World–renowned soprano Dame Malvina Major
joins special guests, Geoff Sewell, the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band, Hogsnort Rupert and the RNZ Air Force Band for outdoor summer shows in February/March 2014.
In 2014 Dame Malvina Major (ONZ, GNZM, DBE) celebrates 60 years as one of the world’s top opera singers. Her role developing artists like Hayley Westenra
via her Foundation (launched in 1991) has seen her come full circle from the early days where the Hamilton-born singer received classical lessons from Dame Sister Mary Leo (who also taught Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
!) and later, Ruth Packer from the Royal College of Music.
In 1963 Malvina won the NZ Mobil Song Quest, in 1965 the Australian Melbourne Sun-Aria, and in 1966, the prestigious London based Kathleen Ferrier Award. She has performed in more than 30 opera roles in their original languages, recorded numerous albums and performed internationally at the pyramids in Egypt with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, for royalty, at a charity concert for Vera Lynn and at the BBC concert broadcast in London, amongst others.
In 1991 Malvina won the New Zealand Entertainer of the Year and in 1998 was awarded the Benny, The Variety Club of New Zealand’s highest lifetime achievement award. She has received Honorary Doctorates from both Waikato and Massey Universities. Malvina is a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) and a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (PCNZM) for her contributions to opera (later exchanged for Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit). In the Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours List 2001, Dame Malvina Major was appointed to the Order of New Zealand (ONZ).
London based New Zealander Geoff Sewell is an internationally successful tenor and multi-platinum selling recording star. He was one of the creators and founding member of the international sensation Amici Forever - a classical-crossover sensation and the world's first multi-platinum selling opera band, who reached over two and a half million sales worldwide with their debut album The Opera Band (2003) and their follow-up Defined (2005). His 2008 debut solo album, Believe was released to acclaim and chart success. In 2009, after a sell-out tour of NZ with five other international stars from his hugely successful company Incognito Artists, Geoff released Geoff Sewell and Incognito Artists - Live in Concert DVD which charted at number one.
Hamilton County Bluegrass Band exploded into the New Zealand Folk and Country music scene in 1968 and is still one of NZ’s best loved groups. They featured on the TVNZ show the Country Touch, toured Australia with the Slim Dusty Show and more recently performed at the Redlands Bluegrass Festival in Brisbane and at the American River of Music Party International Bluegrass Festival.
Hogsnort Rupert originally formed in 1969 (as the Hogsnort Rupert's Original Flagon Band) and are one of the greatest all-time Kiwi bands, best known for their humorous music which includes several chart singles and the number one hits Pretty Girl.
The Royal NZ Air Force Band is NZ’s largest and only full symphonic band. It made its public debut in 1937, leading a procession through Wellington to mark the coronation of King George VI. Based in Wellington, the band takes part in State and ceremonial events providing music for openings of Parliament, Guards of Honour, royal visits, official functions plus community and charity events.