The Nelson Winter Music Festival is set to brighten the wintry nights of July with concerts that range from the serious to the hilarious.
Festival Director and Nelson School of Music General Manager Frances McElhinney says she's especially thrilled to launch the programme as it is the festival's twentieth anniversary, and it was almost the festival that did not happen.
"We're not in our lovely auditorium, closed for earthquake strengthening and a much needed upgrade, but we're on stage with a wonderful programme that reflects the depth of musical talent in Nelson, plus some winning highlights from out of town," says McElhinney.
"We're staging most of this year's shows at Old St John's, which has magnificent acoustics that will keep our music lovers happy, and will provide a beautiful setting for classical shows like our chamber concert from La Belle Alliance as well as for more contemporary concerts. I know Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashen just can't wait to perform there."
The programme is varied, with a new spin on some of the regulars that people have come to expect from the annual winter celebration of music.
"This year we have Graham Wardrop back, but instead of a ‘covers' concert he is singing his own original music, the Nelson Symphony Orchestra pays tribute to the young composers who died tragically in WWI, and the Silent Movie Night accompanied by The Nelson Jazz Quartet offers the Buster Keaton classic Navigator and late night horror with Dracula for the vampire set."
The festival joins forces with Light Nelson in Jeu Play, being staged in Albion Square. McElhinney says this is a container of strange music-making instruments: "People can perform and interact with a collection of digital instruments made from hacked game controllers and suspended by fluorescent strapping to look like something from a futuristic fitness gym - it's pretty out there."
The Nelson Winter Festival concerts begin on July 12 with the Gala Performance from Tim Beveridge and fellow Pirates of Penzance star, 24-year-old Shaan Antunovich.
Other programme highlights include Made in the NSOM, Pecha Kucha, Poetry Slam, Brendon Dugan & Tony Wellington in a Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison tribute, the City of Nelson Highland Pipe Band, the edgy life of Anita O'Day in Jezebel of Jazz and the circus show With a Stranger at the Theatre Royal.
The first Nelson Winter Music Festival was staged in 1994 to celebrate the centennial of the Nelson School of Music.
This year the Nelson Winter Festival has joined forces with Art Expo Nelson and Light Nelson to attract visitors to Nelson. Nelson Tasman Tourism is leading a campaign that will see bill boards in Wellington and media coverage in major magazines and newspapers.
- Nelson Winter Music Festival, July 11 - 27, full programme out this Friday, ticket bookings at: nelsonwinterfestival.co.nz
- The Nelson Mail
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