Operatunity Daytime Concerts have been around for a few years now and my mother and her friends have attended many of their concerts over the years. The company was started in 2001 and they provide musical entertainment aimed mainly for the older age group around New Zealand. They also have a travel company that takes tours around New Zealand and other parts of the world.
When the company comes to Tauranga, the Daytime concert series is held at Holy Trinity Church. Different performers and styles of shows are in their yearly programme. The latest show to tour New Zealand is called ‘Legendary Vocal Groups’. This featured vocalists, Suzanne Lynch, Bonaventure Alan-Moetaua and Pat Urlich. They were ably supported by a trio of top musicians, Bruce French, Ray Eade and Ron Coleman.
Going along with my mother and one of her friends I wasn’t sure what to expect. Bad sound quality, weak vocals or worse. My fears were unfounded. The professional concert was entertaining and so much fun. Brilliant talent and showmanship made the concert a lovely experience for the older audience and I could see many of the people reliving their younger days when they went to dances or played their favourite records. There was much toe tapping, dancing and impromptu singing as well as everyone participating in the two singlalong songs, By the Rivers of Babylon and Morningtown Ride.
With 25 songs from legendary groups such as The Mamas and the Papas, Four Tops, The Coasters, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and three instrumentals from the band, there was something for everyone.
Suzanne Lynch still has a lovely strong voice which was highlighted with some solos and she had several costume changes to bring some glamour to a grey day. Pat Urlich had the ladies calling for more with his Elvis medley of songs and his gyrating hips. His dancing was so energetic I was slightly worried he would dance off the stage. Bonaventure (Bonnie) is a natural performer, comedian and a wonderful singer. Suzanne commented that it is wonderful to be singing harmonies and the three of them did it so well. A varied programme also had the band starring in three instrumental tunes, King of the Road, Can’t Buy Me Love and Cotton Fields. Bruce French on saxophone, Ray Eade on bass guitar and Ron Coleman on piano. They were all excellent musicians and it was so refreshing to have live music as the accompaniment. Ron Coleman is a beautiful piano player and he could play any style with an elegant touch.
Best comedic moment was a drag act by the two guys as backing singers for Suzanne with two songs, one by The Supremes and the other by The Marvelettes. Bonnie really came into his own and was hilarious. All the jokes were tasteful and I felt all the performers really respected their audience.
As there is no break during the show I think it great value for money and lunch is included in the ticket price. The performers mingle with the audience after the show during lunch and obviously love meeting people. The next show in the Operatunity series is ‘The Many Faces of Gilbert and Sullivan’ on 30 October.
Diane Hume-Green Diane is a regular contributor to ARTbop in her column Scene About Town – an eclectic attender with a background in design, fashion, music and literature Diane is also a member of a well-known Tauranga fashion, fibre and music family.