There was wonderful musical entertainment put on every evening at the NZMCA Easter Rally – singers, musicians, and bands. The hall was packed full of campers all out to enjoy themselves, and those who arrived early secured the best seats. But by far the most enjoyable, in our view, was the performer on Thursday evening, Steve McDonald, who kept us enthralled with his Celtic music.
Imagine this – a passionate kilted man, long hair flowing from his cap, putting his heart and soul into his singing and music. Yes, my Scottish blood was completely in tune, and I loved every minute of his performance. This Kiwi born bloke, with proud Scots McDonald blood flowing through his veins, had the whole hall listening to his Celtic songs. And with St Patrick’s Day being celebrated recently, he even obliged with a few Irish songs to keep the green clad brigade in the audience happy.
Playing keyboards and the rather strange looking red instrument, he replicated the sound of bagpipes, drums, guitars as he sang the old songs of Scotland, plus some of his own compositions. I was rather taken with “100 Pipers” and did not know the story behind this song. Written around 1814 the song tells of a force of Scottish soldiers numbering 1000 who swam the Esk river to do battle with the English. The Scots would always have their piper(s) pipe them in to battle, so in a bid to make the English think they were a much larger force, they had 100 pipers blow their war cry. So grand was the sight and sound that the English ran without a single sword being drawn. And just to show that I wasn’t the only one who was smitten – at the end of the show Steve McDonald received a standing ovation – how often does that happen!
There was a “double bill” on offer on Friday evening. First up were Coasters Musical Group who performed a variety of theatre songs, with the highlight of the evening being a rendition Queen’s “Somebody to Love” by a young female soloist. It wasn’t until she performed this number that we realized what a wonderful voice she had – it had been rather hidden away when she was singing with the whole group.
Coasters Musical Group
This group was followed by Gil Mohi, who sung the lovely deep, rich ballads which I love, like those from Elvis, Tom Jones, Engleburt. There is nothing nicer than a passionate love song, is there? And he sung two of my favourites, Save the Last Dance for Me, and ……..Ten Guitars, otherwise known as the New Zealand National Anthem.
Gil Mohi, soloist
Then on Saturday night we were entertained by the Andrew London trio. And he was joined on stage with Wayne Mason, of “Nature” fame, on keyboards – this song was voted No.1 in a list of the Top 100 New Zealand Songs of All Time. The evening was full of jazz, blues and country, as well as some rather amusing original numbers written by Andrew, including one about his daughter's scary new boyfriend. As I sat listening to the music, I become aware that “someone” was tapping in time on my posterior! The bloke sitting behind me had one leg crossed over his knee, and his foot was moving in time to beat, through the back of my chair onto my rear. Once I had turned around and asked him to stop patting my bottom, he hastily desisted! No photos of this musical evening as we were late getting to the hall and had awful seats on an angle to the stage – a good reason not to arrive late!
There was a “Dressed up to the Nines in your Best Bling” evening scheduled for Sunday evening, but we decided to go out to the local Cossie Club for dinner instead. Fellow campers Geoff and Eileen joined us too. We all chose pork for our meal, and very tasty it was too. This was our last evening of the Rally, and after the short Closing Ceremony on Monday morning, it was time to pack up and head for home. By the time we were ready later in the morning, just about half the camp had departed, obviously keen to get on the road and away. What a great Easter Rally – we caught up with old friends from earlier years, and met and chatted to some interesting people who had come from from all around the country to attend the rally.