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THE WORLD IS OUR PLAYGROUND

Welcome to my first newsletter for 2017. The year looks to be an exciting one but has a lot to live up to after one of the best years ever in 2016.

In brief while in China September last year I received notification from the National Band of New Zealand that I had been selected into the band to perform concerts and compete at the World Championships in Holland July of this year. October came and I was presented with the Top Variety Musician of the Year Award from the Variety Artist Club of New Zealand at their 50th Anniversary Awards and in November, I hit the big 50 myself with a party that was OUT OF THIS WORLD!

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I had some wonderful friends there not to mention an entertainment line up I had no idea was going to grow in strength the way it did. What a party! Mick Peck my amazing magician friend got the ball rolling greeting friends on arrival with close up magic. My friends are still talking about Mick! The Midnite Special Band then hit the stage (pictured above) is there anything they can’t do? Highly recommended. Then fiddler Marian Burns announced her arrival with a whirlwind set. Rising star Kayla Lightband got the dance floor full and was “All About That Bass”. Country star Peter Caulton took to the stage what a bonus! Then Tom Sharplin decided to keep the momentum going. TOM SHARPLIN!!! Can you believe that! A very special moment for me was the arrival of “The Voice” Chris Powley. Returning that very day to New Zealand from performing on a cruise ship to sing us a few songs. Chris is one of my favourite New Zealand singers of all time. He is and always will be, world class. It was so cool to have him there and I think he also enjoyed catching up with many of his entertainment friends. Thank you to his lovely wife and beautiful new baby for sharing him with us that night and it was great to have them there also. This, together with a Happy Birthday played perfectly on the trumpet by my friend Andy Appleton and some solo dancing demonstrations from my Nelson Brass and National Band colleague and section leader Steve Rudhall made for a show cast line up good enough for a Royal Variety performance. Very very special friends converged on Birkenhead from Auckland, Whangamata, Whitianga, Napier, Christchurch, Melbourne and Brisbane. Yup, it was OH WHAT A NIGHT. Thank you. It was one of the best social nights of my life and I’ve had a few.

So what now?

The gig guide is full and we already have completed some excellent shows. Attention now is with some speaking engagements at the Flight Centre Expos in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in my promotional role with CTS Tours spreading the word about their amazing deals to China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan and Korea.

Its then time to prepare for the 2017 Auckland Theatre Trust Awards at the beautiful Crowne Plaza Hotel where I will be hosting the show. Throw in an appearance and shows at some upcoming weddings at some of Auckland’s finest venues, some regular chartered club shows and then it’s time to head to Wellington in April for the New Zealand National Brass Band Championships. Again I will be playing for the current C Grade Champion Band the Nelson City Brass. This will be followed by a concert on the Sunday proceeding the contest in Wellington by the National Band of New Zealand. During May I will be once again working with the Nelson Band and June/July its concerts and contests with the “All Blacks of Brass” the National Band of New Zealand. All the members of this 36 piece brass and percussion band are so so good! Members consist of current and former National Champions, 17 in fact at my last count; we have personnel from the famous NZSO and NZ Army Band and past members of famous English bands now living in New Zealand. The current New Zealand Champion of Champion percussionist is there and a tuba player that has been named in the 2016-17 World brass band dream team by one of the worlds most respected brass band websites! All coordinated by a great management team, Internationally recognised Musical Director Nigel Weeks. Accompanying the band will be the Aotearoa Maori Cultural Group. They will help build the profile of our beautiful country overseas.

The band will form up on the 23rd June in Auckland for rehearsals, CD recording and concerts around the North Island. On the 1st July we fly to Hong Kong where we will perform at the Yuen Long Theatre for the 20th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region. We will be listed alongside the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. More rehearsals in Hong Kong and then we will travel to Kerkrade Holland where we will need our “A” game to compete against some of the finest brass bands in the world. This will be my second appearance as a member of the National Band competing in Kerkrade. We last competed there in 2009 and were placed 4th. Bands are seeded into sections. Championship, 1st section etc. According to the World Championship website these are the top 10 bands seeded into the Championship section that we will be up against.

Brassband De Waldsang Netherlands, Brass Band Schoonhoven Netherlands, Brassband Buizingen Belgium, Brassband Willebroek Belgium, Brass Band Heist Belgium, Brass Band Treize Etoiles Switzerland, Manger Musikklag Norway, Amsterdam Brass Netherlands, Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Great Britain, National Band of NZ New Zealand.

To finish I would just like to thank a few that have helped so much to make this adventure come true. Firstly my partner Cathy for your support as well as working out how to send in my live audition on Dropbox! I’m technically challenged and it would never have happened without you. Being a member of this band is not cheap! We are starved of corporate sponsorship so the individual cost by players is considerable. I would like to thank CTS Tours and the Variety Artist Club of New Zealand for your overwhelming support, along with all the wonderful friends, people at my gigs and general public that made donations and purchased the National Band Celebrity Cook Book, which was extremely well put together to help fundraise for the band.

So that’s what’s happening for the first half of the year. I’ll check in again for an update near August.

Bye Bye from the trumpetguy.

John McGough