In 2016 the NZ Opera School had great pleasure in welcoming Dame Kiri to the School. Dame Kiri spent four days with us viewing the work in progress, giving a public masterclass and a public interview of her life an international singer. She was also interviewed on the stage of the Prince Edward Auditorium by long-time friend and international opera singer Rodney Macann. Dame Kiri also attended the:
Great Opera Moments 2016
in the Royal Wanganui Opera House and the accompanying cocktail and post-performance celebrations and taking pleasure in presenting the Dame Sister Mary Scholarship award to Eliza Boom. This was the third time the Scholarship had been awarded to a student from the School.
An early rise for her on the final day and I saw her on her way from our airport to Auckland for an interview with Maori TV then straight on to the airport for a flight to London.
All in all the School was most successful.
Good to hear that the Positive Pipe Organ I obtained for the Westmere Presbyterian Church was now installed and playing. Well done to Garth Stevenson for completing installation the job. I was invited to ‘have a look during the School and was amazed to find on arrival the entire compliment of the Kirk Session assembled to hear the first playing. It sounded very good and nicely sweet-toned. We all gathered round and sang ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’. What a friend indeed!!
This organ started its life in the Seamen’s Mission in Wellington. It was then used for many years by a church in Lower Hutt before being acquired by the Rev Bruce Thompson of Auckland and stored for many years in the tower of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Karangahape Road in Auckland.
Bruce was looking for a home for it and when I raised Westmere with him he happily donated it. Thank you Bruce and thank you to David Bennett and a Whanganui relative of David’s with a big covered trailer and the chaps who helped form a chain to carry it piece by piece down the narrowest winding staircase I have ever seen.
Travelled back to Auckland and always good to be home following the intensive days at OS. Little did I know at this stage that this would be my last return journey to Auckland following the School after 22 years of making the ‘to and from’ journey.
2016 what a year. I guess the upheaval commenced with David Bennett suggesting that it was time I returned to live in Whanganui. That and a flyer in my West Tamaki letterbox offering to value my home of 36 years prompted action. I never thought the home would sell in 5 days. With a 17 year old Whanganui home in sight, offer made and accepted and it was all over so 5th May 2016 it all became a done deal and I was moving on the 6th. I never realised I had gathered SO much stuff over the years. Now is the time to reduce STUFF.
All the furniture, personal possessions, clothes, files masses of books, CDs etc etc and three cars transported or driven to Whanganui.
And here is a portion of the new home:
Architect designed and beautifully built of permanent low maintenance materials (by retired farmers Allan and Valerie Allison) this place was not what I had in mind but, ‘hey’, at my time of life do I want to have the business of doing up a dwelling that needs a lot of attention (repairs, rotting timbers, refurbishing, painting etc) rather than focusing on more important artistic and community activities? Right choice I believe, we will see.