14 Sep
14 September 2018

Manfeild tattoo moment recalled

SEVEN years and four shows on, it remains the moment that captures the spirit of an epic Manfeild Stadium occasion returning on September 30.

The grand finale moment of the 2010 Highland Tattoo at the Feilding venue … all performers take the stage; the pipes are skirling, drums beating.

And leading this ensemble, the tall Drum Major, this time in the company of a wee cherubic boy, also dressed in full Highland regalia.

It’s easy to imagine that everyone there would remember the day … yet, actually, the one who made the moment, who took the hand of a friendly stranger and walked into the spotlight is quietly pleased it was caught by the event photographer.

Dylan Jones giggles when he sees an image by Palmerston North’s Gary Rodgers, used as the centrepiece of the poster promoting this year’s show.

The Kapiti 10-year-old can be excused for having no memory of that day. He was, after all, just 22-months-old at the time.

But he has recall of the tattoos since, as he – like Jason Hancock, whose hand he took – are regulars of this grand show. In the next, Dylan reprised his role, but this time with a miniature set of bagpipes.

In others since, he has been a dancer, a role he’ll continue in the 2018 event with his sister, Daisy.

Plenty more familiar faces will be at this celebration of Celtic tradition involving more than 300 regional and national performers and crew with a display space configuring so that the audience seats on three sides of a quadrangle, with the fourth side being the traditional component of a Scottish castle.

Headlining two hours of entertainment in the Manawatu’s largest indoor multi-events stadium is Suzanne Prentice, who has become a huge supporter and friend of the show since that inaugural 2010 event. Re-joining her this year is another country music legend, Craig Adams.

On top of this, the usual retinue of  pipe bands, highland dancers, singers, kapa haka groups, a choir and stage band, a marching team, military vintage vehicles, and performing horse riders along with other animals, plus vehicles.

As always, it aims to be a fantastic family show with a broad, entertaining, choreographed thematic in which every minute will be special.

The tattoo is organised by Sheran Hancock, Jason’s wife and a Feilding identity whose cheery confidence that an event drawing upon elements of a centuries-old military tradition would be popular locally has always been borne out by the bumper attendance.

Her affection for the sounds of Scotland is shared by numerous involvers, including the family and friends whose participation in that initial event led to the debut by a wee lad who’d been brought along by his grandmother, Ann Middleton and her sister and brother-in-law, Marion and Roy Hitchcock.

All were at that time performing and are today still involved in Dylan’s life, with Roy his piping coach and Marion his dance teacher.

In the 2010 show, Dylan had been backstage, in his pushchair and looking keen to join in the fun so Marion asked him if he’d like to take Jason’s hand and take a little walk out to see the audience. The rest you know …

Mrs Hancock is enthusiastic about returning to Manfeild; the space offered by the stadium makes for a fantastic atmosphere.

Manfeild Park Trust chief executive Julie Keane says the tattoo is a core activity for the Celtic Spirit Group, of which Mrs Hancock is a long-standing involver, and provides a rare opportunity to enjoy regional and national entertainers of the highest calibre.

“This will be the fifth tattoo at our venue. It’s a spectacular showcase of talent that lends itself very naturally to our venue whose appeal is also broadened by being held at a family-friendly time.

“It is intrinsically a community event – it is for, and largely performed by, a diversity of exceptional talent from within our local area, and Sheran has a knack for bringing out the best of what we have to offer.”

Manawatu Tattoo.jpg

Caption: Dylan Jones, 10, and Jason Hancock look at the advertising poster for the 2018 Highland Tattoo at Manfeild Stadium on September 30.


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