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Eastern Stars Concert Band N.Z. (Eastern Stars Band Inc) welcomes
beginners to advanced.  Young and old.  
 Auckland New Zealand
     
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Special Guests / Band Workshops. 
 
From time to time, Eastern Stars has an opportunity to invite guests to conduct one or more reheasals, run a workshop, and inspire the players with their own unique style of teaching and leading.  Many guests have international experience or have experience teaching music in New Zealand schools and are often very accomplished musicians themselves.
 
 
Visit by Yvette Audain (April, 2014)
A Review by David Burgess 
On Wednesday 9th April, the 'Eastern Stars Youth Band' had a special visit from Yvette Audain, a well known New Zealand instrumentalist and composer. She conducted and gave some tips to the young players at our rehearsal in Pakuranga. Band members were rehearsing for the ANZAC concert. She brought her clarinet and played a beautiful solo for us.  It was a very educational and enjoyable evening.
Visit by Dr Robert Taylor (November, 2014); 
A Review by David Burgess 
 
Dr. Robert Taylor (Director of Bands from the University of Vancouver) visited our band at Pakuranga Intermediate School hall on Sunday afternoon 9/11/2014, and we all learnt a lot! It was a very enjoyable and informative event for all concerned.
 
He talked about the shape of the music using variations in volume in a musical phrase (we made it rise to the top of a hill, climb a hill and go down again etc.). We got to invent our own shapes. He demonstrated (humorously) how two people could have a conversation (pausing at inappropriate times), and how it should flow naturally (comparing music with conversations). He taught us how to breath together and play together (start together and keep time together). We had to commence a piece of music with our eyes shut (using breath as the signal to start). We had to clap the rhythm of our individual parts and another time blow into our hands as though we were blowing into our instruments - and play the whole piece showing the dynamics. We learnt the four steps of breathing - feet flat, bottom half on and half off, tall as we can, bring the instrument to us. We practised how to listen to the instruments around us and play so the sound of what we produced from our own instrument balanced (in our own ear) with the sound we heard from all the other instruments - (MF), then make our own 10% - 20% louder (F or FF) or 10% - 20% softer (P or PP). He explained that we mustn't get in front of the conductor (tempo). He demonstrated, the conductor can influence the sound with his eyes (big eyes for loud, sleepy eyes for quiet), and gestures (large or small). He told us about Superman (changing from nerdy Clarke Kent to a bold Superman in a phone box) as a total dramatic and sudden change - we need to move from quiet to loud without leaving the glasses on or the cape half on - and make dramatic contrasts.
 
We practised being in and out of tune with a drone note and listening to the rapid pulsing effect when out of tune. He got the children to answer questions about what we can do to make a note sharper or flatter (old reed is flat, play louder is sharper or flatter depending on the instrument). He hummed short tunes that we had to memorise for a few seconds and play back to him (to teach us to listen to tone and rhythms). He said tunes were usually either songs (flowing and smooth like a human voice) or dances (less smooth). He got us to feel the music. Overall he was fun and had the young musicians spell bound by his humour and informative teaching style. He had a lot of encouraging words for the children, gave a high five to the percussionists who did a fine job, and generally smiled a lot (except when we did not breath and play together, which would cause him to look quite serious and stop the band).
 
Robert got several rounds of applause from the musicians and a thank you card from the band committee. He invited the young musicians to chat with him after the rehearsal and overall was very friendly and helpful to all. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.
Nanae Saga guest conductor (April, 2015)
Wednesday evening rehearsals 
Review by David Burgess
 
A bit of background: Nanae Saga studied Musical Education in the Conservatory of Robert-Schumann Hochschule in Germany. Born 1990 and Japanese but moved to Germany at a young age. Plays piano, violin, trumpet, flute, recorder and probably a few more instruments.
The Cadet Band sounded confident, in time and as though they were really enjoying the music as Nanae conducted. Sam (conductor) said he learnt a lot from watching Nanae.
 
The Youth band enjoyed her violin solo (Andante by Bach) which had a beautiful quality where by she skillfully played two strings simultaneously producing two melodies that harmonized. If I had not seen her play it with my own eyes I would have said there were two violins playing side by side. She also joined in with the band on flute while Barrie conducted, and seemed to enjoy the whole experience of our Youth Band.
 
