Trevor Jones will perform at the Parlour Piano Bar as part of the Bread & Circus festival in Christchurch.
Cabaret pianist Trevor Jones moved to New Zealand from Australia just two months before the Covid-19 lockdown.
Once it took hold, he found himself alone in his Christchurch apartment in a new country and unable to perform for audiences as he had for years around the world and as host of the Piano Bar at Adelaide Cabaret Festival since 2015.
So he decided to stream his free-wheeling and interactive cabaret piano show almost every night on Facebook.
* Topp Twins take on Kiwi water issues and take to the Christchurch stage
* 2021 brings plenty for Christchurch residents to look forward to
* All the highlights of That Bloody Woman’s Luke Di Somma
* Shortland St actor and playwright Victor Rodger’s confronting cabaret
“It was a lifesaver in lots of ways,’’ he said. “It was a way to stay sane.”
Now he is bringing those skills to the real world with his first cabaret piano bar performance in Christchurch.
Jones will perform for the next two Sundays at the OGB bar in the central city, playing audience requests as part of the Bread & Circus – Backyard Buskers Festival.
“It is very much that interactive, old school, sing-along piano bar. Everything I play is by request. The audience determines what the night is.”
“You never know what you are going to get. It could be show tunes or pub rock. It is whatever the audience wants.
“Sing along with me if you know it, or shut up if you don’t, as the old joke goes.”
Jones moved to Christchurch in late January to take up a new role as programme director at music theatre school NASDA.
When the lockdown came in late March, he had to quickly move all his teaching online.
“It was just insane.
“Once we got to level three I realised I had been alone in my house working online for longer than I had been doing in-person teaching in New Zealand.”
Jones said he loved the spontaneity and the buzz of playing piano in bars.
“It is not about the performing it is about interacting and engaging with people.
“I love the bar buzz – when the bar is abuzz with chatter – but then there are those moments when they are with you.”
He said in all his years of being a piano man there was one request that always popped up.
“When people see a man sitting at a piano there is one song by Billy Joel that comes up every 10 seconds. I have a rule that I will play it only once a night.”
He also loves the little surprises that can turn a performance into a special night. At one performance in Adelaide someone asked if their friend could perform a song with him.
He was sceptical at first, but then it turned out they were backing singer Vivian Sessoms, who had performed with everyone from Michael Jackson to Donna Summer and P Diddy.
Jones has tentative plans to find a regular spot to perform in Christchurch with his piano and deep roster of songs.
“It has got to be exactly the right place. It is about finding the right place and the right way to do it.
“It has got to be about connection. That is what live performance is all about.”