Silver screens and melodies

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - FRONT PAGE - By KYLIE WIL­SON

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.

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