STRUCK down with the mumps at just 17-years-old, Lorraine Pfitzner picked up the guitar to wile away the hours.
It was her first foray into country music, and now, she’s been embedded in the Tamworth Country Music Festival scene since 1973.
“I think it really started with my dad, he was a very keen ‘78 record collector and he loved country music – which we called hilly-billy in those days,” she said.
“He drummed it into me that to be a success in country music you have to be original and different.”
Ms Pfitzner continues to be integral in the establishment of bronze busts in Bicentennial Park, right now she’s fundraising for pioneer Frank Ifield.
“I’ve always loved the music and throughout the years I’ve made a lot of wonderful friends, to me country music is just one big family.
“We started bronze busts in the early 90’s when we got a committee to come together – I’ve just kept going, raising money every year and putting the shows on.
“It’s a body of a whole heap of people doing it, not just me, I don’t know what keeps me coming back, I’ve just got that drive to do it.”
Ms Pfitzner used to write for country music magazines like Country Spotlight and Spurs, now, when she’s not fundraising she mans the front desk at the Tamworth Country Music Hall of Fame.
It means she can meet a lot of people and find out what they’d like to see more of, she said.
“I think it’s very important to volunteer, because without volunteers a lot of these places and organisations could not run,” she said.
“The volunteers are one of the most important people there, in the Country Music Hall of Fame they all work, work, work and do a fabulous job.”
Where most would spend their remaining hours on more narcissistic endeavours, Ms Pfitzner travels to nursing homes and care agencies to play the guitar to those in need.
“The thing I notice is a lot of people with dementia don’t have a lot left, but music is one of the last things they have,” she said.
“It’s calming for some of them and it gives them pleasure because they can’t get out to shows.”