When Barbara McLaughlan was a girl, she learned piano to a high level and even qualified as a teacher.
But she married at 18 and gave up playing for years.
It was pure chance that got Barbara back into tinkling the ivories and nine years later, she has received a Rotary Community Service Award for her dedication.
Barbara has been the pianist for Taupō's AA65 singers since 2012. The singing group meets every Sunday to practise a new bracket of songs, which are performed at rest homes and for groups of people with disabilities or illnesses. It usually performs five or six concerts each month and Barbara attends every practice and concert, and also puts in hours at home to get the music just right.
Not only that, but some venues don't have a piano so Barbara taught herself to play a 48-bass piano accordion so that she could still do the accompaniment.
Barbara says AA65 was started in 2011, but after its first year it needed a new pianist. She got asked to take on the role purely by chance.
"I was exercising with a girl and she said 'you know how to play the piano' and I sad 'well, yes but not for years' and she said 'can you come?' "
So Barbara went along, found she loved it and has been there ever since, even though the commitment has grown. Back then, the choir did only a few performances a year but now it can be a couple of times a week. Barbara says while it can be a lot of work, she enjoys it very much.
"The choir are so appreciative, I appreciate them and they say they appreciate me, we're a good team together."
Barbara learned piano as a young girl and passed her ATCL performer's exam and began teaching. But she gave it up when she got married and moved to Australia.
She says being involved with the choir has made her get back into her playing, and she gets to play some beautiful pianos at the venues the choir visits.
"It really got me back into piano playing and I've even started going back to doing classics that I did 60 years ago. I've been practising Chopin's Revolutionary Etude and Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven. I'm fortunate that I don't have arthritis in either of my hands."
The choir practises every Sunday at St Paul's, and Barbara learns 12 to 15 pieces of music for each of the choir's programmes, which she says is less work than it sounds because many of them she has played before.
Barbara says she was "blown away" to find she was receiving a community service award.
"The dedicated and brilliant pianist" was nominated by AA65 singer Glenda Griggs for her dedication to bringing joy to those in less-fortunate circumstances. She was lured to the awards dinner on the pretext of accompanying Glenda. It was only when Glenda went up to the lectern that Barbara realised what was happening.
"I was just stunned."