News

TUNING IN WITH THE TRUMPETGUY

Hi to all my valued customers, friends, colleagues, supporters and welcome to the 2nd newsletter of the year from the Trumpetguy!

It’s wonderful that there are always stories to tell and exciting times to come in the entertainment industry. I feel very blessed to finish every gig with delighted customers and smiles on the faces of the people I entertain. Those smiles and happy times are the primary reason why we do it. How many times we do it, determines the annual income!

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The year has progressed with the usual full diary of events starting with the conclusion to the summer racing season at Ellerslie. A fun experience working with some awesome people, along with the odd bit of media coverage to keep the Trumpetguy in the public eye. As always it’s the chartered clubs that offer the main support. Ever increasing crowds and enthusiasm are retained at Warkworth RSA and Birkenhead RSA in particular. The major bookings of the year went extremely well. A wedding at Cassels Reception Lounge in West Auckland was the first time I had worked at that venue. The surroundings and staff were a real treat to be involved with. You know the gig is going well when all staff and chefs, down tools and come out of the kitchen and line up to see you perform. The day started a little tense with a power cut due to a motor vehicle accident nearby. No power during the daylight part of the wedding, resulting in the meal being served under many candle lights, which added to the atmosphere of the occasion. Ten minutes prior to me starting to DJ and trumpet my way through the evening the power restored and once my music started it was more than just the lights coming on as they danced the night away nonstop! It was indeed an honour to host the Auckland Community Theatre Trust Awards for the 2nd year in a row. These awards are to acknowledge excellence in amateur theatre production in Auckland with such talented cast and crew. The only thing that labels these people amateur, is the lack of a pay day. All else, professional in every way.

March this year we lost a wonderful entertainer, dance teacher and treasured member of the Variety Artist Club of New Zealand Pat McMinn. Pat was 91 and had a successful career with many hits singing with some of our countries best big bands of the past. Pat had many hits one of note “Opo The Crazy Dolphin” but she was probably best known for the longest running radio jingle of all time “Broke My Denture” for the Geddes Dental Group. A memorial concert was held in her honour with yours truly as MC and entertainer. It was wonderful to entertain alongside Larry Morris, Tom Sharplin, Max Cryer, Debbie Dorday, Jim Joll, Larry Killip, Toucan and many others. Two new acts I had not seen before but impressed were circus performers Dust Palace as well as the band the Renegades. A real highlight for all concerned.

The weekend before a vacation to Hawaii I was the chosen entertainer at the National Conference for the Floral Arts Society of NZ at Waipuna Lodge. The ladies certainly outnumbered the gentleman but that didn’t stop them dancing the night away. I started the evening with what I thought was appropriate, some live background jazz, Latin American and easy listening while they dined however dinning seemed to be the last thing on their mind. After a few background slow songs and the floor already a quarter full at 7pm, it was obvious these ladies came to party! Immediately I decided the slow songs needed to go to the recycle bin and we cranked things up with the floor packed till the wee small hours! It’s the quiet ones that surprise you! What an amazing bunch of people, fun and so talented by the look of their award winning floral displays on show.

Cathy and I enjoyed a wonderful vacation in Hawaii and the trip got me thinking about the culture of live entertainment between both countries. Everywhere we went there was free live entertainment. Every bar, even the shopping mall had quality acts from big bands to cultural dancers providing an electric atmosphere. Nine times out of ten you approach a mall here in New Zealand they say they can’t have entertainment because the tenants might complain! What about the customers that love every minute of it? Sometimes New Zealanders certainly deprive themselves of a little fun, to keep those that are put on this earth to complain, a little happier. Everywhere you went there was music. Let’s bring this back New Zealand.

As part of my promotion work with CTS Tours I also travelled to Vietnam this year with a tour group. I was welcomed by the management and band of the Madam Kieu Restaurant and Bar in Hoi An to perform and the musicians and patrons were amazing. If you ever travel to Hoi An, be sure to check out this friendly spot. I hope to return one day.

Another highlight this year was listening to my trumpet playing idol James Morrison at the Tauranga Jazz Festival. Both sons backed him in a four-piece set and it was wonderful to meet his talented sons. James returned to perform in Christchurch with the New Zealand Army Band and the footage of that was again mind blowing. I am a big advocate for doing what you do well and seeking advice from others that can help polish your performance. It was interesting to learn that the army employed the skills of well-known New Zealand jazz great Rodger Fox to assist them with the jazz feel and it certainly paid dividend as they were superb. I would like to acknowledge the help of master magician Andre Vegas for helping me add some sizzle to my live shows! Andre was one of the star acts of TV’s New Zealand’s Got Talent and his help to enhance my shows have been very much appreciated and so far Andre, well received! Thank you.

It was brought to my attention that I got a small mention in an article on the website Audio Culture. The NZ Library of New Zealand music. There was a page set up about the band Diatribe. An impressive bunch of musicians from bands like Coconut Rough and the Headless Chickens. Well known singer Fiona McDonald and Greg Johnson were among the ranks and I was named as the trumpeter brought into the band when they changed the band’s name to the “Seven Deadly Sins” they were fun times. Two lifelong friends of mine were also trumpeters in that band along with Greg Johnson. Tim Robertson and Blair Thompson added their trumpet sparkle back in the day and I’m now following Blair’s son’s band “Drax Project” with interest. It was awesome catching up with his son Sam (Drax bass player) at the races at Ellerslie when we were both playing there. Their single “Woke Up Late” has been the go to hit of 2018 and already they have opened for Ed Shearon, Camila Cabello and Six60.

Blenheim hosted the New Zealand Brass Band Championships in July in their new ASB Theatre. Congratulations to Wellington Brass again showing their dominance in the A Grade, Wanganui in the B Grade, Howick in the C Grade and Roxburgh Pioneer Energy Brass in the D Grade. Nelson City Youth Band won the Youth Grade and I played with their senior band in the B Grade. It was our first year back in the B Grade after a recent promotion from C Grade and we were thrilled with our 2nd place. I didn’t hear too much complaining about the judge and international cornet star Russell Grey. In fact, quite positive comments! Brass band people are just the best and I loved listening to each band members positive comments and how proud they were of their own achievements. No negativity like you often hear within other competing organisations. Everyone really appreciates the quality of the top players and bust their guts to beat them. All without any unfortunate displays of poor sports, or should I say musicianship!

Brass band great Riki McDonnell passed away earlier this year and he was without doubt one of the best and most successful brass musicians in the World. He was a dear friend, fellow musician, teacher, fishing, tennis, travel, cuisine and beverage tasting buddy of mine. Many at the contest missed him so much. Riki was also a sponsor of the Trumpetguy as I use his sensational ZOOM Digital products. There was only one thing Riki didn’t manage to conquer in his life and that was cancer. I miss him dearly.

Don’t forget to keep in touch and tell me all your news. Some of the exciting gigs ahead are shows in Te Awamutu and Taumarunui. I will be hosting the 2018 Variety Artist Club of NZ Entertainment Awards later in the year, will be performing once again in Beijing on the Great Wall of China and will return to take three of my favourite girls to see Pink perform in September.

Looking for a featured live musician, an MC, background restaurant/bar music or DJ to rock your event? Look no further.

Let’s start a party!

Bye Bye from the trumpetguy.

John McGough