Picture this: a cold, wet, blustery afternoon in Hillsborough, an uncomfortable trek across a partly unformed carpark – instrument under one wing, music stand under the other and umbrella tucked under something else. Now, you approach two pair of large, automatic, double doors which open and invitingly ask you into an enormous warm room lit on two sides by floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The seating is prepared and smiles are evident all around.
This was the welcome Kumeu Vintage Band experienced on our first visit to the new entertainment centre of Selwyn Heights Village. We did play a gig there about six years ago at the opening with Brian Miller at the helm.
The theme for an hour today was “An afternoon at the Movies”. The audience of about 150 was spread right around the band, some insisting on being very close, others preferring a safer distance but the response was the same: warm, welcoming, attentive and enthusiastic. Graeme’s new audience quiz concept went down well with many amazingly alert minds responding actively and competitively. It was also great to see John and Carol Russell in the audience.
No surprises with the title selection: popular themes included Olympic Fanfare and Theme, Born Free, The James Bond Theme, Mary Poppins, Les Mis (On My Own) with a superb solo horn performance by Leslie Terry, The Bridge on the River Kwai (Colonel Bogey- whistled with difficulty!) among half-a-dozen others including my favourite, Lara’s Theme from Dr Zhivago. The very introduction by Graeme Gillies of “Dr Zhivago” brought audible gasps and palpitations from the lady members of the young-at-heart audience.
Keeping in mind this was our first playout since the Kumeu Show back in March (Covid 19!) we played reasonably well. The acoustics of this reception and entertainment centre were brilliant and the accompany photographs confirm the excellent lighting. “Please come again” was our host’s final request.