Participating Bands

Watch this space as bands get added as they register!

2017 Big Bands

Symposium Big Band

Band leader: Gwyn Reynolds

Dunedin City Jazz Orchestra

Band leader: Calder Prescott MNZM

DCJO is Dunedin’s premiere Big Band led by Jazz Legend Calder Prescott since it’s formation 28 years ago. The band plays regularly around Dunedin at events, dances, rest homes and pubs and has travelled overseas several times to Festivals at Montreux, Sydney, West Coast USA and Port Macquarie. We play the music of the great bands of the Swing Era right up to charts where the ink is hardly dry!

Ellesmere Big Band

Band leader: (Acting) Graeme Nicholas

The Ellesmere Big Band is a community band based in Leeston. It specialises in swing, pop and ballad music and features vocalists. It is one of the oldest bands in the area, originating as the Ellesmere Brass Band in 1902. Saxes and rhythm were added in 2004 and over the next few years the band developed into the, predominantly, ‘swing’ band of today.

Nelson Jazz Club Big Band


Band leader: Simon Williams

The Nelson Jazz Club Big Band – styled after the great bands of the Forties and Fifties is a traditional stage band that plays syncopated written arrangements with improvised interludes. Most people will be familiar with Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, but Big Bands have been popular since the dawn of jazz and show no sign of losing their appeal with new arrangements of contemporary music appearing all the time. The Nelson Jazz Club Big Band has been in existence for more than twenty five years and has played at every Nelson Jazz Festival since its inception as well as playing regular gigs in the region. Simon Williams is the Musical Director of the Nelson Jazz Club Big Band, which includes some of the best jazz players and vocalists currently in Nelson. The combination of talent with many years of musical experience creates a great sound that brings the dance floor alive.

Sideline Swing


Band leader: Butch Green

Papanui High School Jazz Band

Band leader: Georgina Rees-Stevenson

The PHS Jazz Band won Gold Awards at both ARA JazzQuest and Southern Jam in 2016. They love performing and several band members perform in other big bands, including the All Girl Big Band and CYJO. 2016 was the band’s first time participating in the Big Band Festival, and they can’t wait to do it again.

Chisnallwood Intermediate School Jazz Band

Band leader: Judith Bell


Band leader: Stephen Nichols

CSM combined outreach schools primary school jazz band

Friday Youth Band

Band leader: Maree Parr

Christchurch School of Music combined outreach primary schools band that plays a variety of music

Not-so-Big Bands

Hagley Intermediate Jazz Band

Band leader: Nanako Sato

We are entering for Not-So-Big Band category, but we love playing the style of a Big Band. This group consists of Year 10 and 11 students from Hagley College. The band was formed last year and enjoy performing 1920’s Swing tunes to Latin numbers. We participated at Jazz Quest and Big Band Festival last year. We are pleased to be involved in the Big Band Festival again.

The Octet

Band leader: Mike Bickers

The Octet was formed in 2015 to play the sounds of the great 1950’s small groups. Music by Gerry Mulligan, Shorty Rogers, Miles Davis as well as small group arrangements of some of the great swing and bop numbers of the era as played by the Dave Pell Octet, Miles Davis Nonet, Gerry Mulligan Tentet and Shorty Rogers’ Jazz Giants. The Octet is also privileged to play a large number of Calder Prescott’s arrangements that Calder wrote especially for his own octet in Dunedin. The Octet utilises the instrumental talents of some of Christchurch’s best known jazz musicians. The line-up is Lana Law (baritone and alto sax), Jody Keehan (alto sax and vocals), Alan Hawes (tenor sax and clarinet), David Wallace (tenor and bass trombone), Mike Bickers (trumpet and flugelhorn), Katie Martin (piano and keyboards), Mike Kime (double bass) and Lou Moverly (drums). The sound is cool, swingin’ jazz.

If your band isn’t listed here yet, please ask you band director to jump onto the band registration page of this website!

2016 participating bands