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Bringing down the house at the KBB Music Festival

ACG Parnell College bands wowed audiences at the KBB Music Festival with outstanding performances that saw both a silver and bronze placing. 
ACG Parnell College bands wowed audiences at the KBB Music Festival

The KBB Music Festival showcases the talents of Auckland’s finest high school musicians, and this year, 60 ACG Parnell College students were among the best and brightest.

Performing at the magnificent Holy Trinity Cathedral alongside 4500 musicians from 50 schools, the ACG Parnell College Concert Band and Big Band wowed audiences with outstanding performances that saw a silver and bronze placing, respectively. 

ACG Parnell Ensemble Director Josiah Carr says these outstanding results were the culmination of a year’s worth of preparation and planning.

“KBB is the biggest musical event in the school calendar, and for these ensembles, all resources and energy are focused towards this week,” says Josiah.

Due to Covid-19, last year’s festival was cancelled, making the 2021 KBB event particularly special.

Festival performances were at a very high level. It was an exceptional opportunity for students to hear other ensembles from Auckland perform and perform themselves in a world-class venue with a significant audience.

In addition to competing for awards and a place in the gala concerts, KBB aims to promote growth in instrumental music, expose students to different styles of music, and provide a platform from which aspiring musicians can share ideas and techniques. 

ACG Performing Arts Administrator Katrina McConnell believes the benefits are far-reaching.

“The experience of being part of an ensemble and competing in such a well-known event gives students confidence and encourages them to work hard, not only on their own musical talents but also as part of a group,” Katrina confirms.

For Jenna Parkin, ACG Parnell College Head Girl and principal trumpet player in both the concert band and big band, the 2021 KBB Music Festival has been the best one yet.

“This was my fourth KBB festival,” she says. “I was really disappointed when the 2020 festival was cancelled as we’d all put in so much work with zoom rehearsals and APO (Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra) mentors. So this KBB was extra special because not only were we finally able to perform, but it was the last festival for myself and all the other Year 13 students.”

Jenna enjoyed every aspect of the festival – from representing her school through to warming up in the green room, tuning and even the motivational speech from the conductor.

“Making our instructors proud and seeing that all our preparation was worth it was an amazing feeling. I was lucky enough to be chosen to represent the big band to collect our award during the gala night concert. Standing on stage with so many other talented musicians and receiving recognition for our hard work was an absolute highlight.”

Although the curtains will soon be falling on her time as an ACG musician, Jenna is sure the memories she has created will last a lifetime.

“The conductors and mentors are so knowledgeable, patient and encouraging and have helped me develop my musical and performance skills - and I’ve made so many friends! You get to spend so much time together, attending band camps and trips, coming in on weekends or getting to school while the sun’s coming up for rehearsals. I’ve loved performing for others and working towards a shared goal with my friends.”

Head Girl and principal trumpet player, Jenna Parkin (centre) with members of the ACG Parnell College Big Band