Silver screens and melodies
THERE are two places where former Wangaratta resident Kevin Adams feels most at home – seated at a piano keyboard, and being enchanted by cinematic delights on the silver screen.
Set to perform in Wangaratta next week as part of the Steinway on Stage concert series, he will be able to combine both of those passions.
“While I was born, raised and currently live in Melbourne, I see Wangaratta as my real home,” Kevin said. “I always return as regularly as I can.” Kevin has enjoyed playing the piano from a young age, recalling being fascinated by the skills of the pianists on stage whenever he would attend a dance with his family.
Despite early frustrations with playing piano, he stuck it out, often playing favourites from his parents’ record collection, and is now a seasoned pianist with the self admitted skill of being able to play songs by ear. “Playing the piano is so relaxing,” he said. “I think music’s good for the soul. “The piano can sound like an orchestra, and all your cares sort of drift away.”
Kevin lived most of his young adult life in Wangaratta and was very active in the community before he moved away in 1996. “They were such formative years,” he said. He not only ran Wangaratta’s former drive-in theatre, he was also in demand as a performance pianist, regularly played piano for local theatre groups, performed with the Moonlight Dance Band, and even ran a small picture theatre in his back garden in Steane Street. He also worked locally at The Weekly Telegraph. In recent years he has worked as a projectionist in movie theatres across Victoria, including Swan Hill and St Kilda’s revered Astor Theatre.
“I like to entertain people, I like to make people happy,” Kevin said.
He has a special fondness for his time running the drivein, remembering the family atmosphere of movie nights and the community feel of the venue.
“It was probably the best time of my entire working life,” he said, fondly recalling his performances with local theatre groups and the love he developed for romantic and melancholy tunes from shows such as Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Evita and Cats. “I’m a hopeless romantic,” he said. “The lyrics seem to mean a lot more.”
One of his fondest memories was rehearsing the ballad Far From The Home I Love from Fiddler on the Roof with local singer Natalie Blanchard, who will be performing with him in Wangaratta next week.
She played Hodl in the production they were rehearsing, and will be revisiting the tune together in their upcoming Steinway on Stage concert series presented by the Wangaratta Arts Council at Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre at 6pm on Wednesday, September 13.
For more information, see wangarattapac.com.au.
ON THE BEAT: Kevin Adams (second left) has many fond memories of performing with Moonlight Dance Band members (from left) Stewart Feldtman, Matthew Morley and Andrew Passmore.
MEMORY LANE (Inset left): Kevin Adams entertaining the crowds at Wangaratta Co-Store’s relaunch in the early 1990s.