BRETT BAKER – BLACK DYKE'S TROMBONIST SUPREME.
For his third concert tour to New Zealand, Brett had stated a desire to reach out to some of the provincial bands combining his busy schedule with a little sight seeing and an opportunity to play with bands that he had been unable to visit in the past. As his driver/companion around the central districts area I can say that it was a pleasure to spend some quality time with Brett and to observe his totally professional attitude to each of his performances. He also conducted several workshops and seminars and his desire and willingness to share his experience and knowledge with musical students and bands people where ever he went was commendable.
Six days, 1450 kilometers, 4 concerts, 4 teaching sessions and 24 trombone solos later Brett has now left New Zealand for a week in Japan for more of the same and then back to the UK for a heavy workload of concerts and recitals prior to Christmas. I have never heard so many trombone solos in my life in such a short period of time but every one of them was a treat to listen to. Bret is a master of his instrument with a phenomenal range and technique and a sound that is magnificent at all weight levels. For this brief visit, our time table was along the following lines:-
Monday 14th November. Met Brett at the Wellington airport and drove straight to Wanganui. Rehearsal that night with Brass Wanganui.
Tuesday. Lessons with two players and a concert with the band that night.
Wednesday. On the road to New Plymouth for an afternoon seminar with music students, a 6pm rehearsal with the New Plymouth Band and a 7.30pm concert.
Thursday. An early start for the long drive to Hastings via Taupo and Napier. Rehearsal in the evening with the Bay Cities Symphonic Band.
Friday. Workshop/Seminar at Lindisfarne College and an evening concert.
Saturday. On the road again to Wellington for a 4.30 rehearsal with Trust Porirua City Brass and an evening concert at the Salvation Army Citadel.
Sunday. Morning flight to Auckland en route to Japan and the UK.
For me this was first and foremost an opportunity for more people to hear a great player but it was also an enjoyable experience I am sure for all the bands people involved who shared the stage with such a talented player. I pay a special tribute also to the various musical directors; Bruce Jellyman Wanganui, Leigh Martin New Plymouth, John Snowling Hastings and Kerry Garrett Wellington. In every instance they had barely one hour to rehearse with Brett and the fact that each concert was delivered safely and professionally speaks volumes for the preparatory work done by the various musical directors and their players.
There was also some very fine playing by individuals in all the bands which is to be applauded and also very evident was the fact that all of these bands are doing a lot of work in training your people many of whom took part in the various concerts. It would be fair to say that there is a lot of good teaching effort taking place in the Central Districts and Wellington areas with some of our member bands. Public
support for the concerts was good in the provincial centers but a little disappointing in Wellington. I would have thought that Brett's reputation alone would have resulted in a few more bands people in the audience?
Finally, on behalf of Brett and myself I would like to thank the various bands for their friendship and hospitality. Where ever we visited we were extremely well looked after and this was appreciated. In fact I even got to play with the Bay Cities Symphonic Band myself at their concert which was a first time experience for me in a symphonic band; an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you John!
Good luck Brett and we look forward to hosting you again in the future some time.