Barrie and Nanae work well together as a team. It was great to have her along and we all enjoyed having her very much. A young and fresh approach to the music.
Visit by Loata Mahe (June, 2015)
Review by David Burgess 
On Wednesday 10th June, the 'Eastern Stars Youth Band' had a special visit from Loata Mahe.  The band enjoyed her visit and learnt a lot. 
 
Some background: Loata is the string orchestra conductor and violin tutor for the Tironui programme. She completed a Masters degree in Performance Violin and is currently playing first violin and sometimes leads Manukau Symphony Orchestra of which she is a founding member. She has had over 20 years' experience with various ensembles and orchestras, as well as taking part in Tongan and Pacifika events. Recent highlights include playing for King George Tupou V’s coronation, and solo engagements with Manukau Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia. Loata also tutors violin at several schools and is a senior tutor at Sistema Aotearoa. 
 
Loata took the 'bull by the horns' tonight and got the Youth Band to play one of their most difficult and challenging pieces 'Concerto d'Amore' (Jacob de Haan), from start to finish. She wanted to hear what parts needed work. After identifying the parts she took each band section back over those parts. "Cutting it up into shreds" as she said, by playing the parts slowly then building the speed, then playing several bars before hand so as to run into it, Loata picked out parts where the notes were 'smudged together' and used her violin to describe exactly how she wanted the notes played smoothly (tied) but also clearly defined, then she worked with the band rebuilding the entire piece. Finally, the band played it through, significantly better than the first time they played it. She said she could clearly hear an improvement [after over an hour of hard work]!

Loata emphasized how 'all musicians' need to breath on the beat just before the music begins including string players but especially wind instrument players. "I want everyone to breathe" she said repeatedly, until she was satisfied that the band were all starting together on time.
While explaining how she wanted the phrases to have shape , she said, "I want it to be like a rainbow" and again she used her violin to play the melody demonstrating what she wanted to hear from the band.

She said she was impressed with the level of difficulty [of the music] that the band was able to play considering the young ages of many in the band. She said she enjoyed the evening and it made a change for her to conduct a wind band as opposed to a string orchestra. She appeared to adapt extremely quickly.

Everyone enjoyed her musical skill, bright personality, enthusiasm and ability to teach both children and adults. We would be very happy to have her back again.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Visit by Mary Lin & Anton (December, 2015)
Mary is Head of Music at Baradene College, Remuera. She is a graduate from the Music Department at the University of Auckland and has been conducting concert bands for three years.  The band really enjoyed having Mary conduct. She brought two pieces of music with her including the lively YMCA piece with the band was quick learn.  She was well liked by the band members with whom she shared her passion for music.  
 
Anton happened to come along with Mary on the same night. We were very lucky to have him share  some tips with the band from his vast conducting experience. He was very helpful particularly at getting the band to sit with the best posture to enable breathing.  
Eastern Stars Concert Band Conductor 2017 
Michelangelo ('Mikee') Bisquerra – was our Youth Band Conductor for the first part of 2017 (note that the Youth Band later became known as the 'Concert Band' in 2018).  Mikee was at the time studying a BA/BMus in flute at Auckland University. He has conducted the Torbay Community Theatre’s production of “The Mikado’ and Auckland University’s Medical school orchestra. He is well liked by band members and he looks forward to taking the Eastern Stars Concert Band to the National Festival in August 2017. The band is currently (2017) playing grade 4 music which is the most difficult level the band has attemnpted in many years. Mikee is helping the band reach the highest possible levels. 
Eastern Stars Concert Band Conductor 2017 
Joshua Kirk (Josh) has been conducting the Senior Concert Band during the final term of 2017. He is returning for 2018. He has completed his second year of a music degree at Auckland university. The Band really enjoy learning from him.   


Eastern Stars Concert Band (Cadets/Youth) rehearse on Tuesday evenings. Eastern Stars Concert Band rehearse on Wednesday evenings (7.00 pm) at Pakuranga Intermediate hall during term time.  We perform at least four concerts per year, including Anzac /Autumn, Winter, Spring & Christmas. We also play various Christmas parades (Papatoetoe, Ellerslie, Panmure, Howick Midnight Madness), as well as attending music festivals/competitions (Matamata and/or Nationals). We play at various school galas (Wakaaranga, Elm Park) etc.  We frequently fundraise for disaster victims and involve the community as much as possible by doing playouts at local resthomes. We are based in Pakuranga, Auckland, N. Z. 
   Eastern Stars Concert Band is a family friendly band. We welcome visitors to our rehearsals.