Gold Guitars No 37 for Don White

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‘We didn’t know they [Gold Guitars] existed until we formed the country music club; from there we got other clubs’ newsletters and we heard about the Gold Guitars.’

Timaru man Don White will be performing at the MLT New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards for the 37th time next weekend.

Mr White, who began attending the awards in 1981, said his love for country music began when he was just 5 years old.

“I liked country music right from the word go,” Mr White (68) said.

His influences included artists such as Jim Reeves.

Mr White sings, plays the guitar, the banjo, bass and sometimes the harmonica “if it calls for it”.

He co-founded the Pareora Country Music Club, south of Timaru, and from there his relationship with the Gold Guitars in Gore began.

“We didn’t know they existed until we formed the country music club; from there we got other clubs’ newsletters and we heard about the Gold Guitars,” he said.

“There used to be a big contingent of us who would go down and each year we would book out the Falls Hotel – we would book the whole pub out.”

Mr White said to this day he still stayed at the Falls Hotel.

Across the years, Mr White has enjoyed his share of success in the Gold Guitars and made many friends, he said.

“In 1986 I won most entertaining performance, I won the 40-plus gospel in 2002 and I and my friend the late Arthur Matchett won the 40-plus duo five times.”

“We were a duo called ‘The Grandads’.”

“We just used to get up there, enjoy ourselves and be fools and if someone managed to get a highly commended, that was another thing to celebrate.”

He had made many friends throughout his time attending the awards and that and “a general love of music” kept him coming back each year.

“I met a lot of good people over the years.”

To anybody considering entering the awards Mr White said to give it a go for “the fun, the comradeship and the lovely people”.

“Go have a look and enter – go for your love of music and the sheer hell of it and you’ll have a good time.”

Mr White will attend the awards this year with long time attendee and performer Ernie Andrew, who features on Gore’s Hands of Fame statue, he said.