Peter Hall who lives in the Reading area of Pennsylvania was one time pianist for John Lockett “Johnny” Devlin, MNZM, who in the early 1960’s was an influential New Zealand-born rock musician, known as “New Zealand’s answer to Elvis Presley” 

When he’s not playing the piano in various clubs in PA Peter is writing musicals and his latest is BLUE SMOKE, which evolved from an article written by Kay Blundell who had interviewed Sandra Parata whose father was a US Marine based in Paekakariki during WW II. A passionate romance between her father, John Williams, and Waikanae lass Charlotte, her mother, became a tragedy for their daughter, Sandra, who was ‘deserted’ by both of them when fate intervened during that time. The couple met every chance they could frequently at The Oyster Bar in Wellington where they went to dance. When John’s orders came through to be shipped out they discovered that she was pregnant. The musical looks at their whirlwind romance and the events that followed.

In later years Sandra maintained contact with the US Marines commemoration organizers in New Zealand and still goes to Old St. Paul’s every year to pay her respects to her father and the other marines who were stationed in New Zealand. In meeting with Sandra it became important for her story and no doubt the story of many others from that time to be told and recorded and it was with her blessing that Peter started out on this musical tribute to her, to Charlotte and John, and indeed to all those who served us during World War II.

NOTE: Peter is keen to do a “Work In Progress” presentation late summer in NYC and needs 6 volunteers who would meet once a week and do the presentation for the NZ community. For more information on Peter’s musical, please contact him at peterarhall@hotmail.com

Author: GBA

Retired New Zealand/American/British citizen living in New York City.

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