Last night I performed at a corporate dinner function at the Grand Hall in Parliament Buildings where the special guests included MP David Carter and Invercargill mayor and iconic entertainer Tim Shadbolt. The function went seamlessly. This was the first time I have played at this venue, where the acoustics suited the on-site piano beautifully. Shadbolt was priceless; he could talk about your worst nightmare and still make it sound hilarious.
Enjoyed a successful gig with the band That's Debatable for a corporate function at Rydges Rotorua last night, which resulted in a couple of booking requests for Wellington and Tauranga. Included a pre-dance performance of light piano music during dinner. Nice to be on the road but great to be home.
Performed this evening after a special dinner with village residents at Metlifecare Wairarapa, during which I took them back through the decades with hits from Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Nat King Cole, and numerous others. Concluded with a vocal number, which had everyone singing fondly along with me to the 1938 jazz standard "I'll Be Seeing You." I had a great time and was touched by the overwhelming response from all in attendance.
I enjoyed a superb evening's performance for Fletcher Construction's centenary celebrations (1909-2009) at the Fletcher-built Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The evening featured a visual tour through the company's 100-year history complemented by music through the decades. After an initial performance in the museum foyer by a string quartet playing music from 1909 to 1919, I was commissioned to perform a musical timeline throughout dinner: 1920's music for the entree; 1930's music throughout the main course; and 1940's music during dessert. Each course was preceded by a presentation of the company's achievements down through the years covered by those periods.
The instrument hired for the occasion was a 1909 New York Steinway & Sons Model D Concert Grand piano, which had been transported to the museum in the morning and tuned on site. The 100-year-old Steinway was in top form for its age, with a mature tonal quality and timbre, a crystalline upper register and warm, full bass notes, and delightfully sensitive to touch; overall, a pure delight to play.
Following dessert and the conclusion of my performance, master of ceremonies Nick Tansley and his band The Mod Squad provided dance music from the 1950's to the present day. It was a pleasure working along with Nick and organiser Christina de Boer to contribute to a memorable evening for the nearly 500 guests in attendance at Wellington's magnificent Te Papa venue.
Looking forward to performing on a turn-of-the-century New York Steinway concert grand piano which will be transported to Te Papa for the Fletcher Construction Centennial Anniversary (1909-2009) corporate function on December 5. According to Cameron Crawford of PianoShop, the Steinway was one of two "duelling pianos" played by Wayne Mason and Crawford at Wellington Railway Station at the start of NZ Music Month in May.
I enjoyed performing for the 10th Southern Hemisphere Feltmakers Convergence Fashion Parade at Copthorne Resort Solway Park in Masterton this evening. Very much a wearable-arts type of affair, with a request for music to match the wide variety of styles and themes that were worn by the various models.
This was a challenging gig which kept me on my toes as I was practically improvising and creating music on the spot for each of the 50 models as they appeared, without any warning as to what to expect! For the first time ever I discarded my repertoire as it was no use to me, but judging by feedback during and after my performance, the music was enjoyed very much, and I had a lot of fun!
On 2 May 2009 I had the opportunity to perform at an evening with Sir Howard Morrison for over 150 distinguished guests (including the region’s mayors) at the Kaumatua Ball 2009 held at the Masterton Town Hall. To my great surprise, Sir Howard gave me a standing ovation for my lively interpretation of Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine.” The song had clearly delighted him.
After I had concluded playing for the evening, I had the opportunity to sit and chat with Sir Howard for a while prior to his own performance. I asked Sir Howard whether he was going to be singing later in the evening, to which he replied, “Yes, and I brought along a backing CD, but then I didn’t know they were going to have someone like you playing!”
Sir Howard was being gracious; his backing track was far more suited to his performance than a single piano accompaniment, but I gladly joined the other guests to enjoy what was the highlight of this special occasion.
It was hinted that there may be an opportunity to perform together again in the near future. Sadly, that wasn't to be. Sir Howard Morrison passed away at his Rotorua home on 24 September, aged 74.
Satisifed but tired after a long evening's performance at the Wedding Expo and Wairarapa's 40th Bride of the Year. The show is getting bigger and more popular, with three times as many exhibitors as last year, and 500 in attendance for the Bride of the Year competition. I was feeling quite exhausted afterwards and could have done with the services of a roadie to pack up all my equipment for me!
Had a very successful evening’s performance at Copthorne Resort Solway Park for the NZ Federation of Business and Professional Women's 70th Anniversary and annual conference. Movie themes were very popular. Special guests were MP John Hayes, Masterton Mayor Garry Daniell, South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples and guest speaker Theresa Gattung (once ranked 49 on the Forbes list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women”). They all loved the music. Now looking forward to tomorrow night’s gig!
I have been compiling a repertoire of movie theme music to perform at a corporate function tomorrow night which has movies as its theme. Just added The Godfather Theme (Nino Rota). I was familiar with the tune but don’t recall having ever played it… until a few moments ago. Beautiful tune, now committed to memory, with a refreshing key change in the middle. Remember the theme from A Summer Place (Max Steiner)? I don’t recall ever seeing the film, but the theme music remains one of the most melodic melodies of the 1960’s. The most popular version was recorded by Percy Faith, which earned him a Grammy Award in 1961. A Summer Place was the first movie theme and the first instrumental to win a Record of the Year Grammy.
Andre Mendes da Costa shares news, reviews, and updates.