Marking up 50 in fine style

Sarah Watkins will perform with Michael Houstoun in Te Awamutu on Sunday. Photo: Lydia Sewell

The Te Awamutu Music Federation (TAMF) will mark its half-century this weekend with a 50th Celebration Concert of solos and duets featuring renown pianist Michael Houstoun and collaborative pianist Sarah Watkins.

Sunday afternoon’s concert at St John’s Anglican Church will also feature the launch of an anniversary book compiled by Sue Baker.

She has spent many months researching TAMF’s 50 years of staging concerts for the Te Awamutu community, filling the 80-page publication with stories, photographs, profiles and details of performers through the years.

The book’s title has been kept under wraps until this weekend and will be announced at the concert.

New Zealand-born Michael Houstoun, who was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2012, has some history with TAMF.

In 1987 he inspired the committee to purchase a concert piano, and after much community funding and a contribution from
the Waipā District Council, he chose a piano and was the first to perform on it at The Woolshed.

Since then, he has played a further eight times in Te Awamutu.

He has performed internationally for many years and among many other accolades and awards, received the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.

Accompanist and chamber music aficionado Sarah Watkins has also performed extensively nationally and internationally.

Currently on the teaching staff at the University of Auckland, she has received numerous awards throughout her career and was named the Classical Artist of the Year in 2022.

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