Arrowtown’s swinging in spring

3 minutes read
Posted 25 October, 2023

Music maestro Peter Doyle

This weekend, Queenstown Jazz Orchestra will perform big-band and swing dance classics to get your feet moving. The Bayleys Arrowtown Spring Swing dance will take place at Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall. It’s a charity event with all proceeds going to Arrowtown Community Preschool.

Sixteen talented musicians make up Queenstown Jazz Orchestra, who have been playing for approximately 10 years. This year, they will be joined by the local collective of singers including Rozy Winstone and Emma Pullar, who will share their voices as ‘The Barber Anns’, singing a mix of acapella, barbershop and jazz.

The orchestra was originally formed by music maestro Peter Doyle in 2011 as he rounded up a group of jazz musicians in the region. Doyle’s children attended the Arrowtown Community Preschool, so he was excited to get involved once again.

“We had such a blast last year and the band just love getting together to perform for a great cause plus having the mums from the preschool take the lead on organising this event and securing sponsors is invaluable, as it means we can focus on the music and entertainment,” Doyle says.

“The mums of Arrowtown sure know how to get things done.”

It’s a real family event with Doyle’s son, Tim, kindly helping to create the marketing material for the event. Emily O’Leary is one of the mums of the preschool and part of the organising committee. She’s happy to help and say with the organising and says that they’re expecting approximately 100 people this year.

“We like to encourage people that it is just a really nice night out, and the talent is outstanding,” O’Leary says. “To see an orchestra, 16-piece band on stage, it’s quite a sight to see and hear. We definitely think the value is in the ticket, at $65 a head, you get your complimentary beverage, you get the cheese board, you get ice cream, and you get the entertainment. It’s a pretty good thing and it all goes back to the preschool – every single cent.”

Upon arrival at the hall, guests will be greeted at the door and will have time to mingle while enjoying their welcome beverage and nibbles. Once everyone is settled in, the band will kick off with Doyle driving the night. People are encouraged to socialise and dance, and the hall will have bar leaners set up for those who would just like to stand and tap their feet.

“It’s all those 1940s big band classics from the Swing era. They will play for about half an hour, and then this year we’ll have the Barber Anns, who will sing, and they do have accompanying instrumentation with them. They’ll do a little set and then the band will jump back out and play for another half an hour, and then the singers will come back for a few songs, and then the band will play until the end.”

One thing O’Leary noticed last year was that the night was a nice fusion of those wanting to sit and appreciate the music, and those that wanted to dance and socialise. The event couldn’t have happened without the support of the community and local businesses. O’Leary and all involved are enormously grateful to the principal sponsor, Bayleys Arrowtown, and delivery sponsors Amisfield, Todd and Walker Law, Alpine Milk Queenstown and Chard Farm. She also wants to acknowledge all those involved in the event organisation, who have generously given back to the preschool. All funds raised will go back into the school and help to maintain it.

“It just needs that upkeep and a bit of a facelift, hence the ‘Spring Swing’, give it a spring clean,” O’Leary says.

The band are always welcoming of expressions of interest – they’re especially in need of trumpet and trombone players – if you’re interested you can get in touch through their website

Pop on your dancing shoes for the Bayleys Arrowtown Spring Swing Dance will be on Saturday, 28 October, at Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall.
Tickets are $65 and include a beverage and cheese board on arrival – they can be purchased at


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