Music Director - Orchestral Conductor - Arranger - Composer - Record Producer



Musicals for Children
Accordion Compositions
Orchestral Compositions
Piano Compositions

Robyn Hood, The Musical
Gary Daverne
Music Director Emeritus - Auckland Symphony Orchestra

Last Night of the Proms 2004

Matakana turns out, Auckland Symphony Triumphs


Past Reviews:

2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1991 - 1999


Ponsonby New Gary Daverne article

Photos and Review from the 2015 Glen Eden Playhouse Theatre production.

Cats of Ponsonby
Reviewed by Joan Reekie

If there is one thing that is almost certain to make people happy it is watching young people having fun on stage. Gary Daverne’s Cats of Ponsonby recently at the Playhouse Theatre in Glen Eden was such an occasion.

Mr Daverne composed the music for Cats of Ponsonby to words and story by Ray Prowse a number of years ago as a vehicle for school choirs, and has now revamped the show for a new generation. Together with Gary’s cousin Christine Daverne who directed, and choreographers James Grant and Jordan Wichman, they have produced a fun musical ably supported by an enthusiastic cast aged from 7 to 16 years, who embraced their feline roles with gusto.

At the beginning of Act One the curtain rose to reveal the various gangs of stray cats (the Alley Cats, Media Mob, Thugs, House Cats and Spice Cats) hungrily waiting outside a restaurant in the faint hope of receiving a meal. Alas, only the well-fed Burmese house cats are invited inside, leaving the Alley Cats to take the risky step of kidnapping a Burmese kitten in order to coerce her sisters into stealing food for them. The Media Mob sniff out a news story and the whole thing escalates into a major cat fight. All is resolved in the end however except that the cats are still hungry.

I must say I was very impressed with the set designed by Stan Henshaw - an alley situated outside the back door of a Ponsonby restaurant, with a large crescent moon lighting the early evening sky and the Sky Tower’s familiar silhouette dominating a distant skyline. Very well done indeed.

The soloists all gave confident performances, the chorus numbers were strong, and the tap dancing segments were particularly enjoyable. The costuming was also very good, turning the stage into a kaleidoscope of colour.

During the interval the Media Mob cats came into the auditorium to ask questions of the audience regarding the supposed kidnapping, a unique experience for those who were not expecting it.

I am so pleased that all these talented young cast members were given the opportunity to perform in such a delightful show and certainly look forward to Gary and Christine Daverne’s next presentation at the Playhouse Theatre.

- Joan Reekie

Photos and Review from the 2014 Glen Eden Playhouse Theatre production.

Last Night of the Proms 2010

Dear Gary

Bravo!!! Absolutely magnificent!!! You've outdone yourself once again.

We thoroughly enjoyed Saturday night - The Last Night of the Proms - and much of the music is still ringing in my ears. The one big night of the year to sing to your hearts content. What a fabulous lineup of artists you put together to complement the ASO and the ASC. That Sasha Whitten-Hannah is incredibly talented. I know his father Alex who must be very proud of a young man like that.

As always, the City of Sails Pipe Band gave it all they had and wasn't the audience very appreciative of their 10 years attendance at the Proms? As were the wonderful Doran Gregory Irish Dancers. Some of them must have been very young girls when they started if they were in the Proms 10 years ago. We would love to hear Ainslie and Danielle more...just a small taste of their beautiful voices. And was it Alan Pitts on the piano?? That was a very nice singalong touch, topped off with the birthday cake.

Gary, what is the name of the first pipe piece where the pipeband came on? That is a particularly strirring piece of music I've heard on a number of occasions and would like to get hold of.

In closing Gary, can I just thank you again most sincerely for your committment to the ASO since 1975, and the wonderful concerts and music you have brought to the North Shore, to Auckland and to New Zealand. Not to mention abroad as well!! It is a magnificent orchestra and your leadership over more than three decades has made it what it is today. We all greatly appreciate your musical talent which results in so much happiness for so many people.

