Cecile Murphy

Full Names:   Cecile Murphy (née Wylde)
Born:   Greymouth
Hometown:   Christchurch
Career Began:   1958 as a vocalist
Groups:   The Sapphires, Dion Shannon and The Shamrocks, Sabra
Worked with:   Ray Columbus, Ray Wolfe, Tommy Adderley, Toni Williams
Residencies:   In Sabra as Vocalist and Keyboardist, Tavern Rachel, Russley Hotel, The Clarendon Hotel, The Hillsborough Tavern, The Zetland Hotel, The Hermitage, The Terminus, Timaru, Noah's Hotel Waitangi Room, The Christchurch Town Hall Restaurant
Shows:   Search for a Star, Nelson Mardi Gras, TV in 1960s
Official Website:   Under Construction
Merit Award

Cecile Murphy ...

Cecile started her musical career as a singer in a new band led by Robin Hope called the Sapphires.  This included Fred Mummery (Piano), Mike Green (Bass), Murray Johnston (Drums).  The band obtained a residency in a local coffee lounge called the Copper Cat in lower High Street in 1958.  Cecile sang solo rock and roll and jazz favourites.  Dion Murphy and Maurice Cook (Cookie) sang duos together but in 1959 Cookie left the band to take a position with Max Merritt and the Meteors.  At that time The Sapphires disbanded and reformed to become "Dion Shannon and the Shamrocks" with both Dion and Cecile singing solo and duo songs.  The Copper Cat was one of the original night spots in Christchurch and they attracted a large following.  This became a favourite spot for musicians such as Howard Morrison and the Howard Morrison Quartet, to drop in for "coffee" after their local gigs, as the Copper Cat stayed open till 2am in the morning, something rare in 1959.  Dion at this time was fully committed to his boxing career working his way from amateur Lightweight Canterbury Champion to amateur Lightweight New Zealand Boxing Champion and continuing on to become Professional New Zealand Lightweight Champion by 1962.  Cecile was one of the first local entertainers to appear on local television singing jazz with Doug Caldwell.  She also did guest appearances at local night spots and took part in Ray Columbus' local show.  Dion and Cecile moved to Auckland in 1965 and Hamilton in 1969 with Dion concentrating on his career as District Commissioner of Apprenticeship.

Cecile meanwhile moved into floorshow work with Hegan's Entertainment Bureau and became part of the Hegans Auckland entertainment circuit along with other entertainers such as Ray Wolfe.  Dion and Cecile moved back to Christchurch in 1970 to take up the management of and entertainment for the Marine Hotel in Sumner.  They built up a large following from their singing and entertainment within the hotel including the local talent quests.  Cecile also continued with her solo career, traveling throughout New Zealand undertaking floor shows which were popular at that time.  In 1970, Dion and Cecile moved to Timaru to take up the management of the DB Terminus Hotel.  Again they brought a large following to the hotel through the rock and roll entertainment in the hotel and their own singing contribution to this.  Bands such as Blerta, Cal Q Lated Risk and Dantes Inferno and artists such as Tap Hepari and Mark Antony, appeared at the Terminus.In 1972 Cecile was a finalist in the Christchurch "Search for a Star" and this led to Dion and Cecile deciding to return to Christchurch to take up music as their main career once again.  From then until the present day Dion and Cecile have made music an integral part of their varied career paths playing as Sabra through the 1970s at weddings, clubs and many inner city hotels including a five year, 6 nights a week, stint at the local inner city hotels such as the Tavern Rachael, The Zetland and the Russley Hotel.  A high point of the 1970's was featuring at the Nelson Madi Gras in 1975, headlining with Ray Columbus and the band Rocking Horse.  A fun filled occasion with Dion and Cecile taking part in the Nelson races, riding a draft horses and participating with "De Larno" the well known magician in the Mardi Gras variety show.  Dion and Cecile moved into duo work in the 1980's, working the tourist hotel circuit and then into residencies at Noah's Hotel Waitangi Room and the Christchurch Town Hall Restaurant.  In the late 1990s Dion and Cecile moved back into casual music work as their other careers took more and more of their energy and time.  Cecile became involved in Marketing in the Education sector, forming the Canterbury Careers Expo Trust in 1997 to hold the successful annual Canterbury Careers Expo.  The Trust gave over $125,000.00 of grants to young adults for their education.

Dion and Cecile Murphy
Dion and Cecile - Early days

Dion and Cecile who were married in 1961, created a life around their music which has lasted until today. They are now working to create an annual ROCKONZ Rock and Roll Festival and ROCKONZ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Johnny Campbell and The Detours (Lardeo)
Dion and Cecile receive the "key to the city" from Christchurch Mayor, Garry Moore