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 holders of the current NZBBA
A-Grade Championship, the NZBBA Marching Championship, the CPBBA Championship and the inaugural 1998 Australasian (FABB) 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.
Graham 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.
Four in a row New Zealand A grade Champion Band –Timaru 2012.
New Zealand A-Grade Champion Band, Napier, 2009: Woolston Brass performing at their annual pre-contest recital, "Seriously Brass".
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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|