September to December 2019

Hi Folks

Well here we are at the end of another year. They just fly by so quickly. We would like to thank all our fans for the support you have shown during the year. There have been one or two challenges along the way and we thank you for your understanding and best wishes. We are looking forward to 2020 and getting back into the swing of things and being able to entertain you all once again. Before we head into Christmas and the New Year we must catch up on our gigs since our last newsletter.

On the 14 of September we headed to Te Awamutu to be a part of the Branded Spring Hoe Down organised by Keith Willis. We were performing on the Saturday night Showcase at the Te Awamutu Sport and Recreation Club. A good number of Motor Homers had turned out for the weekend and on Friday night were entertained by wellknown New Zealand country artist Donna Dean supported by Doug Erutoe, Char Puriri, George and Jocelyn, Robin Durbin, Donna Saunders and Lynn Edwards. Joining us on Saturday night were Dennis August, En-Tranzet, Keinan Ngapo, Derek and Lyn Evans, Renee Strawbridge, Maysen Mitchell, Rererangi Twaddell and Anita Smith. It was a great night, fantastic band, fantastic artists and a fantastic audience. Thank you Keith and Heather for inviting us to perform. We had a blast and it was so nice to catch up with so many entertainers we don’t get to see that often. Nice to once again catch up with Nancy and Lloyd Muller and two of my old work mates  George Blakely, who now Motor homes around the countryside and Erkie Erceg and his wonderful wife Viv who now live in Taumaranui. Hopefully we will see you all at another of Keith’s Branded Festivals. He did mention that he may have to start them on the Thursday as they are becoming so popular. Well done to you Keith and all your helpers. Excellent weekend.

On the 4th and 5th of October I was lucky enough to be invited to be a part of the NZCMA (New Zealand Country Music Association) Entertainer of the Year Awards 40th anniversary celebrations held in Tauranga. Before I get started on how the weekend celebrations went I will try to give you a brief history of how the awards first began. Country music has been one of the most popular music genres in New Zealand since the days of the Tumbleweeds and Tex Morton. However, most organised country music clubs didn’t become established until the early 1970’s an example being the club which Annette and I have been past members of, the Whangarei

Country Music Club which celebrated its 45th birthday this year. Many more clubs soon became established across the whole of New Zealand and from there local regions began to have competitions or awards. One of these being the Napier City CMC, which was also founded in the mid 1970’s by Jim Toner a Scottish immigrant who arrived in New Zealand in 1974. Jim is the father of the well-known and very successful country group The Toner Sisters ( Lynne, Celine and Adrienne). Country music clubs were flourishing and a central organisation the “New Zealand Country Music Association” was established which country music clubs all over New Zealand could become affiliated to and from there their members could enter the awards circuit which Annette and her sisters were doing at that time. They were very young. In 1979, Jim Toner, put forward the idea of having one major awards event for all overall winners of the Regional awards to compete at and so the “Entertainer of the Year Awards” were born. Now here we are 40 years later. Annette and I are lucky enough to have been finalists in these prestigious awards both as solo artists and as our duo act. Congratulations NZCMA.

Friday night was a Black Tie meet and greet event with a mix of past award winners and participants and some of New Zealand country music legends. With most taking the opportunity to perform a couple of songs each with the band and watching a very well put together video and photo slide show of past E.O.Y. performances through the years. Yes, some classy clothes and hair styles from back in the day. It was such a great night and wonderful to catch up with so many talented entertainers and friends in country music. These included Mike McCarthy, Chet and Melissa O’Connell, Dennis Marsh, Dennis August and Gaylene Brennan, Marian Burns and Phil Sinclair, Brendan Dugan, Brian and Sally Burgess, Neil McKenzie-Hall, Robert and Pam Antonio, Robyn and Millie Eltringham, Jesse and Jane, Lance Murch, Shane Reha, Kevin and Kay Tappin, Geoff Herewini, Nick and Tracey-Marie Huia. Congratulations must go to Michael and Ashley Tipping and their committee for organising such an awesome night. Well done.

Saturday saw two great shows to find the 2019 EOY Senior, Intermediate, Junior and Veteran and the 2019 Songwriter of the Year. Guest artist for the matinee show was 1989 EOY winner Dennis Marsh and for the evening show the ever popular Topp Twins.

