Nelson's international brass band stars, from left, John McGough, Nigel Weeks, Alice Rudhall, Steve Rudhall and Mike Ford at the world championships in the Netherlands. Kay MacKenzie is absent.

Nelson City Brass Band stars shine at worlds

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The Nelson City Brass Band’s stellar year continued when six of its members helped the National Band of New Zealand finish second at the World Music Contest in the Netherlands.

The Nelson band made a winning start to the year defending its C Grade title at the New Zealand Brass Band Championships in Wellington in May.

Late last month, six of the band’s members enjoyed success on the international stage as part of the national band which finished second in the Championship Grade at the world champs in Kerkrade.

Nelson City Brass band secretary Wayne Jennens says it’s a “fantastic” achievement to have six Nelson musicians in the 37-member national band.

“The band is made up of the very best players in the country – they are the All Blacks of the brass band movement in New Zealand,” Wayne says.

The Nelson contingent included musical director Nigel Weeks, soprano cornet Kay MacKenzie, principal horn Mike Ford and cornet players Steve and Alice Rudhall and John McGough. The Rudhalls have just moved to Wellington while John McGough is based in Auckland.

Wayne says the Nelson band is “immensely proud of them all” and “exceptionally proud” of the achievements of their musical director.

“Nigel is the one responsible for making the band play and sound as good as it did, and it showed he is the equal of some of the top musical directors in the world,” Wayne says.

Mike also paid tribute to Nigel, saying they only had a limited time to prepare for the worlds and Nigel did “a fantastic job” bringing them together.

The band performed four concerts while rehearsing in New Zealand before performing one in Hong Kong on the way to the Netherlands and three in the Netherlands leading up to the worlds.

Mike says they had to play a test piece, Tracing Time, and a concert programme over two days of competition.