It was impossible to sit through the final performance of Joseph in Blenheim on Saturday night and not be caught up in the energy and life of the production.
It was bright, loud and fun.
Standing ovations at these final nights are almost expected, deserved or not, simply as a show of support from the hometown audience. But the ovation on Saturday night was well earned by everyone on stage and "in the wings", from young leading man Hadley Anderson to the kids in the choir who concentrated from the first lines to the last.
I've seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at least 30 times in various formats. The first was in a freezing cold hall in the 1970s when a group of students from another school did a few songs for us, which I realised years later was the original, short version of the musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Directors seem to like Joseph because they can do anything with it. One production I saw was set like a round of the US Open golf. It worked well.
The judges have ruled that the pictures taken by junior photographers at the Marlborough Express during the past five years have been the best in the country.
Every junior photographer working for a newspaper gets to enter the annual Canon Media Awards and ours have stood on the podium for half a decade.
I know you probably read this on Monday but editors don't often get to gloat.
The four photographers do get most of the credit for the awards. It is their timing to be on the spot, their "eye" and their technical skill with stuff like aperture and shutter speed that gets the image in the camera.
A caller last week wanted to know why four of the major funders for the new civic theatre in Blenheim were pulling out of the project.
The theatre was obviously in financial trouble, the woman said, and wanted to know why the theatre trust wouldn't just front up with some answers, admit the whole thing was a failure and stop work.
What could the Express do to get some honest answers out of the trust, she asked.
These are not the first reports like this to reach us. The caller didn't know where they were coming from but said she had heard them from several people.
I explained that we have checked several times and have been told that the rumours are wrong.
This business of people not turning up at hospital for surgery seems pretty serious. And a waste of money.
The wait for elective surgery is usually so long, you would think no-one would want to miss their allotted time. But apparently they do.
One of our reporters went to a session with the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board last week to find out about their programme called Tpot, (The Productive Operating Theatre Programme) which has been pulled together to make the whole surgical system more efficient at Wairau and Nelson hospitals. The theatres cost about $3000 an hour to run, so any down time is money being wasted.
One problem the board people talked about was people not turning up for their surgery and not letting the hospital know they won't be coming, so another person can have that theatre time.
One of my regular callers had something to say about that, because it seemed to be putting the blame on the patient. People worried about an illness, worried about the surgery or who were just forgetful, needed a call a day or two before the surgery as a check, she said, and a reminder about no eating and those sorts of things.
Many fine products come out of Marlborough, mostly in the food and beverage lines.
Wine is obvious. Just look around and see what's growing everywhere.
There's also beer, with a rapidly rising reputation for our people producing some of the best craft brews in the country.
Companies such as Prenzels also produce a range of drinks that add to the region's store.
On the food front, there's a good range of products, starting with the wide variety of seafood, from farmed salmon, mussels and oysters, through to olives, cherries and other fruit. The region is soundly grounded in the business of growing and processing stuff we put in our mouths. A few companies like NZ Extracts are also making major headway refining byproducts from other industries, such as grapeseeds.
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