Also during the weekend celebrations the NZCMA presented life achievement awards to Marian Burns, Dennis Marsh, Brendan Dugan and the Topp Twins Lynda and Jools and the NZCMA Service Award to Merv and Sharon MacInteer a most deserved award indeed congratulations Merv and Sharon for your many years of dedication to New Zealand country music.
Congratulations also to each and every contestant that performed during the weekend. Each section would have been very close. If you didn’t already know here are the finals results.

Overall Winner – Sophie Toyne
Runner Up – Jackson Austin

Overall Winner – Jasmine Tilyard
Runner Up – Asra Ginders

Overall Winner – Arthur Pumipi
Runner Up – Alison Flavell

Overall Winner – Ngarangi Sadlier
Runner Up – Cherie Sinclair

Overall Winner – Jaydin Shingleton
Runner Up – Cherie Sinclair

On Saturday 12th October we were joined by two legends of New Zealand country music, Brendan Dugan and Dennis Marsh who graciously gave their time and talents to help raise funds for the Whangarei Special Olympics. It was a sell out crowd with standing room only at the Kamo Club with some hardy souls traveling from Dargaville and as far away as Auckland and were treated to a fantastic show from two great entertainers. We cannot thank Dennis and Brendan enough for their generosity and support and look forward to working with them both again in the near future. Also thank you to our good friend the very talented Carleen Still for sharing a song with us on the day. Much appreciated Carleen. Congratulations to the winner of the beautiful Ukulele donated and auctioned off by Dennis to raise a few extra dollars for the cause. All in all an awesome day that raised over $3800-00 for the Special Olympics.
A big thank you must go to the sponsors and supporters that helped make the day possible; Dicksons Transport and Quarries, the Kamo Club for the afternoon tea, the Whangarei Special Olympics Committee for their input and support, Susan Marsh and Noeline Copedo for putting out flyers in Whangarei and Dargaville, Yvonne Lilley from Magic Music radio station for the on air advertising, plus generous donations of raffle items and to you the audience that made it such a fantastic day. Thank you so much.

We would also like to take a moment to recognise the recent achievements by Dennis in the New Zealand music industry. Dennis recently recorded his 30th album “Garden Party” which went Gold and for which he became a finalist in the 2019 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards Highest Selling Artist of the Year category. He was also awarded the Te Mata o te Ariki – Special Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to New Zealand music at the 2019 Matariki Awards and the 2019 “Benny Award” from the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand. Congratulations from us all Dennis.

On Wednesday the 4th and Friday the 6th December we played our last gigs for 2019. Wednesday saw us at the Kamo Club Dance Sections Christmas Break-up. It was another great night with these dance-aholics plus some pre Christmas fun and games. We always enjoy “pass the parcel” and the traditional Maxina and supper Waltz dances. Next year they will be celebrating their 20th birthday and I hear plans are already afoot for a big weekend. Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for more details. Friday night we were at the Whangarei RSA where another great crowd had come along to sing and dance the night away. Great to catch up with friends Des and Sharon all the way from Dargaville, Yvonne, Jo and Maureen the Line Dance experts and our good friend Chris. Such a pleasure to play for these folk and I guess the next time we see you all may be in the new RSA premises. Hopefully we will be able to be a part of the opening weekend celebrations. If not ourselves then maybe our Aussie mates. Look forward to seeing you all then.

On that note.Just to give you all a heads up on some exciting happenings next year we have been arranging some performances in Northland for our Aussie friends Allan Webster, Bidge Boyd and Alby Poole following their appearances at the World renowned “Bay of Islands Country Rock Festival” in May 2020. So far we have confirmed two shows at the Kamo Club on Wednesday the 13th  May and Saturday the 16th May and one night at the Whangarei RSA on Friday the 15th May. We hope to get one more in the North for them and hopefully a couple of appearances in the Auckland area. All three are very highly regarded in the Australian country music industry and they have been involved in the country music scene for many years and are very talented country music singer/songwriters that play a variety of music to suit all tastes. We look forward to having them here and entertaining our Kiwi audiences. Early in 2020 we will be in New Plymouth for the Egmont Country Music Festival and then in March we will be in Dunedin for the Silverpeaks CMC Hoe Down weekend. We are really looking forward to these two shows. Maybe we will see you there.

Well, that’s about it from us. Once again thank you all for your support in 2019 have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year and look after yourselves. And remember to keep it country.

Best wishes

Annette & Kim