Last Night of the Proms
LAST NIGHT OF THE
BRUCE MASON CENTRE 19/20 June 2004
THE AUCKLAND SYMPHONY
Conducted by Gary Daverne O.N.Z.M.
THE NORTH SHORE CITY
100 VOICE CHORALE
Conducted by Leonie Lawson N.Z.C.M.
Reviewed by Jane
Orchestra – Conductor: Gary Daverne, in rehearsal
at the Bruce Mason Centre, for the LAST NIGHT of the PROMS with The
Doran-Gregory Irish Dancers. Photo by Neil Shepherd
Not one empty seat in a theatre that seats around 1200 people.
Two performances, sold out, five weeks prior to the performances.
An audience came with their flags, their hooters and their whistles. They
sang, clapped, stood and swayed, waving their arms, and flags. They dressed
up, some painted their faces, the Pearlies were
there, in full costume, but most of all they came to be involved, have fun
and participate in a total over the top extravaganza.
The orchestra, of some 80 players, was on the stage with the choir and
shadow conductor seated in front.
The large choir, of some 140, was in fine voice, responding wonderfully to
their guest replacement conductor, Leonie Lawson. >
The Auckland Symphony Orchestra were in top form, playing at their best, as
was their founder and music director/conductor, Gary Daverne.
He also presented, from the podium, the total performance. What stage
presence this man has.
In the second half, the orchestra and choir, added to the spectacle by
displayed their red, white and blue colours, in the form of coloured wigs,
hats, flags and tinsel.
The whole event was a musical spectacle, with brilliant stage lighting,
effects, projected pictures and images, along with words to the songs for
the audience to join in, as they did with exuberance. Stage manager, Steve
Pipes, must take much of the credit, along with his technical, backstage
The three vocal soloists, Madeleine Bruce-Wright, John Stanley and Wayne Daverne, did themselves proud.
The pipes and drums of the City of Sails Pipe Band, with Pipe Major, Bent Ballantyne, and Charlotte, the young sword dancer, were
the expected hit.
‘Highland Cathedral’ is a magical musical number, pipes, drums and
orchestra all together.
The big surprise for the audience was the Irish Dancers, in ‘Lord of the
Dance’. as there was no mention of the dancers on
Two dancers started out on a cat-walk behind a gauze screen, at the back of
the orchestra, with smoke and subdued, silhouetted lighting. The numbers of
dancers increased to a straight line of 13. The tempo changed, the screen
lifted and the taps were away. Spectacular choreography especially the hand
and arm movements. The noise of the taps at times over powered, the not too
quiet, orchestra. The audience was stunned so much that they forgot to clap
with the music as they usually do. Well done, The Doran – Gregory Irish
Encored of course, with clapping.
During ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, the balloons and tickertape fell from the
ceiling. The audience had been given streamers at the interval. What a
thrill to see all these mature people acting like children. Popping
balloons, throwing streamers, have so much fun and pleasure.
Thousands of united, happy people. Very rare and very special.
Thank you, Bruce Mason Centre. Thank you all those involved.
The programme presented was.
1. God save the Queen with Fanfare
2. Youth of Britain - Eric Coates
3. The Heavens are Telling - Hadyn
4. Tarantara (Pirates of Penzance) - Gilbert and
5. Trumpet Tune and Air – Purcell
6. The Day of Aranga - Gary Daverne
7. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
8. We’ll Keep a Welcome -
9. Flower of Scotland
10. Colonel Bogey
11. The Yeomen of England
12. Men of Harlech
13. Lord of the Dance
1. Highland Cathedral
2. Scottish Medley
3. James Bond 007 Theme
4. When I'm 64 - Beatles
5. Love Changes Ev’rything (Aspects of Love) -
6. Lloyd Webber Celebration - Herod – JC Superstar
7. Go Go Go Joseph -
8. Sailors Hornpipe
9. Rule Britannia
10. Land of Hope and Glory (Pomp and Circumstance No. 1)
12. Now is the Hour.
13. You’ll Never Walk Alone
MATAKANA TURNS OUT, AUCKLAND SYMPHONY TRIUMPHS
A FAMILY CONCERT - ACCENT OF YOUTH
By Lynette Urlich
Matakana Primary School Hall came alive with the
playful wit of conductor Gary Daverne and the
Auckland Symphony Orchestra on the afternoon of Saturday May 8th.
