My first instrument.
When I was four, while Mum was in the kitchen, I remember prancing around the lounge, with the somewhat battered custard pot in my left hand, and very old and well used wooden spoon in the right. The National Programme blasting away with some kind of Music Education Programme for youngsters... and there was me dancing around, beating in time .. That must have been sooooo loud. Poor Mum, no wonder she suffered from migraines.
When did I get my first Violin?
When I was five, Mum asked me what I'd like for Christmas. I asked her for a violin. My three brothers and sister had all had a season or more on the piano, (oh those red knuckles) I just wanted to play the instrument that featured on the Blue Danube 33LP that Mum played so regularly. The Photo of the orchestra featured on that cover and I could see a whole lot of people were playing violins. I LOVED THE SOUND OF THE STRINGS.
Mum didn't get me one that year, (I still have the doll she bought me) but I asked again when I was six, and she decided that maybe I was serious about this whole violin thing after all. My first lessons were at The Campbell's Bay Music Centre on Saturday mornings. Campbells Bay School, and then came private tuition, with Mrs June Allen in Clematis Avenue, Murray's Bay. North Shore, Auckland.
The first memories of wanting to play in a Band.
I had only just turned eight when my mum remarried. At their Wedding Reception, The Lodge, a live band played. I remember just gazing at them for ages, soaking it all in, and thinking to myself, "That's what I want to do when I grow up." (I wish I could meet up with even one of those band members, to tell them how much they inspired me. That would be so cool.)
Watching the New Zealand Celebrities at work.
Between the ages of ten to thirteen, I remember seeing New Zealand Show Hosts, Don Lindon & Max Cryer coming out into the local community mardi gras and beach parties. They held singing competitions with kids during the school holidays. I so wished I could be one of those kids up on stage, but I seriously lacked confidence in myself 'big time' - so I just watched from a distance. Now half my time is spent on one stage or another and through my teaching I'm surrounded by children who have the same dreams.
My sister, Karen got me hooked on Guitar.
When I was twelve, I used to watch my sister, Karen sitting on the end of Mum's big double bed in the end room. She'd strum away at her guitar, learning chords and songs. Once again, I just knew I had to pick it up and try to play it too... so when she wasn't looking I'd sneak in, close the door and try to copy what she'd just played. I will always remember that proud moment playing my very first Chord, " G" it felt so great!! .. and then came the sore fingertips. Yowza!! but worth it. Thanks Kaz
My father gave me some money when I was fifteen, so I went into Farmers in Town, and bought my very first 'Matuoka' guitar.
At the ages of 14 and 15, Audrey Emery from St. John's Parish encouraged me to bring it along to church groups, prayer meetings etc, and that's where I started learning to play it properly. (Thanks Audrey) That set me up for the world of teaching I'm in now, and I still love to play and teach it at school.
My first desire to win an award
I was in my twenties when I went to watch my sister, Karen Davy, perform in the Auckland Country Music Awards at the Auckland Town Hall. There was a table of trophies which you couldn't help but notice ...and there it was.... The title of one little one grabbed me. "Best Country Instrumentalist"
I turned it around and on the back it read, 'Cath Newhook' Well, that blew me away. At that time, Cath was getting me through letters, in classical violin, but here she was, an awesome fiddler in a fantastic country band called "Gentle Annie" and playing an ELECTRIC FIDDLE! She definitely rocked it!! after seeing her play at one of her gigs, I got my self a pick up, and worked really hard to learn a classic bluegrass Anthem, 'THE ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL' by Irwin Rouse. I entered the Auckland Country Music Awards in 1993, the following year, and won the Best Country Instrumental, and 'yes!!!' my name DID get put under Cath's that next year, (my dream came true) and blow me down, I ended up winning the overall of those awards that year, and that's pretty much how my life took a turn. From there I had automatic entry into the New Zealand Country Music Entertainer of the year, and by winning that title (which I never ever thought would happen) began my 'Fiddling' career.
The most frequently asked question - Where do you get all your energy?
Definitely an energy burst happens between myself and the audience. It's cool, because the more energy I give out, the more I get back, and it just flies around the room, bouncing off the walls, coming back and me, and then it's allllll on. Eye contact with my punters, and smiles just increase this awesome vibe. It's so beautiful to be part of it all. I love it when they're buzzing.. I go home buzzing too.