Mount Hutt hits all the right notes

The Caviar Vanguard members from Mount Hutt College – Chloe Keijzer, Charlotte Blundell and Simon Harford – impressed judges with their rendition of Tongue in Cheek on Monday night.
Photo Susan Sandys


Mount Hutt College is making a name for itself on the music scene, after returning from premier events with a host of awards.

On Monday night saxophone trio The Caviar Vanguard was highly commended at the NZCT Chamber Music Contest at Timaru, and won best performance of a New Zealand work for their rendition of Tongue in Cheek by Eric Biddington.

They also won the coveted KBB Music Award for the best performance by a brass/woodwind/percussion group.

Returning with a swing in their step were members Simon Harford in Year 13, Charlotte Blundell in Year 12 and Chloe Keijzer in Year 11.

“It was honestly a bit of a surprise, but I think with how much work we put into this piece, it paid off,” Simon said.

And their music teacher Matthew Wood was singing their praises yesterday, while also applauding members of the other four groups entered by the college.

“I’m pleased for all the groups.

“A lot of the other groups were quite young, so for them it was really about gaining experience in front of an audience and being able to get feedback in front of a professional judge,” Wood said.

He believed The Caviar Vanguard members had benefited from some fine-tuning of their performance when Royal New Zealand Air Force Band members visited the school recently.

“It helped them bring the piece together and present it in a very cohesive manner.”

The contest success followed the school receiving accolades at the premier choral festival for secondary schools in the country on Friday night, the Big Sing.

Twenty-seven choirs from 15 schools throughout Canterbury and the West Coast entertained crowds at the Christchurch Town Hall.

MHC Chorus was making its debut, and took out the award for outstanding performance by a new choir.

Their three numbers were A Quiet Sanctus, One Fine Day and The Voices of Children.

Wood said it had been an awesome and inspiring event for the choir’s 19 members, and they had particularly enjoyed being part of the massed choir performance of Aroha: Otautahi, Wairua o te puna, sang in recognition of what Christchurch has been through with the March terror attack, and also to welcome everyone back to the town hall.

It was the first time the Big Sing had been held in the town hall since the earthquakes.

“It was a really moving performance,” Wood said.

– By Susan Sandys

Mount Hutt College students joined with others from throughout Canterbury and the West Coast in a moving tribute to Christchurch on Friday night.