Having missed the concert at the Town Hall last week, (and the performance
at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna on the 9th
being sold out) I determined I was NOT going to miss this one, and it was
well worth the one and a half hour drive from Auckland.
I didn’t expect the big turn out – in fact, I had
fears I might be relegated to “standing room only” on the deck outside the
hall. Thanks to the charity of the lady on the door, I made it inside.
(Next year I’m calling ahead)
The programme, devoted entirely to our youth, was vibrant and fun. It began
with Eric Coates’s ‘Youth of Britain’. (The third movement of Coates’s ‘The
Three Elizabeth’s’) I sat enthralled, with tears in my eyes, and visions of
England’s fatherless children of the war years going through my mind.
Despite the hardships of war, there was joy and laughter.
The Children’s Overture by Roger Quilter. Based on children’s nursery
rhymes including, Girls and Boys Come Out to Play, I Saw Three Ships, Sing
a Song of Sixpence, Baa Baa Black Sheep and Here
We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, it brought to mind play grounds brimming
with children and mothers bathing babies. Sweet memories of bathing my own
The highlight of this concert was definitely Havanaise
by Camille Saint-Saëns, with 15 year old, solo violinist, Amalia Hall. Intricate in parts, Saint-Saëns would be
well pleased with Amalia’s treatment of his work.
Amalia displays a maturity and an extraordinary
sensitivity unusual in one so young. An international prize winner, she has
played with this orchestra and others frequently since age. I know we will
hear so much more from her in the future.
Amalia graced us with an encore – ‘Hot Canary’ by
Paul Nero. Light and slightly jazzy, the kids enjoyed its playfulness.
Fun and laughter followed as Mr. Daverne led us
through a tour of the orchestra, introducing each family of instruments
along the way. Henry Purcell’s Rondo served well as the vehicle.
Informative for the uninitiated in orchestral music and undoubtedly
inspiring for the musically inclined. Music is fun, the message well
The Overture ‘Youth of Auckland’ by conductor Gary Daverne
followed. Commissioned by the Auckland Secondary Schools’ Youth Orchestra
in 1986, Mr. Daverne’s composition evokes
thoughts of young people together – playing team sports, racing horses
across hilltops, laughing, loving life, learning – always together. It’s an
ideal given voice and brought to life. Conducted this time by assistant
conductor Jonathon Baker.
Bob Lowden’s arrangement of ‘Disney Magic’ came next and I believe every
adult present sat recalling holiday afternoons in cinemas with snifters and
ice creams, just as I did. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah (Song of the South), Candle on the Water (Pete’s
Dragon), Chim Chim
Cher-ee, (Mary Poppins),
A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,(Cinderella), and It’s a Small World,
(Disneyland Attraction) were all included.
All fidgeting came to a stop when music from the Harry Potter film by movie
veteran John Williams was played. Young and old alike laughed at the witchy
pianist (late again) and gasped at the HUGE toy rat. As one of the very few
people who have NEVER seen a Harry Potter movie, I resolved within the
first 16 bars what my Mother’s Day treat would be. Visions of witches on
broomsticks, villains and spells gone wrong abounded while the orchestra
played and I can’t wait to see the films.
We all hoped for an encore, and we got one. THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO! Just the right note to close on, rousing, strong and
still youthful after nearly 40 years.
Everyone in the hall, orchestra and conductor included, had a wonderful
time. For many it was their first experience of live orchestral music and
they were suitably impressed. Their chatter as we reluctantly left the hall
was evidence of that. Just as our treasured childhood memories endure, this
concert will endure also.
Hopefully, with support, the Auckland Symphony Orchestra will return to Matakana. I for one wouldn’t miss it.
Fiona Mannington (piano), winner of the Vodaphone
Silver Ferns, By Day By Night - Make a Wish Come True, competition,
playing with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne, to a capacity audience, at the Bruce Mason
Centre, Takapuna, 24 November 2002.
Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne
accordion soloist Kevin Friedrich - peforming
"Gem of the Kaipara" by Gary Daverne
Bruce Mason Center, Sunday 12 May, 2002
17 May 2002
"Gem of the Kaipara" World Premiere a
Major Success - Contributed by Lionel Reekie
...from International News - Accordions Worldwide (The largest Accordion
Internet Site in the World)
New York based accordionist Kevin Friedrich and the Auckland Symphony
Orchestra strings presented the world premiere of "Gem of the Kaipara" for solo accordion, string orchestra and
percussion, composed by Gary Daverne last weekend
to a completely sold-out audience in Dargaville,
Written as a musical tribute to the late Jenny Cocurullo,
long time accordion and arts supporter and Life Member of the New Zealand
Accordion Association, the premiere of "Gem of the Kaipara"
received a standing ovation. At the request of the concert organizers, the
work was played a second time and received another standing ovation.
