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The Gisborne Photo News



San Rio
The Band Behind the Stars

Karen Hollis, the lead vocalist with San Rio has been singing for almost half her life. Daughter of Rose and Sam Hollis, she attended Te Karaka, Te Hapara, Ilminster and Gisborne Girls' High before working at Pittar and Barker and a stint at Mt. Maunganui. On returning to Gisborne she joined Vision Hire, later to become Group Rentals. Her two children are Jason (24) and Kelsi (7) and Karen now spends time breeding and showing German Shepherd dogs out at her country home where the family can enjoy the peace and quiet away from the fast lane. Her singing career began about 17 years ago when partner Stuart was asked to drum at the Country Music Club competitions and after rehearsals Karen stood in a corner and attempted to sing. Two weeks later she was entered in the East Coast Talent Contest and won. This was just the start. The first group she joined was the "Dynamics" providing music at dances and nightclubs. In 1978 the first San Rio evolved consisting of Paul, Jason, Mark, Bruce, Stuart and Karen. (No surnames as Karen does not bother with these). Bruce left and Mark and Paul headed to England so Pete Sutherland and Maurice Priestly filled the gaps. Maurice later left leaving the present lineup which has now been a team for close on 15 years with 10 of these as resident band at the Sandown. San Rio represented Gisborne on the Palmerston North Telethon and reached the finals of the TVNZ talent quest programme "Threshold". They have backed so many international and local acts including Dick Emery, Billy T, John Pertwee, Ray Wolf, Brent Brodie and Suzanne Prentice. After Kelsi's birth Karen and the boys almost called it a day. Instead with a new repertoire they decided to freelance and do something once a month. The public demanded the old songs back and now, thanks to public demand, a part of Gisborne culture is on stage every weekend. Karen believes the band is like a family with a special understanding that comes from working together as a unit to bring pleasure to hundreds. The day this talented bunch of entertainers stop enjoying themselves is the day they will quit. We can only hope the stars will remain in their eyes for a long time to come.


San Rio (L to R): Jason Grout (keyboards), Pete Sutherland (Bass guitar), Karen Hollis (Vocal), Stuart Rhodes (Drums).


Stephen Jones

McGARVA ~ WHITE: Patricia, daughter of Irene White married David, son of Robyn Goodall and Fred McGarva. The couple were attended by (L to R) Robert Johansen, Diane Harvey, Rachael Harvey and Ross Niven.

Photography by Stephen Jones

PATTIE ~ STEELE: Bridget Steele and Bruce Pattle were married at Tokotorutapu Church, Manutuke and have made their home in Blenheim. Attendants were (L to R): Fiona Johnston, Catherine Andrews, Jonathan Tallott and Andrew Murray (reclining).