History 2001 – 2009

2001

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2001 brought a new millennium, and also the “Gang that wouldn’t quit”! The Show itself featured a return to the poignant message of Scott of Antarctica, and the difficult transition from the lighter-hearted moments of the beginnings of the expedition with its multiple Penguin appearances, to the serious message gained from the failure of the venture. Wrap that up with Gumboots, Frogs (once more) in boxes, Angus MacDonald, Neptune, Godspell in clown makeup, and finish it off with the inspiration of You Can Be Your Own Hero, and you have a very powerful recipe for success. Add to that a Gang who really enjoyed each other’s company to the extent that they were still meeting months after the Show came to an end – a very special time to be remembered and treasured for us all.

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2003

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2003 was marked by one of the largest casts we have ever put on stage – 103 people faced the audience in the finale. Again, new songs were written – perhaps the most popular being Flame On Flame – and with lively choreography and colourful costumes, makeup and lighting this show well deserved its accolade as “the best Gang Show in the country” for this year. New challenges were met and overcome, and the show onstage was augmented by clever orchestrations and a diverting percussionist with a wide range of special effects. From the audience standpoint, a true success, and one which has raised the bar for us as we tackle Shows for the future.

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2005

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2005 was a real challenge as we decided on a multimedia format which required two screens, “text” messages to appear independently on each at one point, and a specially prepared video to be shown as a background to a major section of the second half as we paid tribute to the involvement of New Zealanders in Word Wars I and II. In a stellar show it is hard to pick highlights; among the many great moments perhaps our hippy dance-in to complete the first half, (leaving the audience wanting to join us behind the curtain) is a particular memory. Spectacular lights, costumes and makeup all provided a showcase in which the cast shone and we earned our place as “best in the country” again.

On a sadder note, 2005 saw the loss of two people who have been important in the history of ACGS. Gordon Hinds, who as “Kim” was our Gang Show Scout Leader for a number of years, lost his battle with cancer – and John Haynes, our Sound Engineer, long-time supporter, and father of two of our cast, died suddenly while overseas. A large number of the Gang attended the funerals of these great people, who will be sadly missed by us all. May they rest in peace, and rise in glory.

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2007

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2007 was one of those years when a significant number of those we expected back both in cast and team failed to materialise – and when we were confronted with the reality of just how far Scouting in New Zealand was falling in membership. But the year held two important anniversaries – 100 years of Scouting, and 75 years of Gang Show. So we rolled up our sleeves and got on with it, and the result was outstanding. We paid tribute to the Founder with a B-P lookalike who (mostly) remembered what he had to say, his Lady wife (who lost her voice), and skipped through the years of Entertainment from 1907 to 2007. Dancing Tables made a repeat appearance amongst Flying Machines, Beach Boys and Razzle Dazzle, ending up with an encore from the finalé of High School Musical which brought the House down. A Show to remember, followed up by a DVD to remember it by!

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2009

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2009 brought the fortieth year of our Show, and in many ways it was a fitting anniversary. The Show itself encompassed Musical Genres as a theme, and we ranged from Big Band to the Beatles, from Beethoven to Broadway, and from the Black and White Rag to Blame it on the Boogie. A number of people felt it was a crowning achievement in terms of the quality and visual spectacle of the programme – but that is a really hard call to make with all that history behind us! As Scouting turns a corner in what for a couple of decades has been a remorseless decline, and begins to look to a future which is brighter, we’re proud of the part we’ve played in keeping the light burning and pointing the way to a time of renewed growth and achievement. ACGS 2009 was a milestone on the pathway we’ve travelled together.

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