The National Youth Brass Band consists of New Zealand's most talented young brass and percussion musicians. 

The band members are all under twenty-three years of age and are selected from nationwide auditions of young band members from community-based brass bands. There is no automatic selection for a place in the band, as each player must audition annually.

Many band members have gone on to professional careers in services bands, the NZ Symphony Orchestra, professional conducting and of course the National Band of New Zealand.

The National Youth Brass Band training programme has developed a successful formula that both challenges and encourages our young musicians. Band members participate in a five-day training course which includes section work with some of New Zealand and Australia's finest musicians followed by a concert tour.

The annual Summer Courses have been an outstanding success both musically and profile wise for the brass band movement in New Zealand. The band has undertaken some ambitious tours to include the main centres, holiday resort towns and even vineyards, always with a loyal following and with an emphasis on having a lot of fun in the music-making.

2021 National Youth Brass Band - Photograph courtesy of Dana Foley Photography
2021 National Youth Brass Band

Photograph courtesy of Dana Foley Photography

Make friends with the band

The Youth Band has been financially supported by generous individuals and organisations who make an annual donation to the band through a Friends programme. If you would like to support the National Youth Band in this way.

Friends of the National Youth Brass Band

Auckland Band Association, Peter and Kylie Adams, Barrie & Janet Aldridge (in perpetuity) E Aldridge (in perpetuity), Canterbury Provincial Brass Band Association, Dennis & Margaret Dawson, Pete & Billie Harbidge, John & Norah Hollick, Ian & Denise Levien, AG (Tony) Lewis, John McGough, Owen Melhuish, David Miller, Graham & Christine Moseley, NBS Nelson City Brass, NZ Army Band, Evan & Lorraine Sayer, Mel Smith, John & Rachel Sullivan, the Estate of Joan Norma Morris.

2022 Youth Brass Band

Musical Director 2020 to 2022 | Alan Spence QSM, PHF, FTCL, Dip Tchg. Whakatane 

Alan Spence is a third-generation brass bander who started his musical career in the Levin Municipal Band under the guidance of Tom Taylor. As a cornet player, Alan was a member of three National Bands of New Zealand. He also won the New Zealand Amateur Cornet title and placed 5th in the finals of the British Open brass solo championships. For 18 years he was a member of Rotorua Brass when it was an A grade band. At this time he received musical guidance and tuition from both Elgar and Colin Clayton.

During his OE, Alan was the Principal Cornet of the Hillingdon Band in London under the musical direction of composer Philip Sparke. After returning from living in the UK, he commenced his conducting career with the then Whakatane Citizens Band which was a non-affiliated D grade band. Within five years, with wins in both the D grade and then C grade, the band was promoted to the B grade. Alan then conducted Rotorua Brass for five years while the band was in the A grade. After a short break, he returned to conducting in Whakatane with the newly named Eastern Bay of Plenty Brass (EBOP). After successive wins in the C grade, the band was promoted to the B grade. After two wins and two high placings overall in the B grade, EBOP Brass, for the first time in its 102 year history was promoted to the A grade in 2016. It has since competed successfully at the last three A Grade championships.

Alan is very proud that all four of his sons play brass instruments and that all have gained selection into National Secondary Schools’ Bands and National Youth Bands. His two eldest sons have also gained selection into National Bands. Tania, Alan’s wife, was also a member of National Youth Bands and the National Band of New Zealand. Up until recently, she had been the Principal Cornet of EBOP Brass for many successful years. Alan was the Musical Director of the 2012 and  2013 National Secondary Schools’ Bands.

Alan is a classroom music teacher at Trident High School in Whakatane and has, for many years, been Musical Director of the Trident High School Big Band. This band has in recent years won the National Youth Jazz Championships twice under his direction.

 He has also been the brass tutor at the Whakatane Children’s Music School for 25 years and as such has started many brass musicians’ musical careers. Many of those brass musicians are still involved in the brass band movement, and many have gained selection into representative bands and have won or placed in national junior or open solo/ensemble titles. Alan has always maintained his belief in the musical value of students participating in solo and small group concerts and competitions, together with being members of representative musical groups.

In 2014, Alan was awarded a QSM for Service to Brass Bands and Community Music. In 2015 he was recognised as a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International.

Band Manager 2022 Emily Richards, Wellington:


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