"I've been everywhere, man ... "

... it's true!

In the last 12 weeks I have enjoyed zipping up and down New Zealand, producing and performing events for more than 33,000 young people, their teachers, and families.

It was an absolute honour to perform 89 free shows in schools and childcare centres with the Asthma Champion of NZ, Sailor the Puffer Fish.

Our messages about how children can help themselves and others in their day to day living and big asthma emergencies were well received. We read many emails with glowing feedback about the show, including this one from a school in Palmerston North: 

"We thoroughly enjoyed your talk about asthma and what is more we had to use your strategies to help a boy having an attack two days later. You were captivating ... informative and held the children's attention - thanks for coming along and you are welcome to return any time as your message was great."

It is wonderful to know our show has helped someone positively this year.

One of the more colourful school stages I have performed on.

One of the more colourful school stages I have performed on.

It was also a great honour to be the Event Producer for 10 National Young Leaders Day events around the country. I enjoyed working with a committed team of leadership superheroes, and making some new friends along the way. Check out the great highlights vid from one of our Auckland events and see a snippet of the fun I helped orchestrate!

Speaking of orchestrating, I recently had a dream performance opportunity come true. 

In 1999, when I began studying as a young composer at university, I dreamed of being on stage with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Thanks to a buddy of mine putting my name forward to the powers that be, I was surprised to get an invitation to compere and perform in 3 of their free family concerts in Auckland last month!

It was a fantastic chance to apply my score reading skills once more ... and boy did I need them! The piece I was asked to narrate and sing in was 100 pages long! To date, Tane and the Kiwi is the longest single continuous piece of notated music I have ever performed live ... approximately half an hour!

I had a wonderful time working with 52 amazing musicians. I came away with a greater understanding and appreciation of just how much time and effort they put into their craft. 

And today it gets better because I can officially announce ... (!drumroll please!) ... they've just asked me to come back and perform Peter and the Wolf next month!

We will be playing 5 free shows for school children and families in Napier, Gisborne, and waaaaaay out in the remote town of Ruatoria. 

Of course, I said yes!

Performing 'Tane and the Kiwi' with the NZSO.

Performing 'Tane and the Kiwi' with the NZSO.

Finally, earlier this year I began a fun little project using Google Maps to record every place in the world I know I have performed for an audience. I have been able to add gold stars to places in Australia, Hawaii, and Denmark - but perhaps obviously, nowhere in the world has more stars than in my beloved home of New Zealand. 

As you can see, I have a bit of 'filling in' to do on the West Coast of the South Island, and also the central North. I am looking forward to performing one day in Stewart Island, right at the bottom.

I think anyone considering a career as a stage performer in this country would benefit from seeing this map. In New Zealand, one must be prepared to travel in order to follow their dream.

And what a lot of lovely following I have done!

In the coming months we kick off our annual Kids For Kids tour. I'm particularly looking forward to conducting the choir of 1,300 children in Christchurch soon!

My map showing a star for every place I have performed. 

My map showing a star for every place I have performed.