Courier Clubs: Pareora Country Music Club

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Country tunes . . . Pareora Country Music Club band members (from left) Bob Cardey (Lead Guitar), Shirley Cardey (Rhythm Guitar) Sid Lockhart (Drummer for the day) John Mills (Mandolin & Piano Accordion) Les Leppingwell (President & Compere). Bass player Jim McLachlan is not pictured. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

This week we launch our new column, Courier Clubs, with Greta Yeoman‘s profile on a group of people who have been making music in South Canterbury for 37 years.

THE Pareora Country Music Club is putting out the call for young country musicians to join the ranks of their long-term members.

Club treasurer Anne Burnell said the club, which started in September 1980, met on the second Sunday of the month at the South Canterbury RSA in Wai-iti Rd, Timaru.

Mrs Burnell said while the club had begun in Pareora, as most of the members were from there, a shift in demographics to mainly Timaru residents meant the club was relocated.

The monthly meetings have been held along with several fundraising concerts, the latest raising funds for the Phar Lap statue.

Club days featured a regular band as well as a variety of performers. They had had 23 performers at their most recent club day, Mrs Burnell said, “which is very good”.

With a mixture of original songs and covers from artists including Charley Pride, Emmylou Harris, Tammy Wynette and George Jones, a variety of country music was performed on club days.

“Our club day is like a concert.”

Mrs Burnell said as the club was a non-profit, any additional funds raised from events went to charities.

The band was regularly asked to perform at rest-homes and the Blind Foundation, and was also happy to entertain at functions for a “very good rate”, she said.

“A small group of dedicated members are happy to volunteer their time and musical ability for this worthwhile cause and are always most appreciated.”

The club was always happy to have new artists and supporters come along to the club days, and they were especially wanting more younger musicians to join the ranks, she said.

“[We] would like to encourage and support any interested young ones to come along as these are the future of any club.”

As well as club days, the Pareora Country Music Club also hosts weekly practice sessions at Mrs Burnell’s house on Thursday afternoons from 1.30pm, along with a monthly Tuesday evening practice from 7pm on the Tuesday before club day.

The Pareora Country Music Club meets on the second Sunday of every month from 1:30pm to 4:30pm at the South Canterbury RSA, Wai-iti Road, Timaru. Phone Anne Burnell on (03) 684-4381 for more information.

If you would like your club to be considered for this column, email claire.allison@timarucourier.co.nz with some brief information about your club and the name and number/email of a contact person.