2020 President’s Report


Welcome to the 97th Annual General Meeting of North Shore Brass Inc, and a special welcome today to our Patrons, Vice Patrons, Life members and other guests in attendance. I am very proud to again report on the activities and achievements of the North Shore Brass family over the year.

We cannot ignore the effect of Covid-19 on New Zealand and our organisation, but I think we have fared well. We were one of the first brass bands to get back to full rehearsals in the world.


With the Auckland Council undertaking many reviews their emergency budget meant that all Arts Partners were paid at a ¼ of their annual contract grant, with the balance expected before the end of the year.

We have also re-signed our land lease with Auckland Council for another 10 years with final expiry 31/03/2040.


The Auckland Bands Association band contest in September saw four bands enter and many trophies won. North Shore Brass remains the champion band of Auckland for which we are very proud of. The Academy Band was a close second to C grade band Howick Brass with Takapuna Youth Brass and our Understudies Band battling it out in the youth section.

With no NZ Nationals this year the ABA solos and band contests became a focus over the winter months as concerts were not viable.

At the ABA solos recently, there were many entries from our Academy Band as well as some senior band people competing.

Congratulations to all the winners – particularly Andrew Leech for the Slow Melody Championship and Liam Wright for the Under 19 Not Slow and Slow Melody event. Meanwhile in the under 16 events the Academy Band dominated with Harry Parker winning the Not Slow Melody and Makaleta Tuipulotu winning the Slow Melody.

An impressive day saw the Academy Band win a total of five trophies and from all results over the day are the winners of the Auckland Bands Association Conductors Cup for the Auckland band with the highest aggregate winners scores over the day. Another first for our Academy Band. Special thanks to Mark Close for pushing our students to new levels.


With the assistance of Rachel Sullivan, we had some success with grant applications during the year:

Auckland Council/Devonport Takapuna Local Board
contract grant $17,000
Blue Sky Community Trust $ 5,000

Our balance sheet is now stronger thanks to some careful management of expenditure, and not attending the National contest in Christchurch as it was cancelled.

We were declined funding for a large grant for band room maintenance by Foundation North, and also a grant for a premier solo contest from Creative NZ was declined.


With seven members chosen for the 2020/21 National Band of New Zealand – North Shore Brass has the equal highest representation of any band in New Zealand and our best year ever. Congratulations to:

Andrew Leech
Fraser Bremner
Alex King
David Paligora
John Sullivan
Harmen Vanhoorne
Rhys McDonnell

We also had four members chosen for the National Secondary Schools Brass Band

Emmy Pullen
Stirling Bennett
Liam Wright
Emily Sullivan

We also congratulate David Paligora and Alex King for leaderships roles in the 20201 National Youth Bras Band of New Zealand.

Tonight’s Winter Quiz will be raising funds for all representative bands people.


Colin Clark has stepped down from his role as Musical Director after ten years of leading our senior band in what was a renaissance period with some great early contest results in Australia and New Zealand, a wonderful concert series and many other highlights. We recently hosted a thank you dinner for Colin as he remains a part of our wider family with his wife Bridget playing in the band.
With the arrival of good friend Harmen Vanhoorne in January, his intended role as principal cornet was changed to the Director of Music for North Shore Brass to replace Colin. Harmen has multiple qualification in performance and conducting and is very well qualified to continue our journey as a top-class music organisation.
For the first time in our history we have also recently signed a contract with Harmen as a part time contracted musician with the band.


Our Academy is now seven years old. In the year we have grown and consolidated.
The Academy Band did two marching gigs. The Mairangi Bay Christmas parade and the Murrays Bay Wharf Birdman parade.
Mark Close continues to take the Understudies and Takapuna Youth Brass and we are thankful for his links to local schools where he teaches, ensuring a continuous flow of students.
Andrew Leech took over as conductor of the Academy Band recently from Steve Foster who has stood down but remains a vital player in the senior band.
Thank you, Steve, for a fun three years of music making.


Tonight’s Quiz night is an opportunity to add to this fund and from there we will allocate funds to all members chosen for the National Band of New Zealand, NYBB and NSSBB.


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
Last year I said “We have laid the foundations over the past few years to really take a NZ championship title and I feel we are on the cusp of being crowned the champion band of New Zealand “ this remains true but moved forward as the NZ brass band championship are now a year later but still to be held in Christchurch in 2021.
Improving our profile with the North Shore business community
Our Christmas Cabaret concert included four tables sponsored by local legal firms that invited residents from local retirement villages. Hopefully we can build on this type of sponsorship for future success as we got great feedback.
We also have more of a profile when it comes to getting prize and raffle donations.
Build on our strengths and our Dromgoole Scholarship fund
The Dromgoole Scholarship fund continues to provide assistance to our members personally – especially those chosen to represent New Zealand.
Strengthen Our Balance Sheet
This has really come into its’ own as we were able to survive a loss in concert revenue, fundraising, grants and rental income only thanks to a strong balance sheet. That one off event actually happened in 2020.

Band room repairs
We continue to struggle to gain any funding for these vital repairs and renovations that are becoming more crucial now.


A huge thanks to our hard working team that keeps your band running – band manager and life member John Sullivan, our secretary Kate Baird for the past two years who steps down today, our treasurer, and life member Rachel Sullivan, Academy Manager Dave Bennett, committee members, conductors, band members, supporters and sponsors, I thank you for your work, loyalty and effort for the North Shore Brass family in the past year.

Brass banding is a unique hobby in that you have band members mix across several generations and I often quote our demographic as eight to eighty. That is something we should cherish as our young people get to mix with people who are not their related family but are their band family, and older people get to mix with the younger age bracket.

Many of us older age group have had our lives enriched by growing up in an amateur music organisation and North Shore Brass is a great example of this, both now and in the future.

Thank you.

Owen Melhuish
August 2020