Scaling the heights

He may have been a latecomer to singing, but Tim Beveridge has certainly made up for lost time

Singer Tim Beveridge's happiness rating is off the scale. Born and bred in Rotorua, Beveridge has received recognition overseas as a finalist in the BBC Voice of Musical Theatre in Cardiff and has had offers from London's West End. He has chosen, however, to postpone his overseas career and come home, to fulfil his dream of recording an album.

"It was simply a case of being a New Zealander to the hone and wanting to do the album here. It has come about as a result of the support of many people and it's that support that has encouraged me to come home.

"There is a huge amount of talent here, at least as good as anywhere in the world. I believe we can do it all here."

The album, Singer, is largely classical with songs ranging from Broadway to swing to classical pop, and features the 80piece New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, who "really know how to awing". Singer has proved an instant success, debuting at No. 6 in the New Zealand music charts in the first week of its release and now sitting at No 11.

Beveridge, whose voice has been described by a top British reviewer as peerless, is typically modest. He puts much of the reason for the album's success down to the beautiful arrangements by 85yearold orchestrator Russell Garcia, and Christchurch’s Tom Rainey and Richard Marrett, and its producer Eddie Rayner, of Split Enz and EN7.SO fame.

Now in his mid 30s, Beveridge is a relative latecomer to the stage. He sang in his first musical, Evita, with the Rotorua Operatic Society at the ripe old age of 23.

This was the first time anyone among his family and friends had heard him sing. "My mother was very nervous as she waited for the curtain to come up. Dad said she was clutching the arms of the seat so hard tier knuckles turned white, She was petrified that I would make a fool of myself."

Beveridge, who had been practising law for two years before becoming a professional musician, says that his desire to sing was a well kept secret, mainly because he was unsure himself about his ability.

"It was also not a cool thing then for guys to sing or act. I had three older brothers and I played rugby at school. It would not have gone down well. I did, however, learm the piano from when I was seven."

He says he was actually hooked from the first musical show he saw as a 14 year old. "I thought it looked like a lot of fun and I promised myself that I would give it a go one day. I knew 1 would never forgive myself if I didn't at least try. At that age you think anything is possible, but it took me until I had left school and university before I had the guts to do it."

He went on to understudy and then perform the roles of the phantom and Raoul in a Sydney production of The Phantom of the Opera, as well as principal roles in such shows as Jesus Christ Superstar, Me and My Girl, and Evita.

A regular performer with Dame Malvina Major, Beveridge has also toured with Hayley Westenra and performed with Sir Howard Morrison.

Last year he costarred with fellow New Zealander Jonathan Brooke Densem and the Christchurch Symphony in Lock. Stock and Two Smoking Baritones. It was after this performance in Christchurch that Beveridge met his Christchurch girlfriend, a Fendalton teacher.

"Friends dragged her backstage because they were sure we would get on, and I guess they were right. I certainly seem to be spending a lot of time in Christchurch which can only be good."

Another incentive for coming to Christchurch is Beveridge's ongoing passion for rugby. He says he is thinking about switching allegiances to the Crusaders.

"I don't, have any real allegiances to other provinces. I was born in Rotorua, went to university in Dunedin, and live in Auckland. Anyway it makes sense to back such a fantastic winning side. The whole team is awesome."

 

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