Jenny had always promoted the Kaipara region of New
Zealand as the gem of the north, however, she was in turn considered the Gem
of the Kaipara, thus the title of the new work by
Gary Daverne which was commissioned by the Kaipara District Council.
Kevin, President of the Confederation Internationale
des Accordeonistes (CIA), presented a series of
three concerts as guest soloist with Gary Daverne
and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, one of New Zealand's largest Symphony
orchestras with over 80 members. Performing in both Auckland and Dargaville utilizing his talents as an exponent of the
button and piano accordion, Kevin also performed "Rhapsody for Accordion
Orchestra" (Gary Daverne) on bayan and "Gem of the Kaipara"
for accordion and string orchestra on piano accordion.
Performing to a combined audience of over 3,000 people, the well received
concerts provided great exposure for the accordion as well as presenting an
exciting new accordion/orchestral work by world renowned composer and
conductor of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Gary Daverne.
15 May 2002
"Around the World" Captivates Audience
...from the Dargaville & Districts News
Saturday nights "Gem of the Kaipara"
concert captivated the 440 people who crammed Dargaville's
Town Hall and has also drawn high praise from visiting musicians from the Auckland
The programme Around the World in 80 Minutes
ranged from classical through to the Star Trek Theme, but the highlight was
the world premiere of "Gem of the Kaipara"
composed by the orchestra's conductor, Gary Daverne,
in memory of the late Jenny Cocurullo.
This featured locally born virtuoso accordionist Kevin Friedrich, who also
played with the orchestra during Rhapsody for Accordion and Orchestra also
composed by conductor, Gary Daverne.
"Gem of the Kaipara" gained a standing
ovation and was played twice, the second time supplemented by a PowerPoint
presentation showing scenic features of the Kaipara
plus a number of pictures of Mrs. Cocurullo.
Members of the audience spoken to, were unanimous in
praise both for the concert and commissioned work.
14 May 2002
...from the Kauri Coast Advocate
Hundreds of Kaipara folk are still misty eyed after
Saturday night's memorable and ground-breaking concert by the Auckland
Symphony Orchestra in Dargaville.
Expatriate Kaipara local and world renowned
accordionist, Kevin Friedrich peformed as soloist
for the haunting piece by ASO conductor Gary Daverne,
"Gem of the Kaipara" which was written
and played as a tribute to his friend, the late Jenny Cocurullo.
The orchestra's performance, bringing the glittering world of music to Dargaville, brought the house down.
1 May 2002
Tickets Rushed... demand exceeds seating availability
...from the Dargaville & Districts News
Demand for tickets at the Auckland Symphony Orchestra's "Gem of
the Kaipara" concert on May 11 in Dargaville, has totally outstripped supply despite an
extra 100 tickets being made available. These were snapped up and there was a
waiting list of more than 70.
Organizers were overwhelmed by the response and also at the local generosity
of the community by raising more than $10,000 that allowed the concert to be
The concert is the third special event organized by the Kaipara
District Council in line with its policy of putting on a major event in Dargaville each year.
PRESS REVIEW. North Shore Times 12 July 2001
Clackers, whistles and bobbies, a symphony of fun in Takapuna.
Last weekend the Bruce Mason Centre was certainly the place to be if you
enjoy fantastic music and entertainment.
You would be forgiven if you thought the Brits had come to town – there were
Pearly Kings & Queens, - many sequined bowler hats, London Bobbies,
clackers, whistles and all the paraphernalia that goes with the traditional
Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Two full houses were treated to
incredible performances from the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by
Gary Daverne O.N.Z.M. and the North Shore City 100
Voice Choral joined by another 100 ‘friends’ from associated choirs.
Balloons cascaded from the ceiling and the audience were showered with
streamers as the 1700 strong crowd joined with the choirs to the resounding
chorus of “Rule Britannia” waving British and New Zealand flags
patriotically. All age groups had an unforgettable time and it was evident
that the Proms will be an event not to miss next year when they return to the
Bruce Mason Centre.
Gary Daverne – world-renowned conductor commented
that in all his years of conducting he had never experienced such an
enthusiastic and responsive audience. He said it was the most memorable and
enjoyable highlight in his conducting career and looks forward to the Last
Night of the Proms next year.
