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Gold Guitars - a family tradition
The Cairns family are a
With father Peter at the helm, daughters Jade and Taylor, son
Mason and granddaughter Ella all involved in one form or
another. Wife and mother Shona also plays an integral role in
the music scene, having been part of the Gold Guitars
committee for over 10 years as their media liason person, and
as part of her family's support crew.
Peter moved to Gore in 1982, having sung and entered
competitions for a number of years. He says he had
considered entering the Gold Guitars prior to the shift, but
once living in Gore, there was no longer an excuse.
''I entered for the challenge and as a way to meet people with
lots of encouragement from club members, friends and Pat
Dugan my singing teacher.''
In the early days you had to sing two songs, which for Peter
proved twice the worry.
''It was in the James Cumming Wing, and I remember being
He played guitar for both songs and, being a local, got a great
response from the crowd.
''Hearing my name read out as a finalist was a real buzz and
meant lots of extra practice before the final,'' he says.
''There was some tough competition and I couldn't believe
that I managed to win the male vocal on my first try.
''I was pretty green really.''
Peter hoped he would do okay, but it never
entered his head at the time that winning a
section or even the overall was a
For the 1984 awards Peter had his songs
chosen before Christmas with 'Always On
My Mind' picked for the male vocal
''We were down to one song per section
''I practiced and practiced, even going
down to work to sing in the stairwell
because of the acoustics,'' says Peter.
''I was first on in the final that year, that was
pretty nerve wracking.''
He remembers the audience being on their
feet cheering as he walked down the aisle
with the trophy in his hand.
His family were excited about the win, and
the opportunities it opened up for him, like
That's Country, Tamworth, and the Gold
Guitar Tour with George Hamilton IV and
''I have been playing in The Southerners
backing band at Gold Guitars since 1998,''
''I have also been a judge, appeared on The
Showcase a few times, a Hands of Fame
inductee, a finalist in the NZ Country Music
Awards Country Song Of The Year, and
Winner of the MLT Song Writing Awards
with Debbie Wright.
''And I released a CD ''About Time'' in
Family achievements are particularly
special to Peter, with daughter Taylor
winning Junior, Intermediate and Senior
Gold Guitar Overalls and daughter Jade
winning two senior instrumentals, high on
his list of memorable moments.
''Gold Guitar's is a family event for us,'' he says.
''We are all involved somehow over the weekend and now
granddaughter Ella and son Mason are competing.''
Mason says he has grown up seeing his family involved in the
awards, so now feels he has the confidence to give it a go
''I'm quite nervous because I know the standard is really high
and a lot of the contestants have been entering for years and
have a lot of experience.''
He says preparation for the awards will consist of plenty of
practice, feedback from his family and probably getting a
Taylor on the other hand is an old hand when it comes to the
Gold Guitar Awards, entering her first at just seven years old,
with encouragement from her family, especially her Dad.
She remembers being extremely nervous and shy, but was
lucky to have her Dad playing guitar in the backing band
giving her guidance throughout her performance.
Of her first big win, Taylor can't remember much, but she
does recall how incredibly excited and proud her family were.
''They had all been there supporting me at Gold Guitars since
day one, so I think they were just so happy to see that all my
hard work had finally paid off.
''Dad is the big softy of the family, so he shed a few tears,'' she
Taylor has made many friends at the awards over the years, so
she always looks forward to catching up with them all and
with every member of her family involved the awards are now
''This year there will be three generations present.''
As part of Duo 'The Heartleys', Taylor is keen to continue
pursuing her musical career.
''We have just released our second album ''Talk to Me'' so I
will spend the rest of the year promoting that,'' she says.
''I know that whatever I do in the future, music will always be
a huge part of my life.
''I can't imagine living without it.''
Both Taylor and Peter are looking forward to performing in the
40th anniversary show.
Taylor says it is such a great way to honour the talent that the
Gold Guitars has produced over the last 40 years.
''I can't wait to catch up with a lot of old friends,'' she says.
''I will be performing in the show on the Friday night and then
for the rest of the weekend I will just be supporting my niece
and brother who are both competing in the awards.''
Peter is also very excited about performing in the anniversary
show. He says it will be fantastic to share the stage with other
Gold Guitar winners and showcase some of the talent that has
emerged over the last 40 years.
''Gold Guitars has been a launching pad for many, and for me
it has provided lots of opportunities for my music and helping
others achieve with their music.''
Mason, Taylor and Peter Cairns
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