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Musical theatre in Alan's blood PDF Print E-mail
2 August 2018 - By Mick Jensen - Variety Theatre Ashburton's (VTA) new patron Alan McQuarters has a long local association with musical theatre and played in the orchestra in the company's first ever show back in 1961.
Now in his 90th year, Mr McQuarters was a founding member of VTA, which for many years was know as Ashburton Operatic.
He replaces the late Mona Reddecliffe, who was patron for 22 years.

  Mr McQuarters said he was ``humbled and honoured'' to be asked to take on the ambassadorial role.
``Mona , myself and Margaret Jackson were founding members back in 1960 and I've always loved musical theatre.
``I counted up the other day, I reckon I've played in the orchestra in 47 or 48 local shows over the years.
``It's been a big commitment, but performing is either in your blood or it isn't.''
Mr McQuarters said he could still remember playing in the orchestra in VTA's first show, The Boy Friend, in 1961, and cherished a photo and programme from the show.
His grand daughter, Kendall Lowe, is a regular VTA performer today and Mr McQuarters couldn't be prouder to see musical theatre still ``in the blood''.
Mr McQuarters said he had always been a keen theatre goer and enjoyed nothing more than arriving a little bit early to hear the orchestra warm up.
``It's the whole experience of being welcomed at the door, being shown to your seat and the anticipation of the show.''
He praised all of the ``unseen, off-stage volunteers'' who had help make VTA shows such a positive experience over many years.
``We have a top notch facility today with the Event Centre.
``We can attract big shows and top performers, which is great for a town the size of Ashburton.''
Mr McQuarters began his musical journey as a 10-year-old playing baritone in the Ashburton Silver Band.
He later picked up the trombone and played with the band for 15 years.
He joined the local entertainment group, the Savage Club, as a 17 year-old, four years earlier than was officially allowed.
The club recently gave him his 71 year badge.
Mr McQuarters has shared his passion for music with a love of the fire service.
He signed up as a brigade volunteer in 1954, and enjoyed an association that lasted 47 and a half years. 


New Variety Theatre Ashburton patron Alan McQuarters with the show programme from the company's first ever production in 1961.
Read more local news at The Ashburton Courier



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