With best personal regards,

Andrew Williams
Mayor of North Shore City

BRUCE MASON CENTRE 19/20 June 2004

Conducted by Gary Daverne O.N.Z.M.

and friends.
Conducted by Leonie Lawson N.Z.C.M.

Reviewed by Jane Smyth

Auckland Symphony Orchestra – Conductor: Gary Daverne, in rehearsal at the Bruce Mason Centre, for the LAST NIGHT of the PROMS with The Doran-Gregory Irish Dancers. Photo by Neil Shepherd

Not one empty seat in a theatre that seats around 1200 people.

Two performances, sold out, five weeks prior to the performances.

An audience came with their flags, their hooters and their whistles. They sang, clapped, stood and swayed, waving their arms, and flags. They dressed up, some painted their faces, the Pearlies were there, in full costume, but most of all they came to be involved, have fun and participate in a total over the top extravaganza.

The orchestra, of some 80 players, was on the stage with the choir and shadow conductor seated in front.

The large choir, of some 140, was in fine voice, responding wonderfully to their guest replacement conductor, Leonie Lawson.

The Auckland Symphony Orchestra were in top form, playing at their best, as was their founder and music director/conductor, Gary Daverne. He also presented, from the podium, the total performance. What stage presence this man has.

In the second half, the orchestra and choir, added to the spectacle by displayed their red, white and blue colours, in the form of coloured wigs, hats, flags and tinsel.

The whole event was a musical spectacle, with brilliant stage lighting, effects, projected pictures and images, along with words to the songs for the audience to join in, as they did with exuberance. Stage manager, Steve Pipes, must take much of the credit, along with his technical, backstage crew.

The three vocal soloists, Madeleine Bruce-Wright, John Stanley and Wayne Daverne, did themselves proud.

The pipes and drums of the City of Sails Pipe Band, with Pipe Major, Bent Ballantyne, and Charlotte, the young sword dancer, were the expected hit.
‘Highland Cathedral’ is a magical musical number, pipes, drums and orchestra all together.

The big surprise for the audience was the Irish Dancers, in ‘Lord of the Dance’. as there was no mention of the dancers on the programme.

Two dancers started out on a cat-walk behind a gauze screen, at the back of the orchestra, with smoke and subdued, silhouetted lighting. The numbers of dancers increased to a straight line of 13. The tempo changed, the screen lifted and the taps were away. Spectacular choreography especially the hand and arm movements. The noise of the taps at times over powered, the not too quiet, orchestra. The audience was stunned so much that they forgot to clap with the music as they usually do. Well done, The Doran – Gregory Irish Dancers.
Encored of course, with clapping.

During ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, the balloons and tickertape fell from the ceiling. The audience had been given streamers at the interval. What a thrill to see all these mature people acting like children. Popping balloons, throwing streamers, have so much fun and pleasure.

Thousands of united, happy people. Very rare and very special.

Thank you, Bruce Mason Centre. Thank you all those involved.

The programme presented was.

1. God save the Queen with Fanfare
2. Youth of Britain - Eric Coates
3. The Heavens are Telling - Hadyn
4. Tarantara (Pirates of Penzance) - Gilbert and Sullivan
5. Trumpet Tune and Air – Purcell
6. The Day of Aranga - Gary Daverne
7. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
8. We’ll Keep a Welcome -
9. Flower of Scotland
10. Colonel Bogey
11. The Yeomen of England
12. Men of Harlech
13. Lord of the Dance


1. Highland Cathedral
2. Scottish Medley
3. James Bond 007 Theme
4. When I'm 64 - Beatles
5. Love Changes Ev’rything (Aspects of Love) - Lloyd Webber
6. Lloyd Webber Celebration - Herod – JC Superstar
7. Go Go Go Joseph - Joe's Dreamcoat.
8. Sailors Hornpipe
9. Rule Britannia
10. Land of Hope and Glory (Pomp and Circumstance No. 1)
11. Jerusalem
12. Now is the Hour.
13. You’ll Never Walk Alone




By Lynette Urlich

Matakana Primary School Hall came alive with the playful wit of conductor Gary Daverne and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra on the afternoon of Saturday May 8th.

