Rugby World Cup highlight for RNZAF Saxophonist Andre Paris

CPL Andre Paris.

Playing with the Central Band of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) at pre-match entertainment for the Rugby World Cup quarter-final games has been a highlight for Moera saxophonist Andre Paris.

“As a big rugby fan being able to march onto the pitch while the players warmed up was a great experience,” says Andre. “Playing to the crowds with great rugby teams either side of me will stick for awhile.”

Andre has been playing with the Central Band of the RNZAF for nearly seven years. “It's a great band to be part of. It’s the country's largest professional symphonic band that tours to all corners of New Zealand. I’ve had some unique experiences including a ride in an Iroquois helicopter and playing jazz at Prince William's BBQ at Premier House, not to mention the Rugby World Cup.” 

The son of singing Yandall sister Adele and guitarist father Bob Paris, the big question from Andre’s parents when he was young was, “what instrument are you going to play?”, not, “would you like to play an instrument?” says Andre.

“When you’re nine the saxophone sounds pretty cool so I started lessons.” Soon after, Andre joined the Aotea Youth Symphony. “Dad was aware that the saxophone might pigeon hole me to jazz so I learned the clarinet to get a taste for classical.” He would continue honing his musical talent on both instruments until the end of secondary school.

In Andre’s last year of school he won the Most Outstanding Saxophonist Award at the annual Tauranga Jazz Festival. Andre is very modest when asked about the award. He says, “I’m not sure if I won due to lack of entrants or what”.

Andre moved to Wellington from Auckland after completing secondary school to study music at Massey University.

His latest musical inspiration comes from international saxophonist Bob Reynolds who is part of John Mayer’s American blues band. Andre hopes to set up lessons with him through Skype.

Apart from playing in a number of bands, including the Central Band of the RNZAF, Andre pays the bills by Itinerant music teaching at six high schools including Naenae College and working one day a week at the Central Band of the RNZAF.

You can hear Andre play the saxophone at Air Force Proms on Sunday 6 November, 2.30pm at the Michael Fowler Centre. Tickets $20/$10 from 0800 TICKETEK.

Air Force Proms is made up of a group of musicians from the Central Band of the RNZAF. The Band currently has 65 members, many of which are full-time professional musicians, who work in Wellington with groups including the Vector Wellington Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Many of these musicians teach at schools in the Wellington and Hutt Valley areas. Past and present students of the Massey University and Victoria University music schools, now the NZ School of Music, account for a large number of the Band’s members.

The Band undertakes weekly rehearsals, donning uniform for official occasions such as street parades, Cathedral services and Guards of Honour for the arrival of foreign dignitaries at Parliament and Government House.


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This page was last reviewed on 1 November 2011.