About Jan Beets
My love of music and theatre began very early in life. Classical music was always played in my family home. I have always had access to a piano but had no lessons so I taught myself to play, both piano and guitar.
During my five years at Epsom Girls’ Grammar, I was in the choir and school productions. My interest in choral work continued at Hamilton Teachers’ College under the direction of Guyon Wells and Nancy Weir. In 1973 I passed a Stage One Music Course from Waikato University. My entry into this course was achieved by the theory I had taught myself.
In 1976 I began my association with the Operatic World in Te Awamutu where I participated in revues and the shows White Horse Inn and Oklahoma in which I enjoyed the roles of Kathie and Gertie. Raising two young children and living out in the country on a farm meant I had to have a break from theatre. In 1980 I was asked to return to Te Awamutu to perform in the tenth anniversary show.
Once we shifted to Atiamuri, I became involved with the local Progressive Association and served on the Committee for four years. In this time I was asked to be responsible for the carol services. This involved organising pianists, music, joining the accompaniment with the guitar and performing solos.
By 1988 I realised that I was not at all satisfied with my piano playing and began taking lessons from Gloria Taylor, both in Practical and Theory. However, it became readily apparent that playing the piano in public was not my forte. So I continued with lessons but not exams. I began Royal Schools’ Theory at Grade Four and in 1991 I passed Grade Seven.
In 1991 I began vocal training with Barbara Nicholls from Taupo. I passed my first exam, Grade Four with Honours and continued sitting the Trinity exams for voice.
I passed the ATCL Performance Recital exam in 2001. In my classical mode, I have performed in concerts in Rotorua, Taupo, and Hamilton. In 1998, I had a small role in the Opera Waikato production of Suor Angelica. My teacher encouraged me to enter singing competitions, particularly the Lockwood Aria in Rotorua. In 1996, I was third in the regional section for aggregate points for Aria, Lieder and British Art song. In 1999 I donated an Achievement Award to the local singer with the highest aggregate score over all classes.
I returned to the Operatic world in 1989 with Rotorua’s production of The Sound of Music. Since then I have performed in many of the revues and shows that Tauranga and Rotorua Musical Theatres have produced. A particular highlight was The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in which I played the leading role of Miss Mona. In 2009, I played Lady Griddlebone in Cats. Click here for full list of Theatrical Experience.
I have worked backstage with properties, wardrobe and Front of House, in the dining room and on the front desk. I also served on the Committee for four years. I have performed professionally as an actor in two seasons (sixteen weeks) at The Prince’s Gate Hotel Theatre Restaurant in Rotorua.
In 1997, I was asked to be the Musical Director for Leader of the Pack for Rotorua Musical Theatre. This show made a profit of over $9000 for the society. In 1999 I was Musical Director for 70’s Revival (a revue of the music of the seventies). Again this show made a large profit.
In January 2000, we shifted to Tauranga, I joined Tauranga Musical Theatre. I was the Editor for their publication ‘Vocal Point’ from 2001-2011. I was Musical Director for 70’s Revival which was presented in March 2001. Also in 2001 I was Chorus Mistress for Westside on Broadway. With my husband as mentor, I compiled and directed Ladies of the Night (a revue of contemporary songs about the night, for the night, sung in the night by Ladies of the Night). Of the 18 ladies in the cast, 7 had never been in a show. Click here for Crit from Bay of Plenty Times Both shows made an excellent profit.
I sing with the Pro Scholars Choir. Waipuna Hospice also invites me to sing. Highlights in 2010 were singing at the calendar launch and at Mills Reef for the major fundraising dinner, guest speaker was Jo Seagar, Patron for Hospice New Zealand.
“Thank you for lending your delightful musical accompaniment to the recent fashion show put on by Julie Bourke of Heaven Boutique. Your singing certainly helped transport the audience from Bethlehem to Paris for an evening full of French influence.
Julie has organised three shows for Waipuna Hospice now and with amazing support manages to pull together popular and fun-filled events. Your talent suited the theme perfectly and your contribution to the evening is much appreciated.
We rely on our community to contribute a significant amount to our funding requirements each year. This enables us to provide specialist medical and nursing care, bereavement support, counselling, and contributes to all other day to day costs associated with maintaining our service.
We are very grateful for your support.”