12 Buckets are delighted to introduce you to Retro Rockets, who will be performing classic hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s at Bassendean on the Green on Saturday 28 November 2015. So come along prepared to get your dancing shoes on on!
Retro Rockets began life as Reggie and the Sea Change more than a decade ago, when Kosmic Sound introduced the Weekend Warriors concept to Perth. This initiative aimed to bring together musicians who were keen to reignite their interest in playing rock'n'roll. Neighbours and friends Paul Arns (lawyer/guitar) and Peter Vaughan (physiotherapist/trumpet) signed up, and invited John Nicholls (journalist/keyboard-but-now-drums) to join them. Barry Beard (train driver/bass guitar), who'd never met the others until the band formed, also jumped on board.
After several years of performing together, John switched from keyboards to drums, and his wife Steph (professional musician/keyboard/lead singer) joined the band. John Gilmour (judge/guitar) is a more recent addition to Retro Rockets as are John and Steph Nicholls' daughters, Julia and Lucinda, who have taken up harmony-vocal duties and are talented singer/songwriters in their own right.
Steph Nicholls' musical background is varied and extensive. She conducts, teaches and plays the piano and oboe in symphony orchestras, for touring musicals such as Les Miserables and Wicked, and for touring concerts. Highlights this year have included playing with John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John, and conducting an 'incredible season' of Jesus Christ Superstar. But she sees playing in Retro Rockets as a dream come true.
It combines my love of singing with all the songs I grew up with. And I get to make music with my immediate family and great friends.
Steph's husband John Nicholls - who may be better known for his newsreader voice on 6PR - has an equally long musical history. After learning the electronic organ from the age of 6, he won a music scholarship to Perth Modern School.
I wanted to play the drums; I was given a trombone.
Trombone may not have been his initial instrument of choice, but it did open the door to playing professionally, even after entering the world of journalism. He also maintained his keyboard skills by setting up a synthesiser-based home studio, and about 10 years ago, he finally realised his childhood dream of becoming a drummer.
While John Nicholls says he was blessed with excellent teachers throughout his childhood and teenage years, guitarist John Gilmour was not the recipient of such encouragement. His story highlights the power that a teacher or mentor can have in a child's life - whether that be positive or negative.
When I was 11, the music teacher at my senior school told me that I had no musical ability and regrettably I believed her. I thought she must have known what she was talking about. Words, indeed, are powerful.
And so it was many years before John took up the guitar, after encouragement from 12 Buckets CEO Travis Fitch. His initial motivation was to play accompaniment to a love poem he'd written for his wife.
I found that I loved playing. And if I can say this - I think the music teacher was wrong!
Perhaps it is the discouragement John Gilmour experienced as a child that highlights the work of 12 Buckets, which focuses on a child's strengths - what a child can do, and how they can use that to positively contribute to the lives of others, regardless of their background or circumstances.
Steph Nicholls says:
The work that 12 Buckets are doing is so important, and the commitment that Travis Fitch and his team are putting in to make the organisation succeed is inspiring.
John Nicholls echoes his wife's sentiments:
I'm mightily impressed with Travis's commitment to helping children help themselves in a very practical way. The work the organisation is doing requires a lot of time, resources and money. If I can help raise some cash (and awareness) simply by playing music in a beautiful setting for an appreciative audience, then I'm in!
A supporter of 12 Buckets since its inception, John Gilmour adds:
Playing with the Retros is a great privilege and wonderful fun, so I am getting much more than I am giving in being part of Bassendean on the Green.
I think those of us who become volunteer mentors feel much the same way about the time we spend with the amazing children who are part of 12 Buckets.
So come along to Bassendean on the Green, ready to groove to Retro Rockets playing your favourite golden oldies, while supporting the work of 12 Buckets as it continues to change young lives.