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International artist to play at Osmanthus Gardens

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

International artist Annie Gong - a one woman orchestra - is due to arrive in Hastings tomorrow, to play at the Lighting of the Osmanthus Gardens lantern festival on Friday and Saturday.

Based in New Zealand but playing internationally until COVID-19 grounded her last year, China-born Gong has spent the last 12 months thrilling Kiwi audiences with her blend of Chinese fusion, classical pieces, and rock music, on piano accordion.

Festival organiser, Hastings District councillor Kevin Watkins, said Gong, who started playing the instrument at age five and trained at the Tianjin Conservatory of Music, had performed with major symphony orchestras all over the world, from Beijing to New York.

"I am delighted to have someone of Annie’s calibre coming to Hastings to share her musical talent with us at our lantern festival. I have no doubt that visitors to the garden will be rapt when they hear her."

The festival opened on Monday night [April 12] and runs through until Sunday night, from 6.30pm to 9.30pm, in the Osmanthus Gardens in Cornwall Park, Hastings. By the end of the second night, nearly 2000 people had already streamed through the gardens, with the big nights still to come.

The lanterns are strung up over twice the area of previous years, with more than double the number of lanterns. The festival dates had also been extended, from three days to seven.

"This year we are celebrating our district’s 40 year Sister City relationship with Guilin in China. The gardens were built through that relationship, so it’s fitting that we make this year’s festival as wonderful as possible," said Mr Watkins.

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