NZSO gets into the swing of spring

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TRUMPETS will herald the arrival of spring when the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) rolls into town next week.

The orchestra is teaming up with the Rodger Fox Big Band to present the 12-centre tour Swing Into Spring, which will finish in Invercargill at the Civic Theatre next Friday.

Band founder and trombone player Rodger Fox said this was the first time his band had played with the NZSO, but he had been interested in a collaboration for some time.

More than 80 musicians would appear on stage, along with American trumpet virtuoso Allen Vizzutti.

Allen Vizzutti.
Allen Vizzutti.

Vizzutti played with the band four or five years ago and was a very good fit as a guest artist, Fox said.

“It’s unbelievable what he can do on the trumpet – speechless material really.”

The conductor is New Zealander Hamish McKeich, who served as the NZSO’s associate conductor from 2002-2006 and was awarded a Douglas Lilburn Trust citation for services to New Zealand music in 2012.

“I think it’s good he’s on board. He’s had the experience of working with orchestras, as a conductor, with lots of different genres,” Fox said.

“He’s really got an understanding of how to link it all together.”

He said the audience would experience a lot of music and different styles, including big band swing, rock and Latin elements, and contemporary popular songs.

“All the music is new. It’s all newly-written especially for this tour. What ‘ve tried to do is add some New Zealand compositions and things people would know like the West Side Story Suite,” Fox said.

“I’ve also got a great arrangement of Royals by Lorde, and Wandering Eye by Fat Freddy’s Drop.”

featured a couple of original compositions, he said, Matakana by big band guitarist Nick Granville and a commission by Matt Harris, The Red Zone, which was inspired by the Christchurch earthquakes.

“He’s tailored it to the Rodger Fox Big Band sound and incorporated the orchestra.”

Fox said he was looking forward to performing in Invercargill, as he lived in the city for six years as a young child. His family then lived in Gore for three years, before moving to Wellington, where the big band was founded in 1973.

Swing Into Spring, Civic Theatre, Invercargill, Friday, September 16, 7.30pm. Tickets from TicketDirect.

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