You could not get much more musical variety than that exhibited in Whanganui over the weekend.

At one end of the scale was the NZCT Chamber Music Contest for secondary schools, held at Prince Edward Auditorium over three sessions on Friday.
Students from Whanganui High School, Wanganui Collegiate School, Nga Tawa, Whanganui Girls' College, Cullinane College, Wanganui Home Educators and St Dominic's College took to the stage with piano, strings, percussion, brass, guitars, flutes and more, performing pieces from international and New Zealand composers, including one local composer, Ben Power, who, as part of The Classical Modes Take 3, performed his own composition, Arvor.

Their adjudicator was Anthony Ferner, a musician with impeccable credentials and years of adjudicating competitions throughout Australasia.

The occasion was organised by Ingrid Culliford and a team of volunteers, with the many musicians brought up to standard by some very dedicated Whanganui music teachers.


I caught the Friday evening session and saw and heard plenty to be impressed with.

The following night we trooped off to the Royal Whanganui Opera House for the regional Smokefree Rockquest competitions for an entirely different evening of music, again played by secondary school students.

Bands, solo acts and duos played electrified original music in a variety of styles – rock, pop, reggae, rap, ethnic, Maori – and wowed a packed, boisterous crowd, all cheering for their own favourites.
There were awards for performance and song writing and a People's Choice award determined by public vote.

It really was a weekend of extremes in secondary school music – and there was even a singer who performed in both the Chamber Music Contest and Rockquest! Needless to say she had to perform two contrasting styles – and she did it well. Go Cypress Kani-Hurinui!

The weekend proved that there is no shortage of musical talent in the region and that the love of music is alive and well.
It also showed us that there is a huge number of dedicated teachers, parents, organisers, sponsors and volunteers who pool their love, expertise, time and money to give the students the best possible start to a potential music career. All of those young musicians received heaps of encouragement and tuition to give them the confidence to stand on the stage in front of their peers and play their hearts out.
From the audience's point of view, it was well worth it and we wish you all the greatest success.
■ ■ ■
I wonder about our legacy.
By that I mean the physical remnants of our time here. What will we leave for our descendants to cherish as worth keeping? What will we bequeath for our children's children to marvel at and admire?

I look at the old buildings that make up Whanganui and add value to its vista, and wonder what contribution our generations are making.

There are many who have no respect for the past and its lessons for the future, rushing to discard the legacy of those before us and rebuilding in cement and glass. We are allowing the removal of architectural beauty and grace, rushing to fill the void with practical structures of convenience and impermanence. What will the future try to save of our work? Will they argue for the preservation of our modern bank buildings and shopping malls, our barns of steel girders and concrete walls? Will they gaze in wonder at the things they inherit from us, or will they rush to destroy it? Will they see what we were trying to do with our vast acreages of retail space and cherish it as something worth saving? Or will they wonder why we hadn't learned anything from those that came before us?

As we pull down historic grandstands to make parking spaces, what are we creating of equal or higher value?
We did not build the opera house, art gallery or museum, but at least the future will respect us for keeping them intact.

It would be interesting to be able to look ahead and see what remains of our time here. Would we be pleased with our accomplishments ... or not?
■ ■ ■
Britain was rattled by a 3.9-magnitude earthquake on Saturday, a shake so bad that teacups were seen (and heard) to rattle and someone almost spilled their latte. It made the news and swamped social media.

I'm not poking fun at the Brits for feeling the fear when the earth moved a little, I'm interested in the New Zealand reaction to it. We see it from our perspective and laugh at the scaredy-cats.

There will be Kiwis in Britain bragging about everyday quakes in New Zealand, about how we don't even pause in our daily activities unless a quake reaches somewhere near magnitude 7. There are thousands of quakes worldwide every year of greater magnitude than the one centred 18km below Grimsby, Lincolnshire on Saturday, but so what? If you don't get many earthquakes, each one is an occasion for fear or worry. I wonder what they think of our "crimewaves" or "winter".