Motown greats give advice

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Music lovers who attended the Ronnie McNeir and Pieces of the Puzzle performance at the Exchange Hotel earlier this month were not the only ones to benefit from the international act’s visit.

The Motown group also paid a visit to Deniliquin High School the day after its performance to offer some advice and guidance to budding local musicians.

DHS music students had the opportunity to listen to the musicians perform and talk about living and working in music.

They spoke about how they play together as a group of musicians, how they got started in music, how they met and people they have worked with — including Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre.

They also joined Year 11’s music class for an impromptu performance.

During their performance the previous day, wild, windy and wet weather didn’t get in the way of a good night of fun at the Exchange Hotel.

The Cabaret in the Garden event saw a strong crowd get up and dance to classic Motown hits in a once in a lifetime performance.

Luckily the Exchange avoided the brunt of that night’s storm, and with some quick thinking, covered the stage and instrument gazebos with tarps and towels from the kitchen as well as using oil drums, tables and gaffa tape to hold everything down, ensuring the night was a great success.

Ronnie and the Pieces of the Puzzle’s journey to Deni began with the help of Anthony and Neisha’s friends Sarah and Lyle Hodge, who live in Ballarat.

Sarah and Lyle volunteered to collect Ronnie and Pieces of the Puzzle from Melbourne and transport them to and from Deniliquin.

The couple picked up a hire bus early on the Sunday morning, collecting Ronnie and the band from their Melbourne accommodation and were the ultimate ‘tour guides’ for the entire two days.

They kept their eyes peeled for emus, pointing out cockatoos in Echuca and drove the musicians back to their Deniliquin accommodation via Memorial Park for some midnight kangaroo spotting after the cabaret event.