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In 1994 the Nelson School of Music Centennial Festival was spectacularly launched to celebrate 100 years of the School's history. The Centennial Festival was one of the most extravagant Festivals that Nelson had seen and today they strive bring you a programme of musical excellence and a programme that will appeal to as broad an audience as possible.

This year the Nelson Winter Music Festival is to be held from the 11th - 27th July.

Bowater Toyota have been a loyal sponsor of Nelson's iconic School of Music Winter Festival since the late 1990's, just a few years after it began.
Over that time we all have enjoyed a wide range of very talented artists such as Dame Malvina Major, Michael Houstoun, Tim Finn, Dave Dobbyn, The Black Seeds, Nathan Haines, Greg Johnson, Flight of the Concords, The Phoenix Foundation, Kora, Moana & the Moa Hunters, Mike Nock, Shona Laing, Malcolm McNeill, Golden Horse & Hello Sailor to name just a few. 

winter festival of light

In 2014 the 20 year celebration is underway, with Bowater Toyota once again proud to be supporting the festival, and local arts in general.

This year we are specially sponsoring Jezebel of Jazz, a show full of song and story following the life and times of Jazz Legend Anita O'Day, at Old St John's on Sunday 27th July.

Here is a link to the show's Winter Music Festival page: Jezebel of Jazz
You can visit the Nelson School of Music's Winter Festival website here:

Bowater Toyota presents the Jezebel of Jazz

Anita O'Day in Song and Story

Anita O’Day’s hard living has earnt her the title ‘The Keith Richards of jazz canaries’. Born in 1919 she left her unhappy home to join the walk-athons and dance marathons of the Depression. She improvised with black trumpeter Roy Eldridge in ‘42, kicked a 16-year heroin habit and released her last album at age 84, three years before her death in 2006.

Wellington actress Liz Kirkman brings Anita to life, as her chequered past flashes before her. Supported musically by Anita Schwabe on piano, Janelle Salisbury on double bass and Lauren Ellis providing percussion. Written by Kelli Greene Caldwell and directed by Jacqueline Coats.

Liz kirkman
Photo by Isaac Cleland and Ryan Gray-McCoy, 25/26th February 2014, @ the BATS Theatre Wellington.

Kirkman is mesmerizing…’Sweet Georgia Brown’ accompanied by subtle percussion is especially hypnotic.  Theatre Review

Bowater Toyota is proud to be able to bring you this brilliant show on Sunday 27th July at Old St John's in central Nelson.
Here is a short piece from the performance, starring Liz Kirkman as Anita O'Day.

 If you like that, you will love the whole show - keep on reading to see about ticket prices and get to know a little more about jazz legend Anita O'Day.

Welcome to the 20th Nelson Winter Music Festival


Nelson Winter Music Festival
11-27 July 2014

Welcome to this our 20th Nelson Winter Music Festival

This, our 20th Winter Music Festival, is the one that almost wasn't! We're not in our lovely auditorium, closed for earthquake strengthening and a much needed upgrade, but we're on stage with a wonderful programme that reflects the depth of musical talent in Nelson, plus some winning highlights from out of town.

Nelson's known for its creativity, and this is not just confined to the arts. Last year Eelco and Ali Boswijk took a creative entrepreneurial leap by buying Old St John's, where we will be staging most of this year's shows. It has magnificient acoustics that will keep all you music lovers happy, and will provide a beautiful setting for classical shows like our chamber concert from La Belle Alliance as well as for more contemporary concerts...I know Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashen just can't wait to perform there.

There are several concerts  you won't want to miss: Graham Wardrop sings his own original music this time, the Nelson Symphony Orchestra pays tribute to the composers who died so tragically in WWI, Jezebel of Jazz takes us into the edgy world of Anita O'Day, and if if you've never come to our Silent Movie night accompanied by The Nelson Jazz Quartet, put that on your list.

Do take time for a wander to Albion Square where we present Jeu Play, a container of strange music-making instruments that will engage and will the wonderful Light Nelson, right next door in Queen's Gardens.

Meet the Thomas Oliver Band

The Thomas Oliver Band, affectionately known by fans as The T.O.B., have taken modern rock by the collar and shaken the soul back into it. The T.O.B. seamlessly fuse genres and bend the rules.

Their debut album, Baby I'll Play, blends grinding blues beats with clean folk melodies, and slips solid rock into big-chorused country / roots ballads.


The strength of this critically acclaimed album scored them the Best New Zealand Blues and Roots album 2011 on iTunes and saw the album debut at #12 on the New Zealand Music Charts.

    “When I finally saw the T.O.B. live, I got that feeling that you get when you witness something special. Chops, guts, self-belief and taste, rough and smooth, they've got it all.”
    — Peter Urlich

Thomas Oliver and company came together over the course of 2005, through a shared love of Dave Matthews Band and The Roots. Originally a trio, The T.O.B. expanded to a five-piece in 2007 after Thomas met sax player, "Mowgli", at a skatepark. "We are all tight friends who share a passion for good music, skating, surfing, getting drunk and having a good ol' time," says Thomas Oliver, “but all 5 of us are also quite different, which adds to the dynamic when we come together musically."

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