Alice Cowdrey is a reporter for the Stratford Press.

St Mary's student selected to play clarinet for New Zealand Youth Symphonic Winds

St Mary's Diocesan School clarinet player Gaby Burns.
St Mary's Diocesan School clarinet player Gaby Burns.

A St Mary's Diocesan School clarinet player has been picked to play in a top wind band.
Year 12 student Gaby Burns has been selected to play in the New Zealand Youth Symphonic Winds — a leading concert band for musicians aged under 25.

Gaby's twin sister Liv, who attends New Plymouth Girls High School, has also been picked for the band.

Gaby says she was pretty happy after finding out they had been selected.

"It was great to be honest — I wasn't expecting to get in because the standard is so high."
Because she is not so keen on team sports, Gaby enjoys the social opportunities that comes with playing a musical instrument.

"There is a pretty good musical community here in New Plymouth, but it will be great to meet new people with similar interests."

An initiative of the New Zealand Concert Bands Association, the group provides musical, personal and leadership growth and opportunities through rehearsals, workshops and performances throughout the year under professional guidance.

The orchestra is made up of percussion, wind and brass instrument players from across New Zealand. Gaby says she has played the clarinet for eight years and picked it up by chance. While living in the United Kingdom, there were long waiting lists for students to learn new instruments.

She put her name down for quite a few and the clarinet happened to be the first lesson to come up. The same thing happened to Liv and their sister Sophie who plays the flute.
"It was quite difficult because I didn't know if I would take to it at first. A lot of hard work has gone a long way though and it's been fun."

Gaby says she practises between five minutes and two hours every day and loves playing music and was grateful for the help and support of her music teacher Jo Henderson.

Gaby and her sisters Liv and Sophie also play in the Taranaki Youth Orchestra which will be performing a primary schools roadshow at Kings Theatre tomorrow.

- Stratford Press

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