Lisa Crawley will honour her grandpa by singing in The Noel Crawley Memorial Swing Concert on September 26 at Orewa.
The Hibiscus Hospice fundraising event at the Centrestage Theatre from 7.30pm has even more poignancy for her as she used the hospice's services after her boyfriend died of cancer three years ago.
Noel always loved jazz, so Lisa says the family called it "grandpa music". She took a closer interest in jazz while in her later years at Avondale College. The college jazz group travelled to the Monterey Jazz Festival in California. Although new to jazz, Lisa had been playing piano and managed to "sneak" into the band on keyboards. She says the festival had some amazing jazz.
"I had intended doing a career in musical theatre but couldn't afford the overseas course I got into," Lisa says. "So I ended up studying jazz at Auckland University, although I didn't finish the course because I took a job in Japan."
"Songwriting is my passion and no doubt being surrounded by music of all genres, including ‘grandpa music', has influenced me in a big way. I've been lucky to have a very supportive family and hopefully Noel would be proud of me for following my musical dreams."
Lisa says she enjoys the chance to give something back to hospice.
"I have so much respect for the hospice and everything they represent. A lot of people associate the hospice with caring for elderly people in their last stages of life, but their services are so much more that. I've experienced this first-hand, as three years ago my boyfriend was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. The hospice provided an immense amount of support to both Richard and his family, and after he passed away I went to the Hibiscus Hospice for free counselling."
Lisa performed at the West Auckland Hospice "Light Up Hospice" Christmas event last year. "I was blown away by how much the hospice do for the community. They had art classes and all sorts. I love how they celebrate life and how much positivity surrounds the place."
Now living in Pt Chevalier, Lisa had lived in Gulf Harbour and says she often returns to the Hibiscus Coast.
"I love it there. We spent a lot of time there as a family when I was younger. My parents both grew up there, and my auntie, uncle and cousin live in Hatfields Beach."
Lisa is working with a show "White Cloud" at Bats Theatre, a combination of songs and stories written by playwright Ken Duncum and musician Tim Finn. "I'm singing and playing keyboards as part of a fantastic five-piece band, and there are two actors. It's about where we come from and family history. It's a lot of fun and a privilege to be part of."
Lisa has been writing and recording new music too.
She's planning more shows this summer, including some at The Leigh Sawmill Cafe.
"It's one of my favourite places to play."
● The Noel Crawley Memorial Swing Concert on September 26 at Centrestage Theatre, Orewa, 7.30pm features Ray Woolf, Lisa Crawley, Cousin Alice, Celebration All Stars, Mike Walker Trio and the Orewa College Jazz Band. Tickets are $30 from Hibiscus Hospice shops and Lions Clubs in Whangaparaoa and Orewa only, or online at hibiscushospice.org.nz.
Visit stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/culture/performance/7653923/Songs-in-the-key-of-life for the story on White Cloud with Tim Finn.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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