Time for a break after a hec-tastic (hectic+fantastic) end to the 2016! Here's how it went ...
29th: I was fortunate to be able to MC a concert for the Manukau Concert Band in Auckland. It was great for two reasons - one, because I was able to perform as the narrator/singer for 'The Devil Went Down To Georgia' with a live band ... and two, because I got to perform with my little sister who plays tenor saxophone in the band! We Lam Sam's are definitely a musical bunch!
31st: A lovely Kids For Kids concert in Gisborne. I really enjoyed working with the kids, and marvelling at the newly renovated War Memorial foyer inside the theatre. An poignant sea of red poppies adorns the ceiling there. I also found the world's smallest ironing board in my accommodation, plus a wonderful tiny picture frame to use as a prop in our upcoming Inspector Brunswick release in London!
3rd-4th: Two Kids For Kids shows in Napier. Always love working (and shopping) in this city. So much to see and do, and the theatre staff are always so friendly!
7th-8th: We then moved Kids For Kids north to the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna. What a great venue to work in! Amazing choirs and super fun as always.
9th: For the second year in a row I performed at the annual Remuera New World Christmas Party which was a HOOT! I get to dress up in silly costumes (that's not like me, right?) and perform Christmas and opera music with my good friend and collaborator, Greg Ward. This year we put a Swiss slant on the show, and as you can see, the accordion fit right in!
12th: Continuing in Auckland, I played the Giltrap Motors 50th Anniversary party with Late 80’s Mercedes. Due to a comedy of errors I accidentally locked my regular suit in the car at the gig, so I had to borrow a fantastic blue pinstripe from my good and skinny friend, Jono. Thanks to my efforts in shedding about 28kgs this year I actually fit his suit perfectly!
14th-16th: I wrapped up this 11-night stay in Auckland with two more Kids For Kids shows in South Auckland. Performing in the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau is always a pleasure. The choirs were great and the audiences happy.
18th: Our Christmas tree went up at home. Too early? Pfft. What are you ... Scrooge?!
20th: Back in Wellington, I was Master of Ceremonies for the Hutt City Council's Big Backyard event. This was a free outdoor showcase of local businesses and organisations which proved a hit with community on such a fine day.
24th-25th: Back to Auckland to compere the two day NZ Respiratory and Allergy Conference at the Pullman Hotel. I learned so much about a subject I speak a lot about in schools. It was truly eye opening to see how much good research was being done by doctors, scientists, and specialists in this field. On the morning of the 25th we all woke up to headline news about 'Thunderstorm Asthma' in Australia. Having expert people in the room who could speak about that upsetting phenomenon was very informative.
27th: Back to Wellington, I was the MC for the New Zealand Defence Force Christmas Party in Trentham! This was a great family event, and the military vehicles they had on display were very popular with the kids!
29th: I then flew up to Tauranga for the final Kids For Kids show for 2016 which went swimmingly. I was also fortunate to appear in a new music video by children's music legends, Itty Bitty Beats. Check out their video at the bottom of this post!
And then it was ... DECEMBER!
1st: As part of a year long promotion with the main children's show on Radio Rhema, The Funky Monkeys got together to perform one show for one lucky school in Auckland! It was a grand opportunity to hang out with Neil and Joe once more and work our entertainment magic!
2nd: Back to Wellington for a refresher rehearsal of Peter and the Wolf with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, then ...
3rd: I performed MC'd 'Christmas at Te Papa with the NZSO'! We snuck Peter and the Wolf in there for good measure too. Working with the community choir who turned up on the day to sing carols with us was a hoot!
5th: And then I finished my normally busy season early with some semi-urgent surgery! Nothing life threatening, but certainly life improving! It kept me off my feet for three long weeks which I will admit was very difficult! But I was determined to heal because ...
31st: I performed with The Funky Monkeys at New Year in the Square! It was a very big show (5,000 people watching) with two sets and the full cast including Dizzy Dog. We had a fun time, and we're pretty sure the families did too!
And that was the end of 2016. Happy new year to everyone out there, and I hope you're all getting some rest!