Finalists announced for AJ Hackett Bungy JumpStart jazz competition

Wednesday 15 October 2008, 7:29PM
By ASB JazzFest


A line-up of talented young musicians from around New Zealand have been announced as finalists in the AJ Hackett Bungy JumpStart competition, part of the ASB JazzFest Queenstown.

Three bands, four solo vocalists and six solo instrumentalists have made the finals in the competition, which aims to give exposure to emerging musicians and help kick start their careers.

The AJ Hackett Bungy JumpStart Competition Finals will be held at the Rydges Hotel Queenstown this Sunday October 19, starting at 7pm.

The finalists were selected from an initial audition round via DVD and web upload submissions, and on Sunday will each give a live performance in front of a judging panel and audience.

ASB JazzFest Queenstown festival director Harvey Maguire said the competition had attracted a wide range of entries from around the country and as always the judges had been “surprised and delighted” by the young talent, aged between 14 and 20, keen to demonstrate their understanding of the key elements of jazz.

“Some of these contestants will go on to be career musicians and we could be looking at some of tomorrow’s greats,” he said.

"Of special note is Lili Latham who performed as Debbie Harry in the recent TV show '’Stars in their Eyes’, and was mentioned in the Sunday Star Times magazine’s ‘Going Up’ column.”

The finalists are supported on stage by Queenstown performer and pianist Mark Wilson who puts tremendous effort into his role as backing musician. “He does the job with a lot of grace and has a special talent at making the contestants feel comfortable with little rehearsal,” said Mr Maguire.

The finalists are: Solo Vocal Jesse Finn (Queenstown); Wallace Golan (Wellington); Chloe Hishon (Alexandra); Lili Latham (Whakatane). Solo Instrumental Sam Blakelock on guitar (Christchurch); Andrew Bruce on piano (Lower Hutt); Alex Nixon on guitar (Taupo); George Coole on sax (Christchurch); David Bell on piano (Queenstown); Michael Gordon on sax (Christchurch). Band Section Best Served Chilled (Queenstown); Papanui High School (Christchurch); Sam Blakelock Band (Christchurch).

Winners of the solo vocal and solo instrumental categories will each receive $1,000 in cash, while the band category winner will receive $2,000.

“This is our second year supporting JumpStart. Our crew are looking forward a great night out enjoying this year’s emerging jazz talent,” said Michelle Trapski, AJ Hackett Bungy CEO.

ASB JazzFest Queenstown is celebrating its milestone 30th anniversary this year. It’s Queenstown’s major springtime event, a 10-day programme of live music from October 18 to 27 showcasing a breadth of jazz styles from around New Zealand and the world.

More than 50 bands and 200 performers inspire and entertain through a programme of 80 free events, in central Queenstown and around the district, and premium ticketed headline concerts.

Festival tickets can be purchased online through www.asbjazzfest.co.nz , by calling TicketDirect on 03 450 9110 or 0800 224 224 or at Queenstown i-Site (corner of Shotover and Camp streets)