Drummer Meg Putze is the keeper of the beat for the OnStage Manawatū swing band and at 22 she's comfortable with the responsibility.

Meg, who shares the drums with Bill Pink, has been drumming for more than a decade – since she was 10.

"I always wanted to play drums," she said.

"My parents have been very patient.


"They found it easier once I got better, which was just as well since my sister was studying."

OnStage (formerly the Savage Club) is not Meg's only musical outlet.

She teaches drums at Manawatū Musicmakers, based at Freyberg High School.

Beyond that she is contemplating studying photography and video creation.

When the OnStage monthly concert schedule resumes on July 13 Meg will not be the youngest artist on the programme.

The features include the phonetically titled Tinykwyre, a group of six Awatapu College students with a rare claim to fame.

They specialise in European lyrics and sing in French, Spanish, Russian and Yiddish, a language less common than Hebrew among Jewish speakers, but one which survived the ravages of World War II.

Tinykwyre comprises six female students spanning the range of levels at Awatapu.


Popular singer and vocal tutor Erna Ferry coaches the group, and the Awatapu main choir, the Rock Steady Crew.

The July 13 concert will see many musicians happy to be back performing together after rehearsing in solitude during lockdown.

But while guitars and keyboards don't necessarily offend anyone's ears, location throws up different issues for players of the "noisier" instruments depending on living situations.

Saxophonist Murray Jamieson lives at Olive Tree Retirement Village and rehearses in his apartment.

"I'm lucky my neighbours like the music the band plays.

"I'm not always comfortable playing at home, especially when I rehearse a part that doesn't have a melody, and of course I don't play at night, but I am fortunate with my neighbours."

Trumpeter Peter Hales lives in a Riverdale apartment and echoes his bandmate's sentiments.

"Good neighbours are the answer.

"The people on either side of me are very accepting."

At dawn on April 25 when lockdown was in effect, Peter was one of those who took his trumpet to the end of the drive and blew the Last Post at 6am for a street lined with neighbours at their gates.

Another saxophonist, Sue Fletcher, practises in the bedroom of her Hokowhitu home backing on to the Manawatū Golf Club's course "which is handy, because I play golf".

Like her colleagues, she maintained practice through lockdown, "but not as much as I thought I might," she admits.

She is one of the busier musicians in the city, playing not only with the OnStage band but also with the Manawatū Concert Band and the Swamp City Big Band.

OnStage director Alan Horsfall is another trumpeter, but his situation is different. He lives on the Te Rangimarie Marae at Rangiotu.

"My neighbours are very accepting, but I don't rehearse alone.

As soon as I start playing the neighbour's dogs accompany me."

Alan also blew the Last Post on Anzac morning, from the marae.

"I was going to go down to the cenotaph but decided against it.

"I went later and it was surprising. We were in level 4 lockdown but there were more wreaths at the cenotaph than ever before."

Rehearsals for the band began with physical distancing at level 2 and returned to normal at level 1.

That was a relief for all the band. Rehearsing at home is one thing, but the camaraderie of a collective rehearsal is different.

"I really, really missed it," Sue said.

OnStage Manawatū concerts are held at 7.30pm on the second Monday of each month at the group's headquarters, 100 Campbell St in central Palmerston North.