High aim pays off

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Jamie Cunningham, of Alexandra, was pleased by his placings during the recent New Zealand Brass Band Championships in Blenheim last week.

Although he usually plays his B-flat cornet for the D-grade Roxburgh Pioneer Energy Brass band at Roxburgh, he came third in the open soprano cornet solo competition, coming up against six A-grade players, three B-grade and one C-grade player.

In addition to playing for the Roxburgh band, he was asked by the B grade Alpine Energy Timaru Brass band to play the soprano cornet for it about four months ago.

As a result he decided to “have a crack” at the soprano section at the national competition.

“I was aiming for a top half placing, maybe sixth or fifth, as I was up against some very fine soprano players.”

He was delighted to place third against strong competition and because the soprano was a harder instrument to play.

Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, he began learning the soprano cornet in 1986, eventually playing and competing in bands at a national level there.

“For me, it is more like a sport, very competitive, especially in the UK. It was all about performing in competitions and continually striving to be better.

“I then had a 15-year break from playing seriously when I moved to New Zealand and started to raise a family.”

He resumed playing with the Roxburgh band about two years ago.