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Kenjia plays well with Big Band

The C3 meeting room in Coghill Street, Whitianga absolutely rocked with brass, piano, saxophone, clarinet, and rhythm at the Wednesday night rehearsal of Mercury Bay Big Band. Kenjia Campbell is a student at MBAS and also a student of Paul Lee, local saxophone teacher and she was there with her sax helping make the music to ‘In The Mood’ by Glenn Miller.

At the beginning of this year, Kenjia was the first recipient of a scholarship awarded by Mercury Bay Big Band(MBBB) to come into membership of the band to rehearse and play with them and therefore gain experience being part of a mature band playing at public events and celebrations. Kenjia was already quite proficient in playing the saxophone and the clarinet and was pleased to take up this opportunity given to her by Mercury Bay Big Band. It helped that her teacher, Paul Lee, was a member of the band. Kenjai has found herself among friends, be they older, and her playing and ability to read music, play arrangements for different instruments, and work with other instrumentalists, has advanced considerably. That night she was presented with a certificate of achievement.

The Mercury Bay Big Band would like to offer this same opportunity to two more students in 2023.

The student needs to be able to read music and be committed to becoming proficient in their instrument, rehearsing weekly with the band. The band members are very helpful, skilled and knowledgeable. Actually, it is a very welcoming, positive and stimulating environment.

Kevin Robinson says,” We know the young people will probably leave eventually for further education, or work beyond the Coromandel, but for one or two years, we can offer them a great experience of music with our Band. We want to encourage young people to keep on with their music and all of us in the Mercury Bay Big Band get a great deal of joy making a good sound together. We all started where Kenjai is, and got help along the way.”

If there is an adult reading this who knows a young person for whom this wonderful opportunity could be a fit, then please talk to them. This is a big opportunity for two students of music. Some of the members of MBBB come from Thames, so if a musical young person lives a distance from Whitianga, something can be worked out for rehearsals. The contact person for the scholarships is Jani Dennis. Email: ph: 0278119211.


From left: Kevin Robinson-trumpet, Michelle Lidgard- clarinet, Paul Lee – saxophone, Kenjia Campbell (saxophone and clarinet, Yvette Audain, Jani Dennis - keyboard, Paul Bradley - bass guitar, Trevor Hildreth – Trumpet. Centre - kneeling is Roger Simpson, Librarian for the MBBB.

Absent members: Robert Perks – drums, Donald Sangster – tenor sax, Rik Borges – baritone sax, Steve Davis – guitar.


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