Flaxwood Festival 2011 Murray John Wood ......  

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A tribute to Murray Wood  —  a great man to have known, and a privilege to have worked with ...

  Murray Wood was the Musical Director of what was to be known originally as Flaxton Festival 2011.  He was tragically killed in the collapse of the Canterbury Television building in the Christchurch Central Business District at 12:51 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011.  We humbly seek to pay a simple tribute to a wonderfully gifted musician, composer, arranger and performer  —  a man who was loved, admired and indeed revered by all whom his life, his music and his selfless generosity touched.  The Festival has been renamed Flaxwood Festival in an endeavour to perpetuate Murray's key involvement in the spirit of this continuum, and as a focal point.  

 
Murray Wood  —  Corporate Animal
Murray began learning piano at age 5, and quickly showed his multi-instrumental talents by knocking out a tune on virtually every instrument available in the school’s collection.  At age 11, he formed his first band called "Murray & the Puppets" playing a lot of early Rock ’n’ Roll and featuring at the Horizon Restaurant and the Rendezvous Dance Hall.  This was a 7-piece guitar band and often featured Murray's sister Lynda on vocals.  At age 12, Murray was employee #1 at Holden Sound Industries and he worked building the famous "Holden Wasp" amplifiers and assembling speaker boxes after school, meeting many musicians and future band members.  Murray switched back to keyboard at age 15 and joined "The Group" which had a 6-nights-a-week residency at the Aranui Hotel (later at the Carlton).  This band also played at the Operation Deep Freeze Base from Friday to Sunday nights after the pubs closed.  In 1972 Murray was offered a 7-nights-a-week residency at the infamous "White Heron Travelodge".
Murray Wood  —  Musical Director
 

  The White Heron gig lasted for 18 years, and on those legendary Sunday nights the band would be augmented by many well-known local musicians, and some of New Zealand's most famous singers and entertainers, happy to be performing in cabaret with the legendary "Murray Wood and Harvest".  


  Murray spent 18 years as a Musical Director for TVNZ, from 1971, working on many successful programmes including "That's Country", and "Playschool".  His interest in technology led to him being an early exponent of computer music on the Apple Macintosh, and he was NZ Synthesizer Demonstrator for Sequential Circuits and Emu Systems.  Murray produced albums for many artists and gained a Platinum Disc with Suzanne Prentice.  He composed and recorded many television themes and jingles, and was in demand as a sympathetic accompanist - performing often with (among others) the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Showbiz Canterbury and supplying accompaniment for CTV shows.  


  Murray John Wood was born in Christchurch on July 29th, 1954 to Jack and Lorna Wood.  He was the eldest of two, and was highly protective of his sister Lynda to whom he remained very close as the years unfolded.  Initially he attended Linwwod Avenue Primary School and then subsequently, Hoon Hay Primary (where he became Dux of the School).  He received his secondary education at Hillmorton High School, and his Tertiary education at The University of Canterbury.  He was a born achiever. A very successful businessman, Murray founded Magnum Mac, which became New Zealand's largest Apple Reseller, and which he sold to Rennaisance Corporation (a publically listed company) then focussing his attentions on Canterbury Television (CTV) where he spent his last 7 years as Managing Director.  Murray was a renowned philanthropist who always had an eye for birds with broken wings.  His incredibly busy life revolved around his family, his business interests, and his music - his family always remained first.  

  Tragically, Murray only lived 56 years.  He is survived by his dearly beloved wife Nicki, and six very talented children, to whom he was dedicated.