Queenstown risked losing its international violin competition if it weren’t for the pending $3 million upgrade to the Memorial Hall.
Competition sponsor and local mega-jeweller Sir Michael Hill, pledging an undisclosed amount, holds early rounds of his biennial competition in the hall.
Hill labels it “a diabolical building” with poor acoustics and says it’s embarrassing having contestants used to major concert halls play there.
“If there hadn’t been a change, we were faced with the ugly position that we’d have had to have moved it out of town which would have been a tragedy.”
Queenstown already misses out on a lot of classical concerts because the hall’s unsuitable, Hill says.
Apart from his personal donation, he’s also shouting the proceeds from last Sunday’s Winter Festival hall recital by his 2011 competition winner Russian Sergey Malov.
Hill will also raise money by putting on a motivational speech later in the year.
Meanwhile, local jetboat company K Jet is donating $5000 to the upgrade.
Two other adventure operators have also stumped up.
NZONE has also committed $5000 and Ngai Tahu Tourism – which operates Shotover Jet, Dart River Jet Safaris and Hollyford Track Guided Walks – is putting in an unspecified amount.
The Memorial Hall Trust estimates it needs another $200,000 to meet its $3m target.