myView from Tonga with the NZSO

myView from Tonga with the NZSO

Stephen Mosa’ati is a third-year Classical Performance Music student who recently traveled with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra to Tonga, performing workshops for various schools and two concerts. In this myView blog post, he talks about his experiences.  

Three students in tradition Tongan clothes stand together and smile at the camera.
Stephen Mosa’ati alongside conducting fellows Anne Filimoehala (middle) and Sam Uatahausi (right)

Mālō e lelei my name is Stephen Mosa’ati. I am a third-year music student at the New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī (NZSM) majoring in Classical Performance for Trumpet.

I was recently fortunate enough to play alongside musicians from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) on their tour of my home country, the Kingdom of Tonga. I also had the great pleasure of playing alongside the Head of Brass/Wind Department at the NZSM, Shannon Pittaway, who has been a major influence on my journey through music. This was the first time the orchestra had visited the Kingdom of Tonga.

As well as Shannon and I, 10 brass musicians, two percussionists, and two conducting fellows—Anne Filimoehala and Sam Uatahausi, who are both Tongan born—travelled to Tonga. On the trip, two brass quintets visited nine schools in Tonga to conduct workshops explaining the fundamentals of brass instruments to students. The choice to bring only the NZSO brass section and percussion stemmed from Tonga’s passion for brass bands.

We also put on two concerts at the Queen Salote College Hall. The first was with The Royal Corps of Musicians and the Royal Tongan Police Band, and the second concert was with the Tupou college band. This was particularly exciting as these groups not only could play their instruments very well, but they could also dance and sing.

Stephen Mosa’ati alongside Associate Principal Trombone Matthew Ellison (left) and the Principal Trombone Shannon Pittaway (Right)

Although I have been to Tonga twice before, this time was especially unique as I got the chance to perform and play the trumpet in front of my family who were very proud to see me alongside such a prestigious ensemble.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to go to my homeland and experience the music culture in Tonga. Our goal was to inspire the kids that we performed for, and I believe we achieved that. I felt most enriched at the response from the schools who were enormously appreciative to watch the NZSO perform and see a fellow Tongan on stage. This appreciation was translated through the gift of a Kahoa Lei (Tongan necklaces) and an abundance of food.

This experience is incomparable to anything that I have had the opportunity to do prior and is one that I will never forget. It has been the highlight of my university experience and would not have been possible without my tutors, Shannon Pittaway and Mark Carter, who have been pillars throughout my degree.

Malo ‘aupito

Stephen Mosa’ati is a third-year Classical Performance student majoring in Classical Performance for Trumpet.

Interested in sharing your experience? Read our submission guidelines and get in touch with your story ideas.