Drumline students hit their own beat

A NEW BEAT: Australia’s Nerang State High School drumline team form a human stand for three bass drums as part of the stylised choreography the ensemble performed at Gisborne Intermediate yesterday. Brought to New Zealand by the Gold Coast school’s music teacher Dean Harawira, formerly of Gisborne, the Australian 2016 drumline champions demonstrated skills in percussion and in performance. The ensemble was formed only three years ago but training is intensive. “We pick the drumline team members in the first two weeks of school,” Mr Harawira said. “They train hard eight weeks before a competition. This includes a wananga for four days when they train all day. The music I give them is quite challenging. As long as you put in consistent effort every day, you will be what you want to be.” Pictures by Liam Clayton
Champion drumline group from Nerang State High School at Gisint.
Champion drumline group from Nerang State High School.
Champion drumline group from Nerang State High School.
Champion drumline group from Nerang State High School.

THE musical thunder of snares, quads, cymbals and bass drums filled the Gisborne Intermediate courtyard when Nerang State High School drumline students marched yesterday.

The drumline team was brought from Australia to Gisborne by Nerang State High School’s music teacher Dean Harawira, as part of a New Zealand tour.

Dressed in blue uniforms with white epaulettes and white headbands, and accompanied by flag bearers, the team demonstrated a stylised “march on”, performed a test piece called Blitz, a piece scored and choreographed by Mr Harawira, and a march off.

The ensemble’s performance was followed by a concert presented by the Queensland school’s top music students.

A medley of 1970s soul-funk band Earth, Wind and Fire tunes had most of the intermediate students, and drummers, dancing in the quad.

“I taught our kids some Maori songs,” Mr Harawira said.

“We’ve got Aussies singing Maori songs, which is pretty cool.”

Sung in te reo Maori, the songs included Maimoa’s hit Wairua, and Stan Walker’s Aotearoa.

No choreography is allowed for a test piece, Mr Harawira said, and the drummers have to play what is written in the score alone. Mr Harawira composed the drum score for a piece called Catch the Groove, while he and the students worked out the choreography.

Although he has lived in Australia for 33 years, Mr Harawira is originally from Muriwai. His uncle Solomon Pohatu was a member of the Maori Hi Five.

Mr Harawira formed the Gold Coast drumline group three years ago.

When the ensemble entered Australia’s national drumline competition, the team came third. Nerang was the only state school to compete in the event.

After the school principal provided funding for upgraded equipment, the ensemble won last year’s national competition and came second this year.

“You’re looking at one of the top drumlines in Australia,” Mr Harawira said.

THE musical thunder of snares, quads, cymbals and bass drums filled the Gisborne Intermediate courtyard when Nerang State High School drumline students marched yesterday.

The drumline team was brought from Australia to Gisborne by Nerang State High School’s music teacher Dean Harawira, as part of a New Zealand tour.

Dressed in blue uniforms with white epaulettes and white headbands, and accompanied by flag bearers, the team demonstrated a stylised “march on”, performed a test piece called Blitz, a piece scored and choreographed by Mr Harawira, and a march off.

The ensemble’s performance was followed by a concert presented by the Queensland school’s top music students.

A medley of 1970s soul-funk band Earth, Wind and Fire tunes had most of the intermediate students, and drummers, dancing in the quad.

“I taught our kids some Maori songs,” Mr Harawira said.

“We’ve got Aussies singing Maori songs, which is pretty cool.”

Sung in te reo Maori, the songs included Maimoa’s hit Wairua, and Stan Walker’s Aotearoa.

No choreography is allowed for a test piece, Mr Harawira said, and the drummers have to play what is written in the score alone. Mr Harawira composed the drum score for a piece called Catch the Groove, while he and the students worked out the choreography.

Although he has lived in Australia for 33 years, Mr Harawira is originally from Muriwai. His uncle Solomon Pohatu was a member of the Maori Hi Five.

Mr Harawira formed the Gold Coast drumline group three years ago.

When the ensemble entered Australia’s national drumline competition, the team came third. Nerang was the only state school to compete in the event.

After the school principal provided funding for upgraded equipment, the ensemble won last year’s national competition and came second this year.

“You’re looking at one of the top drumlines in Australia,” Mr Harawira said.

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