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The Formative Years

Peter ReillyPeter began singing before he’d learned to talk.  His musical parents were especially fond of gypsy music. Peter is the eldest of Jim and Jan’s six sons. From a very young age the boys got in on the act as The Gypsies performed cabaret in Auckland’s top 70’s venues.

During a family holiday in 1965, Peter visited St Peter’s School in Cambridge. He enrolled in 1966 at the age of 9 and within a few months became the youngest member of the famed St Peter’s Boy’s Choir.

‘The choir had reached its dizzying heights in 1966 under Guyon Wells.  Guyon put St Peter’s on the educational map with a superb choir and a level of excellence that was almost unbelievable.  The choir toured the country, was on national television and released records’- Mark Eyres

On returning to Auckland in 1969, Peter Godfrey asked Peter to sing Pie Jesu (Faure’s requiem) with the Dorian Singers at the newly constructed Anglican Cathedral in Parnell. The performance was recorded live and broadcast on radio nationwide. There are a few rare LP copies of this performance. If you find one, be prepared for a auditory feast!

Peter recorded his first solo album (Wish upon a Star) with the help of veteran New Zealand entertainer, Max CryerShortly after this, in February 1970, he performed a track from the LP in a live nationwide telecast (Super Pop 70) attended by a young Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Western Springs Stadium. Despite awful weather 0ver 10,000 hardy souls were there to celebrate New Zealand’s best local pop artists, in the rain.

To earn a bit of extra pocket money, Peter and his five brothers joined their parent’s cabaret group, ‘The Gypsies’, entertaining in Auckland’s top night spots through the 70s. It included appearances on Happen Inn, The Ray Columbus Show and Town and Around. At 14, while performing songs from Peter’s newly released 45 on ‘Happen Inn’, his voice broke. He very quickly disappeared off the NZ music scene to pursue other interests. While at Auckland Grammar he played Rugby, won the Drama prize, and learned Classical Guitar.

Peter attended the Auckland Medical School from 1975-79. After qualifying with a BHB (Bachelor of Human Biology) and MBChB (part 1) he returned to the performing arts teaching music at the NZ Guitar Academy from 1980-83. He began performing in various jazz rock ensembles (The Persuaders, Persia, The Incurable Romantix) and in 1984, joined the NZ cast of Evita to tour Hawaii.

These days Peter performs as a solo singer-guitarist or with local Waiheke Island ensembles, The Buzz Bars and Silverblue .