The rewiring of the Savage Club building in Whanganui's Drews Ave started with the Whanganui Musicians' Club buying some retro stage lights from the Hawera Savage Club.
Our electrician took one look at them and said he wasn't wiring them in. It wasn't that the lights weren't up to it; it was that the building's heritage wiring shouldn't be subjected to any more loading — not if his name was on it anyway.
To cut a long story short, the Powerco Community Trust gave us $5000 to start rewiring and, combined with Musos' Club funds, we are halfway there.
The building now has the two halls running on separate circuits, with a massive cable running to a switchboard in the kitchen and another to the stage. Needless to say, some of the wires we pulled out of walls had decayed badly and the building is a lot safer without them.
As a way of acknowledging Powerco, it is worth noting that the company funded two speakers for the club when we first started and we have got nearly a decade of regular use out of them — so thanks again, Powerco.
The Whanganui Musicians' Club now owns the building and club nights and concerts are well patronised by the young and those who like it loud. To cater to an older group of musicians, we are proposing starting an OP group (OP usually means "other people's" but in this case means "older people").
The OP group will meet on Tuesday afternoons — the initial meeting being today (Tuesday, April 10) at 3pm to gauge interest, and then every Tuesday, working up to a fundraising show at the end of the year.
The format we have in mind is networking (which is a modern word for talking to one another) before afternoon tea and then auditions for a show afterwards. So come with ideas.
The show may include some sketches — sort of Prairie Home Companion but without the groping; an old-fashioned variety show featuring, in some way, everyone.
To become an OP member one simply has to become a member of Whanganui Musicians' Club (membership $20). The membership year runs from April 1 to March 31 and entitles members to a $5 discount to club nights.
Membership is one important revenue stream for the club. Since taking over the Savage building, the club has put together a maintenance and development plan which we have roughly costed out at $200,000.
This may sound daunting, but it's not exactly a $2 million roof for a velodrome and we have funding strategies in place — membership, give-a-little, club nights, fundraising concerts aimed at particular goals, approaching charitable trusts and government assistance.
When you see the roof being painted, you will know we are pretty much there.
At the moment, a musician in a wheelchair is headed our way, which is focusing our minds. We may have some more temporary ramps in place, but we won't have built the wheelchair-friendly toilet yet. This we propose to make a project for fundraising by the OP group.
■When Fred Frederikse is not building, he is a self-directed student of geography and traveller, and in his spare time he is the co-chairman of the Whanganui Musicians' Club.