THE WHEATEN WAGTIME BAND
By A P
Wellington was named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo. The Duke's title comes from the town of Wellington in the English county of Somerset.
In Māori, Wellington goes by three names. Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara refers to Wellington Harbour and means "the great harbour of Tara". Pōneke is a transliteration of Port Nick, short for Port Nicholson (the city's central marae, the community supporting it and its kapa haka have the pseudo-tribal name of Ngāti Pōneke). Te Upoko-o-te-Ika-a-Māui, meaning The Head of the Fish of Māui (often shortened to Te Upoko-o-te-Ika), a traditional name for the southernmost part of the North Island, derives from the legend of the fishing up of the island by the demi-god Māui.
Wellington is New Zealand's political centre, housing Parliament, the head offices of all Government Ministries and Departments and the bulk of the foreign diplomatic missions that are based in New Zealand.
Wellington's compact city centre supports an arts scene, café culture and nightlife much larger than many cities of a similar size. It is an important centre of New Zealand's film and theatre industry, and second to Auckland in terms of numbers of screen industry businesses. Te Papa Tongarewa (the Museum of New Zealand), the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Museum of Wellington City & Sea and the biennial New Zealand International Arts Festival are all sited there.
Because Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, Clancy the Director of Music, and Grainne the Choreographer for the Dance Troupe, planned a very special programme.
There would be the usual Irish and Russian dance performances, but also some Classical Ballet, which was Grainne's special interest. She had danced in Berlin with the best!
They arrived early at the Concert Hall, and listened as the Hall began to fill to capacity. The Band tuned their instruments and the dancers did some stretches to warm up.
A newspaper photographer came to take pictures of the Band, and this was the first to go to press for the Morning News.
They began the concert with the New Zealand National Anthem, followed by the National Anthem of the USA. Everyone stood, and many sang with the Band.
Clancy introduced the first band selections, which included the Cole Porter NIGHT AND DAY. The audience loved this, and were tapping their feet.
After the applause died down, Clancy introduced the Russian Folk Dancers. The picture below was taken at the end of the dance. (You can almost see them panting!) Vijay, who was in charge of Wardrobe, had done a wonderful job with the costumes.
A comedy act followed, and those three Most Likely Lads were never short on bright ideas. The picture speaks for itself! They sang their hearts out and danced their feet off, doing a combination of jitterbug and Highland Dance! (It had to be seen to be believed!)
Meanwhile, the Dance Troupe were preparing for a special surprise which Grainne had introduced for the very first time.
Stage scenery was changed, and the audience waited with bated breath, wondering what was to come.
They clapped madly as Clancy once more approached the stage, wearing one of his cheeky grins!
"Ladies and Gentlemen," he began. "Our Ballet Choreographer and Director, Miss Grainne from Germany, has been working very hard to present you with this next treat." He paused for effect.
"She was a dancer with the Berlin Ballet Company before joining us, and we are so very fortunate to have her with us." Another pregnant pause.
"Now, tonight, for the first time in our programme, she is presenting you with something special which she has set to the haunting music of Tchaikovsky. I am sure you will be as enchanted as I was when I watched her in rehearsal."
He bowed graciously, and the audience applauded in anticipation. The lights were dimmed, and the curtain went up on a magicl scene. The haunting sounds of the harp, and cello, introducing the Pas de Deux from 'Nutcracker' began to swell, and nine graceful figures floated onto the stage, joined shortly after by an agile Chester.
CLICK ONTHE PAUSE BUTTON ABOVE, THEN CLICK ON THE ARROW BELOW.
You will have to turn up volume again!
It was a magnificent performance, and as the dancers took their bows, some reporters hurried from the hall to send the story and pictures through to their editors to be in time for the morning editions.
Grainne's eyes sparkled with tears of joy. She had known that her dancers were good, but tonight they had excelled!
The boys in the band waited eagerly in the wings to congratulate her and her talented dancers. They were going to present something special too. The boys had changed outfits and were wearing grey coats with black trousers and red ties. They were about to end the programme with some songs by George and Ira Gershwin. Maddie was the soloist, and she would bring this concert to an emotional close with the song, Someone To Watch Over Me.
WAIT FOR THE BALLET MUSIC TO FINISH, THEN CLICK ON THE ARROW BELOW TO HEAR THE FINAL SONG.
So the visit to Wellington and the performance there had been more than a success, it had made history! The morning papers had pictures and stories on the front page, and Clancy had received scores of calls from reporters wanting to interview him. People had mobbed the band members as they left the Concert Hall, seeking autographs, and many of their female admirers had screamed with delight and rushed at the boys, wanting to hug and kiss them! WOW! They were now famous Pop Stars!!!!
A crowd of teenagers gathered outside their hotel, and chanted 'WE WANT THE WWB!'
Never before had our friends experienced anything like this!
However, the next morning brought some not so good surprises.
When Cooper went to collect his car to see it safely 'air-lifted' to Christchurch, he was devastated to find that it was GONE!
Gone with it, were several Band instruments and many of the precious treasures the girls had bought on their shopping spree the day before. Someone had broken into the garage/store room and cleaned it out!
Girls were in tears, and Cooper had a job keeping his composure too. He had not had time to insure the car, and he didn't know what he was going to tell his mother!
Immediately on hearing the news, Woody, who was a retired Detective, went in search of Guinny, who had been with the FBI. This was a job for their professional expertise, and they both had a personal interest in this case, because their instruments were among those stolen!
The theft was reported to the Wellington Police, who were happy to have Woody and Guinny working with them.
As the WWB were about to depart for Christchurch, the case would be taken up there, especially as it was believed that the stolen goods, including the Porsche, had already been moved to the South Island. This was how a particular gang of criminals had operated in the past. The Wellington Police had been trying to bust them for months, but had not been able to make a breakthrough. They hoped this would be it. The gang had made a serious mistake this time in stealing a very conspicuous vehicle. It would not be an easy thing for them to dispose of in their usual way.
So Woody and Guinny made notes on the suspects and put their mug shots in their files. Now the battle was ON!
NOBODYstole from the Wheaten Wagtime Band and got away with it! And Woody was determined to leave some teeth marks in whoever it was who stole his Trombone!
Sunny's letter to the 'Folks Back Home' had an underlying sadness to it. She told of their wonderful success, and the great places they had visited, but then there was that terrible news about Cooper's Porsche, and the band instruments, and, oh dear, all their precious souvenirs and beautiful gowns and all the other wonderful things they had purchased with such delight.
Not all had been stolen. Only those larger items which had been packed away in the Store Room, and not kept in their private hotel rooms.
As they were driven to the airport the following day, several of the girls had poured out their sadness to Katie, the Counsellor with the Band. Katie was kept busy all the way to Christchurch, comforting broken hearts, and giving wise counsel. Even Cooper sought out her services, as he told her how devastated he was to have lost his most prized possession, and he shuddered to think of how he was now out of pocket to the tune of many thousands of dollars.
They all hoped and prayed that the Police, assisted by Woody and Guinny, would be able to apprehend the crooks quickly, so that they would be able to have their treasures safely returned.
They had the utmost confidence in Woody and Guinny. They both had contacts in high places, and those crooks didn't know what they were in for!!
The flight to Christchurch was smooth, and soon the aircraft was preparing to land.
Their next adventure was about to begin.
CONTINUED IN CHAPTER 3
All rights reserved to A P, 2010
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