THE WHEATEN WAGTIME BAND
By A P
All rights reserved to A P, 2010
The band's Publicity officer, Dylan, wired Los Angeles and New York with a report of the success of their first concert. He included pictures which Henry their photographer had taken. This is a brief transcript of what it said:
The WHEATEN WAGTIME BAND 'wowed' audiences in Auckland, New Zealand, with their brilliant performance of Band music, Classics, and Traditional Jazz. Their Dance Troup received standing ovations for their National Folk Dance performances, while their Choristers charmed the New Zealanders with their original harmonies. Of special note, was their lead soloist, Miss Maddie, who sang her own compositions with the backing of the Chorus. The morning papers were full of rave reviews, and seats for the next Concert in Wellington are already booked out.
Mr Dylan, Publicity Officer.
Straight after breakfast, the Wheaten Wagtime Band began to board the coach for a tour of the north - especially Rotorua.
However, some members were missing! Clancy was discussing the matter with Finnegan the Tour Coordinator, and Finbar the Equipment Officer.
"Where in blazes are Cooper and those three cheeky lads, Barney, Bailey and Wheatley?"
"Well, Clancy," replied Finnegan with a little cough, "I think they went off with Cooper - in his Porsche - "
Finbar confirmed this with a brisk nod of his head.
It was a well known fact that Cooper was a rich boy, but not many people knew he'd quickly purchased a Porsche for his use in NZ. He intended to use this mode of transport in preference to the coach! Apparently the 'three most likely lads' ( most likely to get up to mischief!) had managed to hitch a ride with him. (Half their luck!)
Clancy shook his head and exclaimed, "Oh well, he knows where we are going, so no doubt he'll be there before us."
As soon as everyone else was aboard he waved to the driver, and gave the signal for them to move off.
COOPER, AND THE 'MOST LIKELY LADS'
Meanwhile, Cooper and his companions were speeding through the countryside with beards blowing in the wind and with looks of excited delight on their faces. Yes. This was the life! He had obtained a private registration which read, COOPERS COUP! (The meaning in this sense being - A brilliantly executed stratagem; a triumph. And for Cooper, it certainly was!)
They all made it safely to the first stop, where Cooper and his companions met up with the WWB Coach.
The view overlooked the Auckland Harbour to Rangitoto Island. It was a magnificent view! However, some were more interested in trying to sniff out what appeared to be 'mushrooms'!
Bugsey, the Treasurer for the WWB, was collecting fares for the ferry crossing. He was also responsible for keeping the 'books' on all the tour costs, which included the entry fees to special attractions.
Finnegan, the Tour Coordinator, was responsible for arranging the tours, and he had some great attractions lined up for our friends. Rangitoto Island was the first in the itinerary.
They made a smooth crossing by ferry, and eagerly alighted to explore this romantic island.
The girls, in particular, were enchanted by the legends of this area. They could feel, and also hear the magic of this land.
Auggie, Chester, Phantom, Spencer and Bailey went off to explore the shore line. Spencer even did a spot of fishing, so I believe! Henry was busy with his camera.
After returning from Rangitoto, they set off for ROTORUA. Here, Finnegan had planned that they would see a Maori Meeting House, and go on to hear a Maori concert before exploring the Thermal Springs which made the area famous.
Riggie was so inspired by what he saw and heard, that he did a little dance of his own - much to the amusement and entertainment of those watching.
The carving on these buildings was definitely impressive. The Maoris are talented, Polynesian people.
To the haunting sounds of the beautiful Maori song, Pokarekare Ana, they met these wonderful people, who shared with them their culture and explained the history of the song they were hearing.
They were told that Pokarekare Ana is a traditional New Zealand love song. It was probably composed about the time World War I began in 1914.
East Coast Māori song-writer Paraire Tomoana, who polished up the song in 1917 and published the words in 1921, wrote that "it emanated from the North of Auckland" and was popularised by Māori soldiers who were training near Auckland before embarking for the war in Europe.
They sat enthralled, and listened to the magical legends and stories from the past.
One experience that impressed many of the boys, was their meeting with a Maori warrior. He seemed to be keeping guard, and that fact was not missed by the boys as they observed him, standing like a sentry and looking quite awesome!
When the Maoris learned that these dogs were members of the visiting Wheaten Wagtime Band, they gave them a wonderful welcome and even invited them to join in one of their Native Dances. This invitation was quickly taken up by Wheatley, Guinny and Bugsey, who were happily joined by Chloe and Sunny.
Native costumes were provided for them, and when they appeared on the stage with the Maori Dancers, everyone was thrilled to bits and clapped with delight.
Guinny managed the dance steps quite well, (considering he is not a dancer, but an instrumentalist!) but when he tried to sing, it became clear that singing was definitely not one of his talents!
With the Maori music still ringing in their ears, they departed for the Thermal Springs.
As they approached the Prince of Wales Geyser, there was a distinct smell of sulphur in the air. (The girls were grateful for the perfume they'd brought with them!)
Their first view of a thermal pool was quite stunning. The scenery was beautiful, and from the ground, came steam like from a boiling cauldron.
Finnegan was leading them around the area and pointing out things of interest.
"Why can't we go up closer?" asked Blughz
"Can we swim in the pool, Finnegan?" piped Hope, hopefully!
Finnegan shook his head and pointed to the rising steam that was coming from most of the area around the pool.
