Songs in the Key of Love

Salvation Army Hall, 209 The Parade, Island Bay, Wellington

28/02/2024 - 02/03/2024

NZ Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Musical director and arrangements by Nino Raphael
Accompanied by Andreas Lepper.

Vocal Blokes

Vocal Blokes presents you a night of song and poetry spanning all the many feelings men might feel when falling and failing in love.

Come join us in the Salvation Army Hall in Island Bay as we rediscover the pangs of love and the inevitable heartbreak we all might face.

Conducted by Musical Director Nino Raphael.

Accompanied by Andreas Lepper.

28th Feb – 2nd March. 7:30 pm
The Salvation Army Hall – 209 The Parade, Island Bay.
General Admission $20.00
Concession $16.00
Fringe Addict 2024 $16.00 Ticket
+ 5 $25.00 Ticket
+ 10 $30.00

Music , Spoken word , Theatre , Poetry ,

1hr 10

Vulnerability, trust, joy, passion, love, hope and sadness = masculinity at its very best

Review by Maryanne Cathro 29th Feb 2024

Songs in the Key of Love provides me with a welcome opportunity to revisit the magical world of the Salvation Army Hall in Island Bay. A warm and welcoming space full of instruments and with music seeped into its very bones, it is where Vocal Blokes meet and rehearse.

Their 2024 Fringe offering is a collection of love songs spanning rock and pop music from the 60s to the 90s. Led by musical director Nino Raphael and accompanied by Andreas Lepper’s percussion, this all-bloke choir is an absolute joy.

From the moment we arrive and are shown into the space, it is all smiles and welcome. Our performers are out and about chatting to friends and family in the capacity crowd. Nerves and excitement alike rattle around the walls.

Nino is by some margin the youngest person on stage, yet his natural charisma, musical genius and boisterous conducting make for the perfect leadership of this collection of blokes, and the rapport on stage is contagious.

They are dads, grandads, brothers, uncles and sons. I have never seen so many men singing and performing together live outside of a haka. Vulnerability, trust, joy, passion, love, hope and sadness are all present and unashamedly so. This is masculinity at its very best.

And the music! We hear hits from Stevie Wonder, REM, James Taylor, Frankie Valli, all sung with gusto in 3- and 4-part harmonies. These are generally untrained voices, but wow they can sing.

I often say that singing should be about participation, not just performance – it’s not always about being the next Michael Bublé; it’s mostly about sharing the essential human experience and joy of making music. A group of singers is an entity all of its own and this is a champion choir, not a choir of champions.

Woven through the music are snippets of spoken word – dialogue and poetry that frame these songs as real experiences of love and loss. I am moved to tears several times.

They sway and serenade us with George Harrison’s ‘Something’, rock out with Nino’s electric guitar to REM’s ‘The One I Love’, and dance out into the audience to Wings’ ‘Silly Love Songs’. They nail ‘The End of the Road’ by Boyz II Men, poignant and honest in their performance in a way the original never quite hit.

Enjoying this concert in a space dedicated to Andreas Lepper’s love of music, delivered by men who clearly love to sing in each other’s company, led by Nino who positively exudes his love of music, it’s no wonder the audience at the end are clapping, cheering, hugging and singing as they make their way into the starry Island Bay evening.


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