BY JULIA WADE
For the last six months a local rural hall has been getting rocked out, the quiet night of the surrounding countryside echoing with guitar riffs, bass beats and crooning vocals, all in aid of a good cause.
Eight local musicians come together every Wednesday night to jam with other like-minded musos at Hakaru Hall and immerse themselves in an eclectic mix of rock, rhythm, and blues, with artists spanning a broad era of time zones including The Beatles, The Doors, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Santana, Nirvana and Johnny Cash to name just a few.
The group, whose exact name seems to cause some confusion among members (Hakaru Jam? Bald Rock Blues Band? Mangawhai Old Heads?) are gearing up to perform a fundraiser concert, says bandleader Dennis Reeve, with proceeds going towards maintaining the old Hakaru Hall which was established in 1926.
“We’re aiming for the end of October so anyone who likes to play and would want to be on stage for half an hour or so, is most welcome to join in.”
Band members – including four guitarists, a bass player, drummer, blues harmonica player and lead vocalist – have all been strumming, singing and drumming since childhood.
‘It’s a social event,” says bassist Alan Johnson, who has been playing guitar for 25 years. “A chance to meet like-minded others, play music and just go with the flow.”
Dennis initiated the Hakaru band due to missing the regular jamming sessions he used to attend for 14 years as a member of the Guitar Association of New Zealand.
“I would like to start a network here and looking at creating a Musical Mangawhai facebook page for anyone who wants to connect over music,” he says. “I really love playing and just want to share the enjoyment with everyone.”
Interested in sharing your inner muso and jamming at Hakaru or would like to perform for the fundraiser? Contact Dennis Reeve 021 062 8631.
Rocking the Hakaru Hall is ‘Hakaru Jam’, from left, Hec Hepburn, Roxy Burnett, Andy Griffiths, Patrick Maroulis, Alan Johnson, and Dennis Reeve. Absent, Rheyan George Leng and John Rawson.