THE Kingscliff High School Wind Symphony Orchestra and Kingscliff High School Big Band know how to make music and now they have the trophies to prove it.
Both ensembles won first prize in their respective categories at the Murwillumbah Performing Arts Festival open division, with the Big Band breaking a five-year winning streak in their division.
Creative and Performing Arts head teacher Kurstin Boyd said the ensembles formed in 2014 and the festival was the first time the students had competed and performed outside of school.
"I really wanted to get the band at the festival and now we've set the bar really high for ourselves,” Ms Boyd said.
A total of 20 students, aged from 12 to 17 years, perform in the ensembles which focus on playing jazz, pop, funk and rock.
Ensemble co-ordinator Adam Meyer said the wind and big band groups were an extra-curricular activity but that didn't stop the pupils from working really hard to be ready for the competition.
"They're very committed students, we couldn't have done what we did if they weren't committed,” Mr Meyer said.
Ms Boyd said the work Mr Meyer had done with the kids was evident in the quality of their music.
"The maturity of the performances are beyond the years of what we expected for how long the band has been together,” Ms Boyd said.
"They were using dynamics, volume, light and shade in ways that is beyond their years which blew me away sitting in the audience. And as a music teacher the music was moving, you could feel the emotion and the changes and to see that is just phenomenal.”
Mr Meyer said both ensembles' performances impressed the judges and the audiences at the festival.
"The next day I went to watch another section and one of the minders said to me we rocked last night so if that's any reaction I'd like to think we did well,” Mr Meyer said.
The band will play at the Murwillumbah Performing Arts Festival Gala evening tonight at 7pm at Murwillumbah Civic Centre.