Music takes Annabelle to the top

Annabelle Stewart warms up ahead of a tour with the National Youth Brass Band.

Solo cornet player Annabelle Stewart has won a place in the National Youth Brass Band of New Zealand which will be touring the country in late January 2021.

“I am really looking forward to playing with a high calibre of young talented brass and percussion musicians.

“It’s been a few years since I have played at a National level so I feel very lucky to [have] been given this opportunity,” Annabelle says.

The 20-year-old is one of the younger members of the Tauranga City Brass Band. She’s been playing instruments since learning the recorder at school when she was seven.

She took up playing the cornet and trumpet in her teens.

Annabelle says while the instruments are similar they’re distinct in that a trumpet is customarily played in an orchestra and a cornet in a brass band.

Her recent selection to the National Youth Brass Band isn’t the first time the talented musician has represented her Tauranga band at such a high level.

In 2016 and 2017 she was selected for the National Secondary Schools Brass Band and she made the New Zealand Youth Symphonic Winds Band in 2017 and 2018. 

Grateful for the support from her fellow Tauranga bandmates, Annabelle also appreciated the support of the Lions club a few years ago which allowed her to buy a new instrument.

As for the music itself, her favourite piece is the Haydn Trumpet Concerto.

“It’s a concerto so I’ve got three movements and all the movements are quite contrasting. I really enjoy the variety that it has when you play it. You’ve got the slow and the fast… it allows you to really feel the full variety of playing you can do.”

Besides playing in the Tauranga Brass Band, Annabelle is also its funding coordinator.

Recently she’s been busy applying for grants that are needed to cover upcoming band room maintenance and running costs.

Music-lovers will be able to see the band in a few weeks’ time when it performs ‘A Night at the Proms’ on November 14 at the Tauranga Boys College auditorium, starting at 4pm.

Tickets will be available at the door.

“Come along and support New Zealand’s current C Grade champion band and enjoy an afternoon of entertainment,” conductor Steve Thompson says.

Tauranga City Brass Band is a community organisation and is always on the look-out for new musicians.

“The band practices on Monday evenings at its hall in Yatton Street, Greerton. If you are interested in contributing your own musical talents to a successful band please come along and check it out,” Steve says.

Information and contact details can be found on the band’s Facebook page.

Annabelle will need to find $400 to cover costs towards her week-long tour next year. If anyone would like to assist with sponsorship they can email her at: 

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