Community spirit key to first Christmas festival

MONICA TISCHLER
Last updated 12:42 06/12/2013
Chur Bo!

SOULFUL TUNES: Members of Chur-Bo!, from left: Former member Mihi Tibble, Nelson Watene, Jacob Gilbert, Jack Gilbert and Johnny Thompson.

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Jack Gilbert and his mates were jamming together in a Ranui shed when a passerby heard them and offered them a gig.

Four years later the band, now known as Chur-Bo!, has travelled the country and is set to release an album Happy Feet next year.

After touring nationwide at gigs and parties, bass player Mr Gilbert and his fellow members are looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd at Ranui's first Christmas in the Domain festival tomorrow.

"We've spent a lot of time playing in Napier and down the country so playing in Ranui will be like playing in our own backyard," Mr Gilbert, 53, says.

The festival was established to bring back the spirit of Christmas to West Auckland families.

Those attending are asked to bring a can of food on arrival to keep the Henderson Salvation Army food banks full during the festive season.

The event will also showcase West Auckland talent including Pacific dance groups and artists.

Food stalls, spot prizes and giveaways are also part of the festival.

Chur-Bo! is comprised of five members including Mr Gilbert, his son and keyboard player Jacob Gilbert, vocalist and guitarist Nelson Watene, drummer Johnny Thompson and lead guitarist Heke Purua.

The reggae roots band members love creating music with soul and R&B tones and have written 16 songs together.

Mr Gilbert lives in Ranui and says love and family are the main inspirations behind writing music.

"I love playing music and getting together with the band. We always start off with having a practice but always end up just having a jam together."

He says "chur bo" is a popular greeting among friends so founding members decided to use it for the band's name.

Festival communications adviser Patricia Davidson says the event is a first for Ranui.

"It aims to bring back the spirit of Christmas to the community," she says.

The festival will take place in the Ranui Domain, 26 Robertson Rd, from 6pm till 9pm.

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