Having missed the concert at the Town Hall last week, (and the performance at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna on the 9th being sold out) I determined I was NOT going to miss this one, and it was well worth the one and a half hour drive from Auckland.

I didn’t expect the big turn out – in fact, I had fears I might be relegated to “standing room only” on the deck outside the hall. Thanks to the charity of the lady on the door, I made it inside. (Next year I’m calling ahead)

The programme, devoted entirely to our youth, was vibrant and fun. It began with Eric Coates’s ‘Youth of Britain’. (The third movement of Coates’s ‘The Three Elizabeth’s’) I sat enthralled, with tears in my eyes, and visions of England’s fatherless children of the war years going through my mind. Despite the hardships of war, there was joy and laughter.

The Children’s Overture by Roger Quilter. Based on children’s nursery rhymes including, Girls and Boys Come Out to Play, I Saw Three Ships, Sing a Song of Sixpence, Baa Baa Black Sheep and Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, it brought to mind play grounds brimming with children and mothers bathing babies. Sweet memories of bathing my own children too.

The highlight of this concert was definitely Havanaise by Camille Saint-Saëns, with 15 year old, solo violinist, Amalia Hall. Intricate in parts, Saint-Saëns would be well pleased with Amalia’s treatment of his work. Amalia displays a maturity and an extraordinary sensitivity unusual in one so young. An international prize winner, she has played with this orchestra and others frequently since age. I know we will hear so much more from her in the future.
Amalia graced us with an encore – ‘Hot Canary’ by Paul Nero. Light and slightly jazzy, the kids enjoyed its playfulness.

Fun and laughter followed as Mr. Daverne led us through a tour of the orchestra, introducing each family of instruments along the way. Henry Purcell’s Rondo served well as the vehicle. Informative for the uninitiated in orchestral music and undoubtedly inspiring for the musically inclined. Music is fun, the message well delivered.

The Overture ‘Youth of Auckland’ by conductor Gary Daverne followed. Commissioned by the Auckland Secondary Schools’ Youth Orchestra in 1986, Mr. Daverne’s composition evokes thoughts of young people together – playing team sports, racing horses across hilltops, laughing, loving life, learning – always together. It’s an ideal given voice and brought to life. Conducted this time by assistant conductor Jonathon Baker.

Bob Lowden’s arrangement of ‘Disney Magic’ came next and I believe every adult present sat recalling holiday afternoons in cinemas with snifters and ice creams, just as I did. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah (Song of the South), Candle on the Water (Pete’s Dragon), Chim Chim Cher-ee, (Mary Poppins), A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,(Cinderella), and It’s a Small World, (Disneyland Attraction) were all included.

All fidgeting came to a stop when music from the Harry Potter film by movie veteran John Williams was played. Young and old alike laughed at the witchy pianist (late again) and gasped at the HUGE toy rat. As one of the very few people who have NEVER seen a Harry Potter movie, I resolved within the first 16 bars what my Mother’s Day treat would be. Visions of witches on broomsticks, villains and spells gone wrong abounded while the orchestra played and I can’t wait to see the films.

We all hoped for an encore, and we got one. THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO! Just the right note to close on, rousing, strong and still youthful after nearly 40 years.

Everyone in the hall, orchestra and conductor included, had a wonderful time. For many it was their first experience of live orchestral music and they were suitably impressed. Their chatter as we reluctantly left the hall was evidence of that. Just as our treasured childhood memories endure, this concert will endure also.

Hopefully, with support, the Auckland Symphony Orchestra will return to Matakana. I for one wouldn’t miss it.

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