brass Band Championships were cancelled. So, I am excited that we can finally do something and perform again," he says.
He especially looks forward to the big concert at the end. "It features music I never played before, but I like the challenge."
Walter is part of NYBB for the first time this year, but he has been playing brass for four years. Currently, he plays solo cornet for Hamilton Auxiliary Brass.
"Both my parents play brass instruments and when I was younger, I watched them rehearse and play until I eventually wanted to try it myself.
"I am happy to be part of the band this year and really look forward to perform," the Fraser High School student says.
The concert is titled "Ka mua, ka muri: Walking backwards into the future", which reflects the long history of brass bands in New Zealand. The youth band therefore represents the future of the movement.
The NYBB also has some development players, including cornet player Pire Poi Wilson of Matamata Brass.
This year's programme features two new pieces: "Ka mua, ka muri" written by former National Youth Brass Band member Dale Vail, and "Resplendere" written by current band member Kodi Rasmussen.
There will also be free outdoor concert at Hamilton Gardens on January 20 at 12.30pm if the weather permits.
NYBB has been running for 62 years. Auditions for new members are held each year.
The main concert in Hamilton will be at the Gallagher Concert Chamber on January 21 at 7pm.
After Hamilton, the band will perform a concert in Whakatāne on January 22 and on the North Shore in Auckland on January 23.
Tickets are $20 adult, $15 concession (senior/student/unwaged) and free for under 12-year-olds. Tickets available through Eventfinda or at the door.