Hundreds flock to watch jubilee celebrations

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 10/02/2014
Dame Malvina Major
SINGING ROYALTY: Dame Malvina Major performed with Geoff Sewell at the Dame Malvina Major Diamond Jubilee Celebration at the Bowl of Brooklands on Saturday.

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Taking in the "clear as a bell" views of Mt Taranaki were among the first things Dame Malvina Major did after setting foot back in her beloved Taranaki.

A 1000-strong audience gathered under the summer sky at the TSB Bank Bowl of Brooklands for the Dame Malvina Major Diamond Jubilee Celebration on Saturday.

Among the audience were also Dame Malvina's friends and family, out to support the world-class opera singer.

Dame Malvina told the Taranaki Daily News that it "felt amazing" to be back in the region, where she lived for almost 20 years.

The evening also featured artists opera singer Geoff Sewell, Hamilton Country Blue Grass Band, Hogsnort Rupert Band, and the RNZ Air Force and Navy Bands.

"It's also our first big night so I'm a bit nervous," Dame Malvina said. "It's a huge concert."

Dame Malvina arrived in Taranaki on Waitangi Day and spent the day catching up with family.

"It was the most beautiful day," she said.

"The mountain was clear as a bell when we saw it, and I said it was welcoming us."

When Dame Malvina lived in Taranaki, she used to read the weather forecast daily to see if there was a chance for a peek of the mountain.

"I miss doing that," she said. "I also miss the sea and the amazing sunsets."

Bronwen Hedley, of New Plymouth, said Dame Malvina was her "most favourite diva in the world".

Mrs Hedley was out with husband Colin and the pair said tickets were "immediately bought" the moment they heard about the show.

"She has got the most beautiful voice and a warm personality," Mrs Hedley said. "She's a world class singer."

Ivan and Barbara McCracken, of Bell Block, said the evening was a way of "treating themselves".

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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