Community's darling does not disappoint

HANNAH FLEMING
Last updated 05:00 26/11/2012

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She looked and sounded like an angel, according to those who witnessed Dame Malvina Major in concert on Saturday night.

The New Zealand opera singer performed at the Egmont Community Art Council's 30th anniversary in Opunake along with three of her proteges, the Coastal Singers and pianist Troy Stevenson.

About 140 people attended the show and art council chairwoman Carol Marshall said it had been a wonderful night.

"The audience reaction was amazing, it was just fantastic," she said.

"Nobody wanted to go home at the end and you know it's been good when nobody wants to go home."

Illness and a slight loss of voice meant Dame Malvina was unable to perform her full repertoire of songs, however, she certainly made up for it at the end, Mrs Marshall said.

"She made our night at the end when she said because of her voice not being 100 per cent, she felt she owed us and said she's going to come back with more students and musicians next year. We were blown away."

Mrs Marshall said she would not have known the singer had been suffering from illness.

"I thought if that's what your voice sounds like when you have a cold, then wow . . . she looked like an angel and she sounded like an angel."

Having the Coastal Singers and Troy Stevenson involved had also been very special, she said.

"I think most of Pihama turned up to support Troy."

There was a real sense of familiarity throughout the show, and Mrs Marshall said it felt like Dame Malvina had truly arrived home.

"There was no huge formality and it was like she was performing for her family.

"They all [the audience] see her as being part of the community still," she said

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