Whisper is music to organiser's ears

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 12:00 05/05/2014

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Fears the popular Mayday Concert could be lost to The Regent on Broadway next year eased with a simple whisper in the ear of its organiser.

Concert co-ordinator Dion Martin said the evening of song and dance on Saturday would continue to be held at the theatre again next year after the promise of funding to keep it going was made to him by Unions Manawatu convener John Shennan during the show.

The concert is a unions-organised event to mark International Workers' Day - the eight-hour working day reform fought for in the 19th century - and acknowledges those who have, throughout the decades, fought for better wages and working conditions.

It has been running for 20 years but on Saturday there was no sign of the event going stale, Martin said.

"It was amazing actually, it seemed like it was mostly full in the bottom half.

"There were at least 600, perhaps 700 people there, which is definitely up on last year and previous years." A highlight of the night was the bringing together of two "sister" choirs - the 90 members of the Wellington Community Choir and the 35 members of the Manawatu Community Choir - which filled the stage with colour and voice, Martin said.

"The whole place was moving and shaking."

Tasmania's The Devils Own, led by Peter Hicks, was another favourite with the crowd but it was Derailed, a talented five-piece group made up of musicians from the Rail and Maritime Union, that took out the May Day Cup. Martin said before Saturday's show they were contemplating scaling it down next year or even putting it into recess for a while.

"We had people coming up to us telling us to carry on with it.

"It's clearly become a bit of an institution and it's pleasing for us to hear that sort of message from the people that come every year."

Being an election year, this year's concert featured a lot of "political stuff", Martin said.

He said it was good to see youth participating in the concert and not being apathetic towards politics.

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- Manawatu Standard

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