The biggest line-up of musical entertainment ever has been confirmed for this Easter’s Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow.

Returning after an absence of 20 years is the Royal New Zealand Air Force Show band. They will be joined for the first time by the United States Air Force Band of the Pacific, a newly-created Wanaka singing group, ‘The Bombettes’ and the Wanaka Ukulele Orchestra.

The RNZAF band is made up of part-time reservists who all have day jobs outside the Air Force ranging from veterinarian nurses to bankers and graphic designers.

The band is promising a wide-ranging programme of music at the Airshow including marches, pop music, jazz and movie themes. In keeping with the country feel of the Airshow the Warbirds stage is the deck of a truck supplied by local sponsors, Upper Clutha Transport.

The United States Air Force Band of the Pacific is made up of two groups – one based in Hawaii and the other in Japan. The ensemble coming to Wanaka is out of Hickham Air Base in Hawaii and plays a range of music from Elton John to Van Halen and Lady Gaga to Lorde.

Over the years the US Air Force Band of the Pacific has played at various events in some 36 countries around the Pacific.

Meanwhile, a new addition to the Warbirds Over Wanaka entertainment line-up will be the “Bombettes”. This local all-female singing group replaces the “Frankie Singers” who, after a long association with the airshow, have disbanded. Wanaka singer and musical director, Katrina Bristow, has formed the new group. “It’s been great fun getting the four of us together and working up an act which will hopefully continue the fine tradition started by the Frankies.”

Along with Katrina, the “Bombettes” feature Joanne Waide, Catherine Short and Parisa Okhovat. They are putting together an extensive repertoire of songs including all-time favourites such as Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, GI Jive, Chattanooga Choo Choo and the White Cliffs of Dover.

The group is rehearsing hard at the moment and being fitted out with their WWII service uniforms.

And last, but not least, making a return to the stage at Warbirds 2020 will be the Wanaka Ukulele Orchestra. This group first performed at WOW two years ago and had such a good time they want to be involved again, bringing their unique brand of up-beat music to the event. The 12-piece Ukulele group will be playing on the main stage but will also be performing pop-up gigs out around the airfield.


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