2017 President’s Report


Welcome to the 94th Annual General Meeting of North Shore Brass Inc, and a special welcome to our Patrons, Vice Patrons, Life members and other guests.

I am proud to again report on the activities and achievements of the North Shore Brass family over the past year.

Our highlights this year have been the Songs for Your Mother concert and also the Dromgoole Scholarship Garden Party fundraiser. Both involved the Academy Band and this group has matured to be a vital cog in our organisation with solid membership and support.


We continue to have a good relationship with the Devonport – Takapuna Local Board for our contract grant that is vital to our operation. We sign a contract to provide free concerts, collaborations with other community groups and sectors that ensures we add some musical enjoyment to the public. We continue to receive positive feedback from local board members about the activities of our band.

Full list of engagements undertaken for the Council include:

July End of term concert for all bands

September End of term concert for all bands

December Devonport Christmas Parade
Christmas Carnival Takapuna (Academy Band)
Christmas Carolling Takapuna and Devonport (Academy Band)
End of year concert for all bands

March Castor Bay Picnic Concert

April Browns Bay Plaza Concert (Academy Band)
Murrays Bay Wharf Birdman (Academy Band)
Takapuna Civic Parade for ANZAC Day
Glenfield RSA Service (Academy Band)
End of terms concert for all bands


The band chose not to enter the ABA band contest last September for various reasons. However many of our members assisted other bands at the event.

Congratulations to all competitors in the solo and ensemble events at the Nationals in Wellington during April with some outstanding playing from our members.

It was pleasing to see our younger members compete in numbers and also enjoy success with Isabella Thomas winning the Flugelhorn title, Alex King third in Junior Bass, and our junior ensemble were awarded second place in a tough field. Our seniors also performed in the ensemble competition with a third in the 3-5 players section and first in the 6 -12 player section. John Sullivan claimed a second placing in the Amateur Cornet while Murray Borthwick had a great contest with second in the Open Tenor Horn, first in the Masters and an outstanding second in the Champion of Champions – the highest placed brass player.

The ABA solos also saw our band well represented with Liam Wright claiming the Under 16 Slow Melody event while Isabella Thomas and David Paligora were first and second respectively in the Under 19 Slow Melody. Emily and April Sullivan went home with the Under 16 Duet trophy while Mum Rachel did well in the Open Not Slow gaining a third, while Phil Spriggs won this event.
Andrew Leech played on his plastic Euphonium and took third in the Open Slow Melody while John Sullivan had a creditable second in the Championship Not Slow event and he joined Colin Clark to win the Over 19 Duets.

While we did not compete as a band we were well represented in volunteer roles as well as performers, and for a band that has not competed at a contest for over a year we are in good shape, thanks to the hard work of everyone.


The laying of carpet tiles in the hire side and reception area has completed our renovation plans for now, thanks to assistance from several grant bodies and also using some of our maintenance fund.

With the assistance of committee member Rachel Blunt we had good success with grant applications for various projects during the year:

Auckland Council/Local Board $17000 Contract grant
Auckland Council /Local Board $1000 Contest Prelude Concert
Infinity Foundation $600 Christmas Proms Concert $4089 Songs for Your Mother Concert
Lion Foundation $7000 Carpet replacement


We had three members tour with the National Youth Brass Band in January with Isabella Thomas, Mollie and Dominic Cornfield proudly representing our band. Isabella and Mollie were also in the 2016 NSSBB for the September course and tour and this year they are joined by Liam Wright for their course in Napier.

The National Band of NZ has just returned from a successful tour to Europe and were crowned second at the World Music Contest in Kerkrade Holland. We were proud that three members represented North Shore Brass in Murray Borthwick, Murray Hickman and John Sullivan


The Academy is our real success story over the past four years since its formation.
Wednesday evenings are a hive of activity as individual lessons, groups and bands rehearse around our band rooms.

The Academy Band performed to the largest audience in it’s history at the Murrays Bay Wharf Birdman competition on the 1st April with a crowd of over 8000 attending. The band opened the highly successful Mother Day concert in May and received many plaudits from the large audience. It also performed admirably at the Matamata Brass Festival in June with a silver award and came home with a trophy having been judged the most entertaining band.

During the year we sadly farewelled Kathy and Trevor Clark who have moved to Taihape. They both gave valuable service to North Shore Brass and the Academy and will be missed. We wish them well on their new adventures.

We welcomed Arthur Close to the Understudies and Steve Foster to conduct the Academy Band. In addition they are assisted by others who provide group and individual lessons including Mark Close, John Sullivan, Kristen Guenther, Colin Clark, Peter O’Shaunessy and Kate Wright. The Academy Manager is Dave Bennett who helps co-ordinate the many facets as well as serving on our committee.


This fund began as a bequest from the Dromgoole family that has remained dormant until recently. Leo Dromgoole was a North Shore identity having started the North Shore Ferry services the forerunner to Fullers Ferries.

A highly enjoyable Christmas Garden Party was organised for early December at the beautiful Auckland home of our Vice Patron Dame Adrienne Stewart. Local business people, friends of Dame Adrienne plus many of our supporters enjoyed entertainment, food and refreshments and over $7000 was raised during the afternoon in perfect weather.


I set some objectives five years ago and here is the progress on some of them.

Work towards becoming a Centre of Excellence – we have had a seminar this year as well as guest players providing bonuses to our performances. Our Academy also has set a bench mark that is the envy of other local bands and organisations. One guest to our band room described us as “the best community band in NZ”. We are no longer “working towards” this objective – we are there!

Maintain our community band family while also stretching our musical standards
Again our Academy is the catalyst and we are now at capacity with the teaching at our band room. It is heartening to see that many students are also seeking grade exams and we can provide that guidance. The year was difficult for our senior band but we have maintained standards with great feedback from our most recent concert Champion Brass.

Improving our profile with the North Shore business community with some fundraising events at our band room – The Christmas Garden Party and the highly successful Songs For Your Mother Mothers’ Day concert certainly raised our profile in the community.

A new one for 2017:

Build on our strengths and our Dromgoole scholarship fund
Leverage these to build sound teaching practices in our Academy and sustain and build membership in our senior band.


Thank you to all the volunteers, parents, helpers and family members that assist in large and small ways in the running and on-going operation of our organisation. We are now a larger organisation that seems to operate well with sound governance.

A warm thanks to our hard working band manager John Sullivan, our secretary Kathy McDonald, treasurer Rachel Sullivan, Academy Manager Dave Bennett, other committee members, band members, supporters and sponsors for their work, loyalty and effort for the North Shore Brass family in the past year.
Owen Melhuish
August 2017