Come Together for Lakeside 2013

When you create an event like Lakeside, you start with a blank page.

That is exactly how next year's concert, Lakeside 2013 _ Come Together, started.

The theme of the March 9 concert is Come Together which will have a strong influence from The Beatles and will showcase some of Rotorua's and New Zealand's strongest talents in entertainment.

However, when planning started artistic director Kate Ward-Smythe says she began with a blank canvas.

"It always starts with a blank page ... that is how 2013 started.''

And considering she's no stranger to creating successful events having been responsible for major events such as Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park and the Queenstown Winter Festival, she knows what she's doing.

She knows exactly how to organise a Lakeside concert too after leading the way for this year's Lakeside concert, which attracted thousands of people from around Rotorua and beyond.

Kate's appointment is a first for Lakeside _ she is the first artistic director to be given the job twice in a row.

Lakeside event manager Monty Morrison says she beat off five other challengers for the role of artistic director for Lakeside 2013.

And despite being in charge of the event twice in a row, Kate says audience members shouldn't expect a repeat of this year's concert and has made a point to make sure it is different.

Kate has created a concert that will start and finish with The Beatles and mesh together a lot of "Cs'' _ Contemporary, culture, community, cycling, classical music, classic moments and more.

To make sure her vision pulls through, Kate has recruited some top performers to entertain Rotorua audiences. The impressive cast which includes Ria Hall who opened the Rugby World Cup last year and this week won the Best Maori Album category at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. Others in the line-up include Seasoned performer Tina Cross, actress and performer Jennifer Ward-Lealand, versatile singer and television personality Russell Harrison, Kiwi rocker Michael Murphy, physical theatre performers Mike Edward and Eve Gordon, New Zealand's premier trombone quartet BonaNZa, singer songwriter Sharon Emirali, vocalists Ellen Kuiper and Elisha Fai-Hulton and musician Cameron Clayton. Diamond Entertainment, a kapa haka ensemble and the Lakeside Orchestra conducted by Mark Dennison are also part of the line-up.

Cast members spoken to by The Daily Post say Lakeside is a concert which attracts positive community spirit and is an event Rotorua should be proud to have.

Kate is excited to back in Rotorua and part of the Lakeside family again.

"It's always a warm and welcoming experience,'' she says.

"You are rich in talent and you're rich in community spirit.''

She says next year's audiences should be prepared for a "magical experience''. She says Hall is a fierce performer who is current, contemporary and a skilled songwriter and she expects the entrance that is planned for

BonaNZa to be a "talking point'' of the show.

"Everyone that I've asked on to the Lakeside stage is really, really, really going to bring it,'' Kate says.

"They would go away feeling impressed.''

She is particularly excited for the public to get to see her cousin, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, take the stage because many people may only recognise her for her acting background. Jennifer will perform as herself as well as Marlene Dietrich.

"When she takes to the stage of Marlene you forget that she's Jennifer."

Another feature of the show she can't wait to see is The Beatles coming alive through former New Zealand Idol runner up Michael Murphy _ who adores the English rock band.

"Michael has never let me down, he will bleed to give his best. Michael Murphy just adores The Beatles, it was the right voice for the job.''

"Everyone's in for a great night.''

Michael says after being part of the Lakeside line-up about seven years ago, he was excited to be included in next year's "pretty impressive'' line-up.

"I was involved in 2005, I jumped on the chance to jump back on board.''

But it was the fact that The Beatles would play a major part of the event that really sold it for him.

"The Beatles will be my favourite of all favourites.''

"My time has come. I love The Beatles.''

His top five Beatles songs include While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something, Here Comes The Sun, Help and then the number five spot would have to be shared among about 20 other songs, he says.

Michael says Lakeside is "one of those events that really need to be given the credit it deserves'' and hopes people from around New Zealand check it out. He says Lakeside is an event that attracts a community who are solely there to have a good time.

"I just hope it gets the attention that it deserves.

"People should be coming from out of town to check it out.''

He says Rotorua residents should be proud of having a concert like Lakeside in their hometown and is promising "an amazing show come March''.

"`It's just something really special that Rotorua comes together and puts on something like this.''

Russell Harrison _ a man known as Mr Lotto and the gentle giant _ agrees, referring to Lakeside as a positive event.

"I think it's important that Rotorua recognises that they're very privileged to have an event of this nature,'' Russell says.

"It's a wonderful event that really generates positive community spirit.''

"Lakeside is one of those concerts that you wouldn't not want to be involved,'' Tina Cross told The Daily Post.

It's far from Tina's first Lakeside gig, in fact it'll be her fourth, but having had a break for the last few years allows her to "come back fresh''.

She couldn't speak more highly of Kate saying there wasn't anything she did that wasn't of a high standard.

"Kate's got a really great eye and ear for bringing together talent that's really going to compliment each other.''

She can't wait to perform at next year's lakeside and see the other performers.

"I'm loving it, there's some real diversity.''

Mark Dennison, the Lakeside Orchestra conductor, is proud to be part of Lakeside again and is promising a good

time when the concert town saying it will be "bigger, better, fantastic and different''.

"It's such a buzz, it's such a neat community to be part of.

"No one else does this, it's quite an unique event in New Zealand.''


- Rotorua Daily Post

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