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Free concert series a showcase of diverse musical talent

Hot off a scorching success last weekend, Hastings’ free summer concert series is already sizzling with a further four weekends of diverse musical treats still to come.

Summer in the Park at Cornwall Park (now in its 20th year) and Jazz on the Village Green (running for five years) in Havelock North both kicked off last weekend, with fantastic weather complementing the superb entertainment on offer.

Arts Inc Heretaunga community arts development manager Pitsch Leiser said about 350 people attended the Anton Wuts and friends’ event Particle Explosion in Havelock North and up to 450 people took in the operatic Project Prima Volta showcase at Cornwall Park.

“It was beautiful weather for both these events and there’s more interesting, different and exciting acts to come over the next month.

“When selecting the acts we try to get mainly local artists, whether they be currently living here and keen for an opportunity to showcase some new work, or were originally from here and have an opportunity to come back and show us what they’ve been up to.”

This is the case for this weekend’s Jazz in the Village Green performer Kingsley Melhuish, originally from Napier, but now based in Auckland.

On February 1, he’s stopping in at Havelock North as part of a tour of the upper North Island performing music from his newly launched album Kingsley Spargo Chasing Spirits, accompanied by poet and spoken word artist Kim Meredith and bassist Chris Orange.

Described as a sound artist, Kingsley’s original compositions draw from theatre, free improvised and contemporary music and in Kingsley Spargo carry listeners on an evocative soundscape, sometimes eerie, sometimes soulful, exploring narratives of yearning and the geometry of life.

Over in Cornwall Park on February 2, Alex Ventling – a Swiss New Zealander and emerging pianist is also on tour, bringing home his exciting young European jazz trio after six years living and studying abroad.

With double-bassist James Krūttli from Switzerland and drummer Phelan Burgoyne (UK) the friends in Alex Ventling Trio interact playfully, creating beautiful melodies and at times explosive rhythms.

Overall about 50 to 80 musicians will be performing in the 10 concerts of the series, providing audiences free access to quality music, as well as giving emerging and established artists the chance to reach a wide, diverse audience.

The events are presented by Arts Inc Heretaunga and supported by Harcourts Team Pete Scott, Hastings District Council, Creative Communities Hastings, Infinity and First Light Community Foundations, Eastern and Central Community Trust and Brebner Print.

The 2020 line-up:

Jazz on the Village Green Havelock North, Saturdays 4-6pm

1 February - Kingsley Spargo

8 February - Lady Larisa and friends

15 February - Nairobi Trio

22 February - The Hoonhunters

Summer in the Parks, Cornwall Park, Hastings, Sundays 3-5pm

2 February - Alex Ventling Trio (Jazz)

9 February - Borderline (Country)

16 February - Fuego Latino (Latin/Gypsy fusion)

23 February -Bruce Bisset and the Rural Voters

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