Shake your Groova thing

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Queenstown band Groova has provided the soundtrack for countless couples enjoying their first dance as husband and wife. 

The hardworking trio has played up to 50 gigs a year in the resort for the past decade – mainly weddings, corporate functions and dinner gigs. 

And with all those romantic requests, Groova has amassed a huge playlist of more than 400 songs. 

All three members – singer Lee van der Schuit, keyboardist Richard Stringer and guitarist Peter Waaka – share the vocals. 

Van der Schuit: “Some of the suggestions the couples come out with I’d never sing otherwise. 

“But once we learn them, we enjoy performing them and they get added to the regular set. It keeps it fresh. 

“With a wedding you always have a nice new captive audience. 

“You get a kick out of it. It’s all about keeping everybody happy because grandma is probably not going to want to hear Nirvana. 

“Richard calls the songs, he reads the crowd very well. We’re able to be pretty loose and go with the flow.” 

The band met while performing in rock ‘n’ roll revival stage show Come On Let’s Go in 2001. 

Ballet teacher Van der Schuit had taken vocal lessons with local showbiz stalwart Margaret O’Hanlon before auditioning for the show and meeting the boys. 

Van der Schuit, now married to Stringer, says they’ve spent a lot of time perfecting their harmonies, with her soulful voice ideal for covers of Dusty Springfield and Joss Stone. 

Stringer, who also fronts The Federation, focuses on rock, blues and soul, while Waaka’s smooth voice takes on the ballads and rock ‘n’ roll numbers. 

“We’re pretty much covers from the 1950s right through to current top 40. 

“It’s a friendly job and we always enjoy performing. It scratches an itch,” Van der Schuit says. 

Catch Groova free at SkyCity Queenstown Casino tomorrow night from 9pm-1am