Show gives association's funds a boost

By Roger Moroney

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Some members of the audience were keen to take up Ben Waters' invitation to join him and the band on stage.
Some members of the audience were keen to take up Ben Waters' invitation to join him and the band on stage.

A rocking fundraiser for the Brain Injury Association Hawke's Bay in Napier last Saturday night resulted in a five-figure result which delighted association chairman Brett Morris who said the star act was keen to return next year.

English musician Ben Waters has been described as one of the top keyboard players in the business - leading music personality Jools Holland reckoned he was one of best 10 keyboardists of all time.

He took up the invitation to play the one-off "Lifting the Blues" Napier concert at the Century Theatre after Mr Morris had been speaking with a friend in the UK, who was battling mental health issues, and who said he knew Mr Waters.

So Mr Morris made contact and asked if he would be prepared to put on a fundraising concert in Napier.

He had gigs already arranged for Auckland and in the South Island. The fact it was to raise funds to assist people like his friend meant it was an easy decision for Mr Waters and the theatre was duly booked and tickets put on sale.

The result was a $10,000 boost for the local branch of the association.

"To say the MTG theatre rocked would be an understatement," Mr Morris said.

"We have been inundated with requests to bring Ben back next year with promises there will not be a problem selling out well in advance," he said.

The evening kicked off with young Dannevirke singer Stretch who warmed up the crowd nicely for Ben Waters.

It was a family affair, with his 15-year-old son Tom amazing the audience with his saxophone playing and 14-year-old daughter Molly joining him for two songs.

It was a bubbling night of boogie-woogie and rock and roll classics which had sections of the crowd up and dancing in the aisles. Mr Waters even led a spirited conga around the theatre.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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