Whitianga Dixieland Band and Spring Chicken at the Coghill Theatre

16 Nov 2021

Whitianga Dixieland Band and Spring Chicken at the Coghill Theatre

The Whitianga Dixieland Band and new covers band, Spring Chicken, are performing at the Coghill Theatre in Whitianga on Friday evening this week (19 November). 

“The building the Coghill and Monkey House Theatres are in is up for sale,” says Kevin Robinson, one of the Dixieland Band members. “Who knows, this may be a farewell concert in the building.”

The Dixieland Band is an outstanding seven-piece band playing New Orleans-style jazz, traditional jazz and classic jazz. They have been playing together for more than three years and are a major drawcard wherever they perform.

The common denominator between the Whitianga Dixieland Band and Spring Chicken is drummer, Rob Perks. In addition to playing drums for the Dixieland Band, Rob is also the drummer for the Mercury Bay Big Band. 

“I’ve decided to set up a covers band in here Whitianga with a couple of really good local guys, Terry Shoston and Paul Whitelaw,” Rob says. “Then we’ve had a call from another local guy called Pete Lawrence who also joined us. So, this is now the band called Spring Chicken.”

Rob was a professional musician in the UK for many years. Among the big names he played with were Matchbox, Crazy Cavan and City Lights. He moved to New Zealand 15 years ago and settled in Whitianga five years ago.

Guitarist, Terry Shoston, has been a local for many years playing everywhere else but Whitianga. He thought he was in semi-retirement, but then he “found” Rob at Smitty’s Sports Bar & Grill. Coming from a musical family has given Terry a passion for music. He used to perform with a variety of well-known artists, including Billy T James, Frankie Rolls and Ritchie Pickett, and is experienced in playing many styles of music. “Playing good music and making friends is what it’s all about,” he says.

Paul Whitelaw, the Spring Chicken bass player, started off in a school band before progressing on to different covers bands. He then landed himself a job in a top covers band that did the Auckland circuit for 12 years. A few years ago, he decided to pack up and move to Whitianga where he went into semi-retirement mode. But then he had a bit of a relapse and found Rob and Terry. He says what he likes about Spring Chicken is “that I’m able to play stuff I like playing the most”.

Pete Lawrance is the Spring Chicken lead vocalist. He became a Whitianga local in 1975 and was a member of the band Koncoxion during the 90s. Performing solo as the Rockin’ Realtor, he was a regular at The Lost Spring, Grace O’Malley’s Irish Inn and a variety of fundraising events. “Peter loves his music and is very knowledgeable,” says Rob.

Friday evening’s concert starts at 7:00pm. Online tickets are available at eventfinda.co.nz and cost $15 plus booking fees. Door sales on the night costs $20. A cash bar will be available. Seating is limited.

Pictures - Photo left: The Whitianga Dixieland Band. Photo right: The members of spring Chicken.