Port of Tauranga Backs Youth Jazz Competition

In what Jazz Festival Director Arne Herrmann calls "an inspired choice", Port of Tauranga today confirmed a three year sponsorship for the Jazz Festival's Youth Jazz Competition starting from the up-coming festival in 2009.

The competition, embedded for 31 years in the 47 year long history of the festival, is the most prestigious New Zealand showcase for young, aspiring jazz musicians to display their talents alongside other like-minded jazz enthusiasts from around the country.

Through this competition, some of the country's best jazz musicians have been discovered and have grown into jazz stars on the international stage. The roll call is impressive it includes saxophonist Nathan Haines (who will release a new album over summer), vocalist Hollie Smith (who was signed last year to New York's Blue Note label) and Tauranga's own Jazz Tui award-winning pianist Charmaine Ford, who is now resident in Sydney.

Port of Tauranga Chief Executive Mark Cairns says, "Supporting youth is a key element in our philosophy of supporting our community. The Jazz Festival is a very popular and well-respected event in the region and we decided to back it by getting behind the Youth Jazz Competition".

"We celebrate Port of Tauranga's decision. It is confirmation of how important the Jazz Festival is not only for the community, but also for BOP businesses that are interested in fostering a vibrant living environment for their staff and the community they do business in, " says Arne Herrmann. "While the Youth Jazz Competition's future is now secure for the next three years, the remaining elements of the Jazz Festival are still up in the air. A lot of companies have tightened their belts and the first thing that seems to get dropped is sponsorship".

The Port of Tauranga Youth Jazz Competition will run over two days on Good Friday and Easter Saturday in the Baycourt Theatre complex. On Easter Sunday, there will be master classes and workshops and a Young Gun concert featuring some of the country's best emerging jazz talent. The competition judging panel will comprise a mix of renowned local and national jazz musicians.

The 47th National Jazz Festival will take place from 9 to 13 April 2009 in Tauranga.

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