Secret tribute for Mr Cowie and his cornet

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2012
New Plymouth brass band members staged a surprise performance for retired life member Stewart Cowie
JONATHAN CAMERON/Fairfax NZ
MEMBERS ONLY: New Plymouth brass band members staged a surprise performance for retired life member Stewart Cowie at New Plymouth’s Telford Rest Home.

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As a young man Stewart Cowie played the horn for a new queen and last night he got his own command performance.

Nine New Plymouth brass band members staged a surprise visit to Telford Rest Home to knock out a few Christmas tunes for their 80-year-old life member.

"It's good of you guys to give up your Christmas to come here," Mr Cowie said from his wheelchair. "Jolly good of you."

As a 19-year-old the retired New Plymouth architect had been good enough to make it into the New Zealand Band that played on the coronation route for the young Queen Elizabeth.

Musical director Leigh Martin said Mr Cowie and his cornet had held the New Plymouth band together for years before retiring about 15 years ago.

Every one of the members who played for Mr Cowie had played with him, wife Evelyn said.

"Except one and she was his nurse up at ward 5," she said before running to his room to fetch newspaper clippings from his date with the Queen.

Telford Rest Home facility manager Martin Hook said the event had been planned in secret by band members. "He had no idea at all. We just wheeled him out and he was completely shocked," Mr Hook said.

He wasn't the only one. A resident called Don wandered out in wonder at what was going on.

"I'm used to having the Highland bands coming and having to give as many as come a glass of whisky," said Don.

"It's a terrifying noise anyway. You needed a whisky."

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