Country's golden idol strikes a higher note

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2013
Southland Times photo
TERRI RUSSELL/Fairfax NZ
Gore Country Music Club past and present members under Gore's famous Gold Guitar statue after it was put on permanent display yesterday.

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About 40 people watched and applauded as Gore's famous Gold Guitar statue was lifted 20 metres in the air by a crane to its new home yesterday.

The 7.5-metre tall Gold Guitar statue used to be on display in the lead-up to the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards but lost its spot after the town's 1999 main street upgrade and has been in storage since.

The Gore Country Music Club was last year given the green light by Gore District Council to put the guitar on permanent display outside its clubrooms at The Longford Function Centre.

Gore Country Music Club members' representative Alan Ritchie said he could tick it off the bucket list of things to do for the club.

"As the members' representative, that's been the biggest thing I've been asked about.

"It's just a pity some of the original members are no longer with us. We've done it for them," he said.

Life member John Mackenzie and past member Neil McVicar were part of the group that first put the guitar on display in 1988.

The pair helped display the guitar each year for the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards until the main street was upgraded in 1999.

After all these years it was great to see it up again, they said.

Club building committee chairman Ken Scott said it was a great accomplishment to see the guitar standing after so many years in storage.

"Now that it's up, I hope people will come to the clubrooms to see it," he said.

The guitar was fibreglassed and waterproofed in 2004 after a fire ripped through the clubrooms, so it was expected to withstand wet weather.

The guitar will be on display during this year's 40th anniversary of the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards, which runs May 30 to June 2.

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- The Southland Times

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