"I'm afraid it's a 'no' to both questions. The area is so hot that you would be burned." He smiled and added, "This is as close as we go."
They accepted this information and stood to take in the vision before them. After all, they would be visiting beaches later, where they could swim and surf to their heart's content!
As they were moving to the next attraction, Katie caught up with Tobey. She was the Counsellor for the WWB and she had observed Tobey's melancholy, and wondered what made him look sad. She fell in step beside him and they walked along together.
"Isn't this a fascinating place, Tobey?" she asked casually.
Tobey immediately gave her a big smile and replied that it certainly was.
Katie made another attempt to draw him out.
"You are new to the band, aren't you. Where are you from?"
"I'm from Maine -" he said softly, then looked away, avoiding Katie's searching eyes.
Finally, she decided to confront him, and took him completely by surprise by asking, "Why do you look so sad?"
He turned to look at this gentle soul and his heart melted. After an awkward pause, in which he cleared his throat and wiped a wayward curl from his eyes, he began to unload his heart to her.
"Well, you see, " he whispered, "I had to leave my young, beautiful wife at home." He paused to swallow the uncomfortable lump that had somehow got stuck in his throat. "I couldn't afford to bring her with me, and - and - well, I do miss her so ......" His voice trailed off and Katie saw a tear in his eye.
"Oh, Tobey, you must feel so lonely. Have you been married very long?" Katie asked gently.
" Only a year!" Tobey blurted, in a voice that was more of a sob.
Katie put an arm about him and made soothing comments. Then she asked, "Have you written to her? Phoned her?"
Tobey brightened a little and replied, "OH YES! But I just wish she could have been here with me, to see all these wonderful things!"
"You will be able to share all these things with her when you get back home," Katie said encouragingly,"and just think of how exciting it will be, looking at all the pictures!"
"I know, but I just can't stop feeling homesick," he sighed.
Katie wrinkled her nose and wagged her paw at him, saying in a light, cheerful tone, "I'll tell you what - whenever you feel sad, you just come and talk to me about her, and I think you'll find that will help you to feel less lonely. Will you do that?"
Tobey grinned - grateful that he had a friend who understood. "I will! Yes. I'll do that. Thanks so much, Katie! I feel better already!"
With a new bounce in his step, he caught up with the rest of the group who were gathering around another thermal spring. Teddy was receiving a Geology lesson from Kysha, and Phantom, well, he just wanted to play!
As they gazed upon the final attraction in the Thermal Village, Cooper was approached by the three 'Most Likely Lads', who were hoping to get another ride in the Porsche! (Argyle was wishing he could go too!)
They left to rejoin their coach, (and the three 'Most Likely Lads' climbed happily into Cooper's Porsche!) all eagerly looking ahead to their next big Concert - in Wellington, the Capital of New Zealand.
As was the custom, Sunny, the Secretary of the Wheaten Wagtime Band, wrote up a special news bulletin which was sent to the family of every member. This was something she had always done when leaving one city and departing for another destination on their tour.
Here is what she had written:
TO THE FOLKS BACK HOME!
What a wonderful beginning to our New Zealand Tour!
We received rave reviews after our performance in Auckland.
Moms and Dads, you'd have been so proud of us if you could have seen how well we were received.
Maddie, our soloist and composer, wrote this special song and sang it to the tune of 'We All Live In a Yellow Submarine'. We joined her in the chorus, and the audience were also invited to join in.
Here are the words she wrote:
WE ALL TRAVEL WITH THE WHEATEN WAGTIME BAND
BY Miss Maddie Hoffman
Watch us all get on the bus
Won't you come and just join us?
Without you it will be a bust
This is one trip that is a must!
Now it's time to get on board
Instruments and dogfood have all been stored
Our Wheaten music will be adored
As we travel from shore to shore
We all travel with the Wheaten Wagtime Band
Wheaten Wagtime Band
Wheaten Wagtime Band
We all travel with the Wheaten Wagtime Band
Wheaten Wagtime Band
Wheaten Wagtime Band
With our tails we'll keep the beat
We'll give Wheaten kisses to all we meet
Raising money for WIN is very sweet
And playing for Audrey is always a treat!
Though we travel far from home
We do take pictures wherever we roam
From deepest Africa to the Vatican Dome
From hot Tahiti to cold cold Nome
And the stories that we do tell
Will have you entranced in a Wheaten spell
Adventures with Wheatens always end very well
Making new friends will be just swell
After the Concert, we visited Rangitoto Island, then went on to Rotorua to see the Thermal Springs. Oh boy! Was THAT a fantastic experience! There were steaming craters, geysers, bubbling mud pools and a thermal lake. The sulphur odor DID get up our noses a bit though!
And you'll never guess what! (I wonder if his Parents know?) Cooper, our 'rich boy' actually BOUGHT A SPORTS CAR to drive in New Zealand - a PORSCHE! Everyone's been lining up to have a ride in it!
At the Maori Village, we were told stories from the past, and we sat and listened around a camp fire while Maori music was played. Oh, it was so romantic!
We were asked if we'd like to join in one of the Maori dances, and Wheatley asked me to dance with him, while Chloe and Bugsey danced together, and Guinny, the ex-FBI guy, did a dance all on his own. (he also tried to sing, but I won't go into that!)
So there you have it, folks - the start of our tour of the North Island of New Zealand.
Now we are off to Wellington!
Mā te wā - (Maori for 'Until next time')
CONTINUED IN CHAPTER 2
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