3 July 2001
I must compliment you on your selection of material for the Proms concerts. I
never imagined how much fun the performances would be - it was a blast (loved
every minute of it).
Thank you so much.Bobby
11 July 2001
"How lucky North Shore residents were this last Sunday to have the
opportunity to reminisce with “Old England”.
This last weekend at the Bruce Mason Centre.“ The
Last Night of the Proms” was presented by Gary Daverne
and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra along with Margot Lloyd’s 100 Voice
Chorale plus friends. What a splendid party was had by all. .......
Thanks to Gary, the Conductor and master of Ceremonies, for presenting such a
memorable show which I am sure brought wonderful memories to those of us you
enjoy such musical traditions. Let’s make this an annual festival -
30 June 2001
From Lew and I (and I am sure all who were at the Bruce Mason tonight 30
June) thank you from the bottom of our hearts for a fantastic experience.
We loved every minute of it! Take care - "congratulations to all
involved on a job magnificently done"
Lew and Marilyn
01 July 2001
The show last evening was wonderful. Please make it an Annual Musical Event.
The choir was awesome, so many voices. Orchestra superb as usual.
Congratulations, you make it all look so easy, but can imagine the
organization with so many performers.Joanne and
05 July 2001
"Capacity audiences, all with their whistles, hooters, flags, patriotic
hats, costumes and flags. They stood, they sang, they swayed and waved their
flags and arms over their heads, some even danced. When the 1000 balloons
dropped, the audience went even wilder. Streamers were thrown.
A real musical party. One could not help getting involved, being part of it
and enjoying themselves to the max. The atmosphere was electric.
What a wonderful, exciting feeling."
2 July 2001
Dear Gary Daverne
We just had to put pen to paper to once again say thank you for a most entertaining
afternoon yesterday. Everything was excellent. It’s so lovely at a concert
like that we become one big happy family.
Music you had chosen was so easy to listen to and enjoy. The orchestra was
superb and the choice so very good. All this made us the audience just want
to sing our hearts out.
Your soloists had such wonderful voices.
We will be keeping our eyes open next year for when hopefully you will have
another last Night of the Proms. I’m sure tickets will sell even faster than
they did this year.
Thanks once again from all of us
on behalf of the Pearly Group
06 July 2001
I always thought the "Last Night of the Proms" concerts a bit silly
when I watched them on TV (and it's not my favourite music either) but being
involved in one, I can now see the point. What I enjoyed best about the
concert was driving away afterwards and seeing groups of grown adults walking
down the road to their cars waving flags, holding balloons and wearing silly
hats. And they hadn't even been drinking! When I came back over the Harbour
Bridge on Sunday evening, I passed a minibus with 'Roskill
Masonic Lodge' written on it, and inside it was full of little old ladies
waving British flags and still enjoying themselves!
Cheers, >Olwyn Green
14 May 2001
For the attention of Gary Daverne O.N.Z.M.
I would just like to say thank you to you and the members of the orchestra
and all connected with putting on the Mother’s Day concert yesterday. I
thoroughly enjoyed this and thought the choice of music excellent.
I am a fairly new comer to New Zealand from Birmingham, England and must say
I am now looking forward to more concerts with the Auckland Symphony.
I wish you all continued success.
Again many thanks.
Audience impressions of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra
10 May 2000
From Pamela Brown
I would like to sincerely thank yourself and the orchestra for
the wonderful programme last Sunday.
It is indeed a privilege to be able to be entertained by such a dynamic
orchestra, and just by donation. It was so great it brought tears to my eyes;
I have never heard music played by so many, nor so well.
Please pass on congratulations and thanks to the orchestra who gave up their
time and worked so hard at entertaining the audience.
My heartfelt thanks.
14 May 2000
From Rodney Michie
Congratulations on your concert held today at the Bruce Mason Centre. It was
I am writing to particualrly compliemnt
you on including "Autumn" from "The Seasons". I guess a
number in the audience would not have had an opportunity to enjoy music by
Glazunov before. I know that you played the Overture he wrote for Borodin's
Prince Igor, last year and I notice from your website that you have conducted
the Saxophone Concerto previously. He has been treated as a Cinderella among
composers for a long time and it is most pleasing to see the amount of his
music being performed and recorded in recent years.
Keep up the good work.
P.S. I bought the CD of your orchestral music released 10 years ago soon
after it's release. I hope
you can include something of your own in future concerts.