Sat, Aug 5, 2023 7:00 AM

Jamming for jazz


Tessa Jaine

The Marlborough air will soon be filled with the sound of jazz as over two hundred teenage musicians arrive from around the South Island for a week of performances and tuition from leading musicians in the much-anticipated Southern Jam Youth Jazz Festival.

Pure Events Marlborough are excited to bring back this fantastic festival to the region once again. Instigated by then head of music at Marlborough Girls College, Robin Randall and Christine Brown in 2001, Katrina Lange came on board in 2003 and the festival has now grown into a major event for the region.

Now director of musical performance at Marlborough Boys College, Robin is revelling in the opportunity to continue to inspire young musicians to develop their musical skills.

“In the week prior to the final gala performance at which awards are made, the twenty-one bands that come from thirteen South Island schools perform at venues all around the district and also visit primary schools,” explains Robin. “It is a fantastic way of getting music from these talented young people out into the community and really livens Marlborough up at this time of the year.”

Venues the bands will be performing at include The Vines Village, Oxley's Bar & Kitchen, Le Cafe Picton, Marlborough Public House, 5Tapped Limited, The Good Home Marlborough, Woodbourne Tavern & Motels, The Speight's Ale House, Biddy Kate’s Irish Bar and Fairweathers.

Two of Marlborough Boy’s College bands will be performing in this year’s festival. ‘Funkasaurus Rex’ is a ten-piece group with a full rhythm section that includes Finn Brown on bass guitar, Louis Girling on guitar, Riley Price on drums, Matthew Hall on keyboard, Logan Ready on trombone, Ariel Rofe and Charles Youngman on trumpet, Niko Russell on tenor saxophone, Ben Kenny on vocals and Marlborough College Girls student Leni Manson on alto sax.

“The music, ‘Funkasaurus Rex’, that will be playing is more of a funky rock style than traditional jazz, but classed as jazz because of the improvised solos,”
explains Robin.

Matthew Hall on piano and Logan Ready on trombone and bass guitar, make up the other local entry as ‘Retrospective’, playing a more traditional American style of jazz.

“The students are all buzzing with excitement,” says Robin. “This is such a great springboard for young musicians and some will go on to have musical careers after having been so inspired by their involvement in musical performance during their school years. It is a real joy to be able to pass on my knowledge and enthusiasm to young people who constantly inspire me with their talent and determination.”

You may be in luck to get the last remaining tickets, if you haven’t secured your Finale Gala Concert tickets already, visit For more details on this wonderful event see Pure Events Marlborough or Southern Jam Youth Jazz Festival’s social media pages.

Southern Jam Youth Jazz Festival | 12th August 2023

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