Frances Hodgkins Retirement Village resident George Bulleid gives New Zealand Symphony Orchestra violinist Beiyi Xue some tips yesterday. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Even New Zealand Symphony Orchestra musicians are reluctant
to argue with someone who has played an instrument for 70
So, NZSO first violin Beiyi Xue, of Wellington, was only too
happy to let 97-year-old violin veteran George Bulleid take a
bow at Frances Hodgkins Retirement Village yesterday.
And Mr Bulleid was anything but retiring when given the
chance to play second fiddle.
"I haven't done that for many years," he said with a broad
"The last time I played was about 16 years ago. I was an
inspired amateur for more than 70 years, but I always loathed
Ms Xue and NZSO colleagues violist Belinda Veitch, assistant
sub-principal emeritus cellist Brigid O'Meeghan and first
violinist Ursula Evans put on a one-hour performance at the
rest-home and had afternoon tea with residents.
"It's lovely to be able to bring music to people," Ms
"The spectrum of our orchestral community goes from zero to
100, so it's really nice to come to them, because they can't
always come to concert halls.
"I love these visits. They're a very attentive and
intelligent audience, because they have a lot of knowledge
and have lived long lives. It's very important for them and
very fulfilling for us."
It was something of a homecoming yesterday for Ms O'Meeghan,
who is the great-granddaughter of Chinese pioneer, merchant
and goldminer Choie Sew Hoy, who migrated to Dunedin in 1868.
"I've got a strong connection here, as my mother [Nancy
Hoggan] and grandmother [Violet Sew Hoy] also came from
Dunedin," she said.
Choie Sew Hoy was buried in Dunedin when he died in 1901,
before his body was exhumed the following year to be shipped
back to China aboard Ventnor. The ship sank off Hokianga and
his remains, along with the majority of 498 other bodies,
The NZSO played its final 2012 Dunedin concert, "Beethoven
7", at the Regent Theatre last night.