2018 President’s Report


Welcome to the 95th 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 what has been a busy year.

Our highlights this year have been the Christmas Cabaret and Mother’s Day concerts at the Spencer on Byron Hotel ball room – these now are a firm part of our schedule and we now sell out the tables in advance with little promotion required. After a year off the senior band attended the NZ Brass Band Championships in Blenheim with some success and we formed a new band – Takapuna Youth Brass.

We continue to have a good relationship with the Devonport – Takapuna Local Board for our contract grant that is vital to our operation. We have just been advised we again will receive funding this year from the Board, some of whom have personally supported our events this past year.

Here is a list of public/free engagements undertaken as part of our contract grant with the Local Board include:

July End of term concert for all bands

September Browns Bay Plaza Concert (Academy Band)
End of term concert for all bands

December Devonport Christmas Parade
Devonport Library Christmas Concert (Academy Band)
Takapuna Christmas Carnival (Academy Band)
Christmas Carolling Takapuna and Devonport (Academy Band)
Carols on the Canal Gulf Harbour (Academy Band)
End of year concert for all bands

March Castor Bay Picnic Concert

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

We have realised in the year that our funding was under review so are thankful of continued support. We have also highlighted to the Local Board that our facility is used by over 10 local community groups seven days a week. This has been a catalyst to re-name our band rooms as the Taharoto Community Facility recognising that it is used by more than our band and provides vital space for many groups, most of whom are non-profit.

Congratulations to all competitors in the solo and ensemble events at the Nationals in Blenheim last month with some outstanding playing from our members.

Liam Wright was placed first in the under 15 year section. This young man has just been appointed as principal cornet of the North Shore Brass Academy Band as well as playing in the senior band.

Murray Borthwick had a great contest with a win in the Open Tenor Horn, second in the Masters, third in the Invitation Slow Melody and an outstanding second in the Champion of Champions.

The band events had the band placed 5th overall with a 4th in the sacred item and 4th in the street march event. Well done Colin Clark for leading a committed and happy band at contest and to Craig Rhodes our drum major who keeps on smiling.

The ABA solos also saw our bands well represented in numbers and results.
Harry Parker started the day with a win in two events – Under 13 Slow Melody and Not Slow Melody. Chris Rowe also took the same events in the under 16 catergory with Michaela Keer-Keer third. Murray Borthwick took the veterans event Andrew Leech took third in the Slow Melody Any Age.

The band is again the Champion Band of Auckland with a clean sweep of all events including John Sullivan winning the Greg Moverley Memorial trophy as best soloist.

We also for the first time in our history and also in the Auckland Bands Association history had three bands enter the contest with Arthur Close gaining a second in the youth section with the Understudies Band and Steve Foster leading the Academy Band in his first contest.


With the assistance of committee member Rachel Blunt we had good success with grant applications for various projects during the year:
Auckland Council/Devonport Takapuna Local Board
Contract grant $17,000
Devonport Local Board one off grant for Champion Brass $ 1,000
Pub Charity – Christmas Cabaret Concert $ 3178
Infinity Foundation – signage $ 702
The Southern Trust – uniforms $ 1,100
Four Winds Foundation Contest flights $ 5,000
NZ Community Trust – Contest accommodation $ 5,000
TOTAL $32,890

Thanks to the support of these bodies we were able to keep contest cost lower for members, ensure our events made surpluses and as an example we now have fresh signage on the outside of our band room and street signs for our outdoor concerts.

Our balance sheet is not where I wish to see it. Like many bands we clear out our bank account at national contest time and so this is a commitment that I would like the incoming committee to work towards – strengthen our balance sheet.

Going forward we will need some funding to undertake some work on the outside of our band rooms which needs new guttering, painting and general repairs.

We had a recent record with five members chosen for the National Youth Brass Band of New Zealand that toured in January. In early 2019 the National Youth Brass Band tours to Australia and includes Mollie and Dominic Cornfield, Alex King and David Paligora. Hopefully we can assist these young people with the significant costs involved and I will be asking the committee for ways that we can assist.

Liam Wright and Mollie Cornfield will also proudly represent the Band in the National Secondary Schools Brass Band in October as they perform in Christchurch and Timaru.

Congratulations to all players on your efforts in audition and all the best in your future performances.


I am always amazed at the enthusiasm of all those involved in the Academy. Steve Foster has a report later but I would like to thank him for driving the Academy Band which now has solid core membership of 30 players.

As Colin mentions in his report we have formed the Takapuna Youth Brass under Mark Close and they will compete in the ABA Contest next month. At the same time we formed a small percussion group under experienced tutor Jenny Raven that over time will provide quality percussionists for our bands – one of our weaknesses.

A highlight for the Academy Band was an invitation to perform at the book launch of Goodbye Maoriland, this was a collaboration with the Michael King Writers Centre. The band performed several World War One period items in the historical Vic Theatre in Devonport.

Another highlight was the Brass In Class workshop that was run by Harmen Vanhoorne and Dr Nigel Clarke over the July holidays. We were so fortunate to be able to offer world class musicians for our students to learn from. We even had a marching session that Mark Close arranged.
Champion Brass was a weekend of workshops and a concert by the senior band at Birkenhead College with guest clinicians Buzz Newton and David Chaulk.

This fund began as a bequest from the Dromgoole family that has remained dormant until 2016. Leo Dromgoole was a North Shore identity having started the North Shore Ferry services the forerunner to Fullers Ferries.

This past year the fund has subsidised the Brass In Class workshop.


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

Maintain our community band family while also stretching our musical standards
Having three bands enter the ABA contest was a real thrill and we are planning for four bands this year. Plans are also underway to enter more than just the senior band at nationals in Hamilton in 2019. The Brass In Class workshop day was a real success, was well supported with the help of the many tutors. Percussion classes are now each Wednesday and our regular end of term concerts are a great way for all bands to share their music and food.

Improving our profile with the North Shore business community
Songs For Your Mother Mothers’ Day concert certainly raised our profile in the community with a large collage or photos featured in the social pages of Channel magazine.

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. Not a big year in this space – looking to build an attracting new youth players to our senior band with possible university scholarships again

Some New objectives:

Strengthen Our Balance Sheet – something for our committee to work towards as our organisation has grown and we require more of a financial buffer at contest time

Band room repairs – some urgent attention is required to the outside of our band room


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 operates 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.

A big thank you to Kathy McDonald who retires today as our loyal secretary. Kathy thank you for your long service, your enthusiasm to undertake more work than is normally required of a secretary. We appreciate your enthusiasm so thank you from us all.

Tonight please pat yourselves on the back in celebration of our successes and accomplishments over the past 12 months.
Owen Melhuish
August 2018