Spotlight on Aroha Thompson

Spotlight on...
with Janne GuitarGirl

Originally from Hawke's Bay, and one of 14 siblings, Aroha remembers singing to her mother as a child.

She sang gospel songs at church and, although her father was an entertainer, she remembers hiding in the music room at school to try out all the instruments.

She got more involved in performing when she joined a country music club in her mid-30s, and sang until her usual guitarist told her he was moving overseas so she had 'better learn guitar'.

In Hastings, she was asked to form a band. Five-piece Findeen Time played four days a week over a seven year period, entertaining at the Soundshell during the Napier Art Deco festival, and backed country artists Joy Adams and well-known yodeller Roger Tibbs.

Aroha encouraged five-year-old Hannah Cosgrove and her brother Dan to perform for a fundraising event, and also encouraged young Abigail Christodoulou. When Abby's backing tracks weren't right, Aroha and her band taught her songs so they could give her confidence to play live.

Hannah and Abigail were later to join forces, went on the TV show The X Factor and now perform together as Mae Valley. Aroha was also a radio announcer in Hastings for eight years. She interviewed Isla Grant and the Topp Twins, and helped set up the Ukelele Underground, which is still a monthly event.

Aroha moved to Tauranga six years ago and, with Sheryl Bond and Eric Scott, their band @ Ease will play as guests for The LMM Club at the Brew on Sunday, December 10 from 2.30-5.30pm.

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