National Orchestra of the New Zealand Broadcasting Service :First season ... 1947. Wellington inaugural concert, Town Hall. Thursday March 6th. Souvenir programme. [Cover. 1947].Reference Number: Eph-B-MUSIC-NO-1947-01-front (Alexander Turnbull Library)
It is 64 years this week since Anderson Tyrer picked up his baton for the first concert of the newly-formed National Orchestra - now the NZ Symphony Orchestra - with Vincent Aspey as orchestra leader. A milestone in New Zealand's cultural history.
It reminded me of the wonderful cleaning lady I had in the 1980s. She'd worked out I was a musician as she dusted round the heaps of music on top of the piano.
Home from work one day when she was cleaning, she asked me if she could play my violin. A valuable instrument, handed down through our family, the doubt showed on my face.
Guardedly I said yes. She picked it up and expertly tuned it. And off she went. Stunning playing, with the rich tone, musicianship and technical ability of the true violinist. I was gobsmacked.
She explained she'd been born, in Gisborne, into a musical family with a Maori mother and Italian father, and had studied the violin as a child.
She was 16 when Anderson Tyrer announced auditions for the National Orchestra. She travelled to Wellington, was auditioned, and told by Anderson Tyrer to come back when she was 17, as he felt that 16 was a little young to be joining a professional orchestra.
During the following year she got married to a man who hated music and she didn't pick the violin up again until after he died.
By then she was in her mid-fifties, and too late for the professional career she had dreamed of. But she made my day and I gladly let her play my violin whenever she wanted.