About Woolston Brass

Biography of a Band...

Founded in 1891 the band has remained true to the ideal expressed in its Maori motto, Tohea kia kaha (Persevere, so there is Strength), and is today one of New Zealand's most enduring performing arts institutions.

Woolston Brass is New Zealand's most successful contesting brass band. As current holders of the NZBBA Marching Championship and the CPBBA Championship the band is, and always has been, a force to be reckoned with on the contest stage.

Besides its contesting prowess, the band is recognised as a versatile and popular stage performer, be it concert hall auditorium, dance hall, church, retirement village or municipal park! The band strives to perform its culturally unique music to the wider public at every opportunity.

A self-funding amateur music organisation, the band provides a learning facility for developing players, and an artistic outlet befitting those with more experience. With a playing strength of nearly thirty (ranging in age from sixteen to sixty), the members are a diverse mix of business and trades people, teachers, students, soldiers and senior citizens, – all brought together by a common interest and a love of making music.

One of the few New Zealand brass bands to tour overseas, Woolston's travelogue records visits to Great Britain, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. In 2000 the band retraced the pioneering steps of Merven Waters' 1975 band by touring Great Britain and competing in the revered "British Open". Unfortunately, the millennium band could not better the 5th place benchmark set by its forebears.

GrahamGraham Hickman is the band's current Music Director.
At the helm since 2006, Graham has extensive conducting experience with orchestras, jazz bands, choirs, and brass bands, including five years as the professional conductor of the New Zealand Army Band. He holds national solo titles on cornet and flugel horn, and has performed with groups as varied as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the National Band of New Zealand and the Victoria Big Band.

After some close-runs, Graham first hit the bulls-eye in 2008 when under his baton, the band lifted the inaugural Australasian title in Coolangatta, Australia. Six months later he again lead the band to a deft win at the New Zealand National Championships in Napier. 2010 saw Graham continue to roll out the results, not only on the contest platform, but in the concert hall and recording studio as well. At a highly successful (but very cold!) national contest in Dunedin (2010), Graham led the band in its retention of the New Zealand title, then in July 2011 he succesfully completed a hat trick of National championships by winning the 2011 title on Auckland's North Shore. Not content with this, Graham made history in 2012 by leading Woolston Brass to its first ever four-in-a-row championship title in Timaru. He has produced a CD recording with the band, Woolston Rhythm'n'Brass.

Graham is the latest in a long line of distinguished Woolston conductors. Past luminaries include Dick Estall, Mervyn Waters, Ken Smith and David Gallaher, under whose ten-year tenure the band achieved a remarkable contesting record including a hat-trick of National Championship wins in 2000, 2001, and 2002.

WinnersFour in a row New Zealand A grade Champion Band –Timaru 2012.

On Stage
New Zealand A-Grade Champion Band, Napier, 2009: Woolston Brass performing at their annual pre-contest recital, "Seriously Brass".

Marching
New Zealand Champion Marching Band, Napier, 2009: In brand new uniforms, Woolston Brass continued their winning ways by becoming the Champion Marching Band yet again. This was the first A-Grade band event at the Napier contest and was an encouraging start to a highly successful week of solo, ensemble and band events.

Recent Contest Results

16th -20th July 2013, New Plymouth. Chief Adjudicator: Stephen Bulla (USA)
Section Music Points Place
A Grade Sacred Item Just As I Am by Wilfred Heaton 91 3rd
A Grade Test The Promised Land by Kenneth Downie 143 3rd
A Grade Own Choice Audivi Media Nocte by Oliver Waespi 145 2nd
A Grade Championship Aggregate   379 3rd
A Grade Street March Queensbury   1st

 

4th -9th July 2012, Timaru. Chief Adjudicator: Dr Robert Childs (UK)
Section Music Points Place
A Grade Sacred Item Ubi Caritas Paul Mealor arr. D Fiu/S Chapman 95 1st=
A Grade Test Breath of Souls by Paul Lovatt-Cooper 145 2nd
A Grade Own Choice From Ancient Times by Jan Van der Roost 146 1st
A Grade Championship Aggregate   386 1st
A Grade Street March Knight of the Road William Rimmer   1st
2012 Band of the Year     1st

 

20th -24th July 2011, North Shore, Auckalnd. Chief Adjudicator: Steve Bastable (UK)
Section Music Points Place
A Grade Sacred Item The Pohutukawa Stands by Peter Meecham 90 2nd
A Grade Test Les Preludes by Franz Liszt arr: Bram Gay 140 1st
A Grade Own Choice The Red Priest by Philip Wilby 145 1st
A Grade Championship Aggregate   375 1st
A Grade Street March Knight of the Road William Rimmer   1st

 

7th -11th July 2010, Dunedin. Chief Adjudicator: Barrie Gott (Australia)
Section Music Points Place
A Grade Sacred Item His Provision by Ivor Bosanko 97 1st
A Grade Test The Torchbearers by Peter Graham 146 2nd
A Grade Own Choice On the Shoulders of Giants by Peter Graham 146 1st
A Grade Championship Aggregate   391 1st
A Grade Street March Cancelled due to weather conditions
2010 Band of Year     1st

 

2009 Napier. Chief Adjudicator - Professor David King (Australia)
Section Music Points Place
A Grade Sacred Item Canterbury Chorale by Jan van der Roost 94 3rd
A Grade Test Paganini Variations by Philip Wilby 143 3rd
A Grade Own Choice Dreams by Bertrand Moren 148 1st
A Grade Championship Aggregate   385 1st
A Grade Street March Knight of the Road by W Rimmer 513 1st
2010 Band of Year     2nd

 

2008 Christchurch. Chief Adjudicator - Simone Rebello (UK)
Section Music Points Place
A Grade Sacred Item Eventide - arr Kenneth Young 90 4th
A Grade Test Ballet for Band by Joseph Horovitz 142 5th
A Grade Own Choice Music of the Spheres by Phillip Sparke 146 1st
A Grade Championship Aggregate     3rd
A Grade Street March Ravenswood 484.5 1st
2010 Band of Year Entertainment programme   1st

 

2007 Auckland.
Section Music Points Place
A Grade Sacred Item Light of the World 94 3rd
A Grade Test Concerto No.1 for Brass Band by Derek Bourgeois 139 -
A Grade Own Choice Vienna Nights 143 1st
A Grade Championship Aggregate   376 -
A Grade Street March Queensbury 489 2nd

 

2006 Dunedin
Section Music Points Place
A Grade Sacred Item Lo He Comes with Clouds Descending 98 1st
A Grade Test Between the Moon and Mexico 144 3rd
A Grade Own Choice Extreme Makeover 147 2nd
A Grade Championship Aggregate   389 1st
A Grade Street March Queensbury 500.5 1st
Champion of Champions Kevin Hickman (Cornet) Quatre Variations   1st
Grateful