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RNZAF Band set to take flight in annual Wellington concert

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Band’s annual Wellington concert will be a celebration of local talent playing big band hits against the backdrop of Armistice Day.

31 October, 2023

The 65-strong band’s ‘Air Force in Concert’ will be held at the Michael Fowler Centre on 12 November. It is the band’s biggest event of the year and is always a musical delight.

Audiences will be treated to a variety of musical styles, with the RNZAF Band presenting music from film and theatre in addition to jazz standards and masterpieces from the classical repertoire, said RNZAF director of music Squadron Leader David Gallaher, who is anticipating a sterling performance from the band.

“We’re really looking forward to performing for our home crowd. The band is sounding excellent, and we can’t wait to share what a symphonic band is capable of with our audience,” he said.

“Bernstein to Fleetwood Mac and everything in between.”

This year’s show will highlight local talent, including vocalists Leading Aircraftman Barbara Graham and Leading Aircraftman Stephanie Paris, resident bagpiper Sergeant Murray Mansfield, the RNZAF Drumline and the acclaimed RNZAF Jazz Orchestra will make an appearance as well.

The programme also includes a poignant moment to reflect on the Armistice with the performance of ‘Sunset’ and the ‘Lament’.

“With the concert being so close to Armistice Day we felt it was appropriate to share a moment with our audience and also a sample of what the band’s principal duty is for the New Zealand Defence Force” Squadron Leader Gallaher said.

The full-sized, 65-strong symphonic band tours to regions around New Zealand every year, as well as giving public concerts, performances in schools, coaching to local music students, and performing at charity events.

The band also maintains a busy schedule of ceremonial duties, including parades to mark the arrival of international dignitaries and Anzac Day services. Members of the band also provided music at significant commemorations around the world, with past occasions including Turkey, Greece, France and Belgium.

It also divides into a range of smaller ensembles, such as the Jazz Orchestra, a woodwind trio, a covers band, a wind quintet, and a range of brass ensembles.

Concert details

What: The Air Force in Concert
When: 12 November 2023, 2.30pm
Where: Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington
Tickets are available from Ticketmaster