Peter Hale sis playing 50 festival son
In the days when a programme cost 10 cents, a bottle of Lion beer was ‘‘the man’s brew’’ and you could buy your Liberty lingerie from Symingtons where a funeral parlour now sits, Peter Hales played in his first Manawatu Jazz Festival.
Peter had recently arrived in Palmerston North and joined the Manawatu Big Band in 1967 as a trumpet player.
Word soon spread that the Manawatu Musicians and Entertainers Club, which became the Manawatu Jazz Club, was planning their first national jazz festival the following year.
It was a great success, Peter recalls. The Palmerston North Musicians Club Big Band, led by Wally Barton, attracted groups from Whanganui, Taihape, Hawke’s Bay, Hamilton and Wellington.
‘‘We had a great line-up of musicians such as Peter and Sid Wood, Mo and Errol Christiansen, Trevor Prout, Colin Eglinton and Ross McGavin,’’ Peter says.
‘‘I’m a fan of Glenn Miller and I remember playing his music.’’
It came as no surprise that the jazz festival became an annual affair.
‘‘We loved to recreate the Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey sound and there were people in Palmerston North who enjoyed trad, dixie and jazz.’’
However, in the president’s message that year, Colin Brown warned that this ‘‘cultural art form is not entirely accepted by the middle of the road New Zealander’’ and so the festival set out to make it more widely appreciated.
Peter, as a government servant, had to move about to seek promotion but wherever he went so did his trumpet. He played in jazz and swing groups in Wellington, Christchurch, New Plymouth and Whangarei. He was a member of the territorial air force band at Shelley Bay, Wellington, Wigram and Ohakea.
He returned to the region in the mid 1970s and has played trumpet and solo trumpet in the Manawatu Big Band ever since.
Peter has a fond memory of playing for the Queen and Duke in The Square during the 1977 Royal tour. Prince Philip was so impressed with the sound, he asked where the tape recorder was.
Fifty festivals on Peter (76) is still on the top podium playing in the big band and will be in the line-up when the Manawatu Big Band presents their concert in The Globe on Sunday, June 4.
Peter is now the band manager and likes the big band style, in particular the swing arrangements by leader Trevor Castles.
‘‘Swing is dance music and I like old time dancing so swing with a jazz flavour is what I enjoy the most,’’ Peter says.
‘‘It’s been part of my life for 60 years.’’
As well as playing in the big band, Peter is a member of the Savage Club Orchestra and Big Band and is an RSA member.
He acknowledges there are a few musicians still about who played in the first jazz festival and he’s hoping to bring them together for a celebration during this year’s 50th anniversary.
The Manawatu Jazz Club Big Band performs at the Globe on Sunday, June 4, at 2pm. Bookings at The Globe.
Peter Hales, pictured back row, far left, is seen performing at the first Manawatu Jazz Festival with the Manawatu Big Band. Right: The hand-drawn programmefor the first Manawatu Jazz Festival.