For conductor Acting Lieutenant Commander Michael Dowrick and the rest of the 25 members of the Royal New Zealand Navy Band, the last time they had a weekend off was back in mid-January — and they are won't get one until the beginning of next month.

But there is no way any of them want to miss their next musical working weekend, which is this weekend and the Tremains Art Deco Festival.

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"Oh no, we wouldn't miss this one," Lt Cdr Dowrick said.


"It is a fantastic occasion which we are really looking forward to and there is going to be a lot of music, and music for everyone."

Dowrick has a colourful and distinguished career across the musical directing, writing and conducting landscape, and after a fine career with the Royal Marines in the UK as well as leading the South Australian Police Band he moved to New Zealand to live, and joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2016.

It was during his time with the Royal Marines that he effectively linked in with the Royal Family on the musical front.

In 2000 he composed and conducted a large slice of the music played during the Queen Mother's Parade of the Century.

He wrote individual pieces for the organisations and regiments who took place in the great parade and as they passed the Royal stand they were played "it made them puff their chests out a bit more".

Lt Cdr Dowrick also appeared at the Queen's 90th birthday and met Her Majesty and Prince Philip.

"She is absolutely lovely — they are both very great people and have done so much — I was in awe of them."

However, with a laugh he said the meeting was a fairly casual one, as he is Cornish by birth.

"And we Cornish tend to be rather direct so it was really good and we got on very well."

He made his first visit to Napier for the great festival last year and despite the wet weather was thrilled by it.

"It is such a fantastic event because people get to re-live the old memories and times — the music, the cars and the clothing and it's great to see so many smiling faces."

On the musical front, the strong navy link with Napier, and of the time of the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake, will be well represented with a historic opening and closing number.

It is the "Dunedin March" which was composed by Kenneth Alford in the 1920s.

Mr Alford was a bandmaster in the British Army and the Royal Marines Director of Music — a role Lt Cdr Dowrick would take on many decades later.

It was written after Mr Alford visited Dunedin, and Lt Cdr Dowrick said he chose it as it was the HMS Dunedin, along with HMS Diomede, which raced to Napier with emergency supplies and relief aid.

"We will play it as the first piece at the opening public concert and we will play it to close at the Swing and a Prayer Service to round the whole weekend off."

It will be part of a play list across a variety of concert outings which will include everything from marches and big band numbers, jazz and Dixie music from the 1930s era as well as solos and fun for the younger listeners.

"So looking forward to this," Lt Cdr Dowrick said, adding it was a weekend that would always be booked in for the band as unmissable.