Author Archives: Ballarat Brass

October 2016

Well its been a while since anything was updated on the website, so I’ll give a brief update of the past few months.  Firstly our website manager Matthew Harris has departed Australia for a couple of years with his partner and are travelling to India to teach there.  We wish them well and may there journey be safe, healthy and full of exciting times.

My name is Chris and I am the Band Secretary and now the Web manager as well. My skills in this area are not as good as Matt’s but hopefully I will improve with time.  That’s one of the reasons for the long absence as I was to scared to add information to the page in case I stuffed up our web page.

Regrettably Mark Witham as our Music Director resigned in March this year.  He gave conducting away to concentrate on personal matters.  He is still a part of our band and  is enjoying life in a more relaxed manner with his new caravan and car.  We wish him all the best and thank him for his wonderful leadership whilst acting as the Band’s Music Director.  While under his directorship the band was improving rapidly and was looking at moving to C Grade.

With Mark’s departure as MD, the ever reliable Bob Pattie took over the MD duties until we were able to select a new MD.  We had a few applicants for the position and gave each applicant a night in front of the band to conduct three set pieces and any piece or pieces of their choice.  The end result was we welcomed Peter Gunn (ex Army musician and current member of the band) as the new MD.  Troy Cheesman, who only recently started coming to band rehearsals also applied for the job and was appointed as Peter’s Assistant MD.  Troy also was appointed the MD for the Training Band that he was keen to get up and running.

The Training Band is now going great guns with approximately 9 children coming along regularly on a Monday night.  So any budding musicians out there who are keen to learn a brass instrument are more than welcome to drop in on a Monday night.

In September Peter gave conducting away as he job prospects took him in another direction.  So in lieu of going through the process of advertising the MD position the committee offered the position to Troy.

Troy accepted the challenge and is quickly finding his feet as a Music Director as he has never done it before.  Bob Pattie is his assistant and is giving valuable advice and assistance while he gets settled in.

Troy has a wealth of practical experience and has been involved with a number of bands around Australia and in particular Victoria.  He has played with numerous A Grade Bands through to D Grade Bands.  His choice of instrument is the Flugel Horn but he is no slouch on the Bb/Soprano Cornet as well.

The band has stagnated somewhat with MD changes and players leaving the band over the year as well. Therefore the band elected not to compete in the Victorian State Championships this year.  The band also decided not to travel to Mt Gambier in November 2016. We won the C Grade  section last year in lieu of playing in D Grade.

Look forward to more info on the band in my next post.

Cheers.

2016 – Onwards and Upwards

Hi everybody,

Well we’re already well into 2016, and it’s shaping up to be another exciting year for the Ballarat Municipal Brass Band.

2015 was another fun and successful year for the Band. After our strong performance at the VBL State Championships at South Street, the Band went on to perform at a number of community events and fundraisers, before finishing the year with our annual trip to Mt Gambier for the Blue Lake Brass Band Festival, where we won the C Grade contest this year, and of course our regular appearance at Meredith Music Festival.

Here are some snaps from the second half of the year:

Light the Night Leukaemia Foundation Fundraiser

Light the Night Leukaemia Foundation Fundraiser

Putting the 'Fun' into 'Fun Run'

Putting the ‘Fun’ into ‘Fun Run’

At attention for the Street March contest

At attention for the Mt Gambier Street March contest

At the start of the Mt Gambier Christmas Parade

At the start of the Mt Gambier Christmas Parade

Just after our contest at Mt Gambier

Just after our contest performance at Mt Gambier

The Band has recently resumed rehearsals at our newly refurbished band room at 212 Ripon Street Sth.

Be sure to keep an eye on our calendar for details of rehearsals and upcoming gigs and contests. We always welcome new members, so just pop in and introduce yourself if you’re keen to be a part of the action. Otherwise, we hope to see you in the audience at one of our shows in 2016!

The Year So Far

It’s been another fun and exciting year for the band so far.

The Band has had the privilege of playing at the Avenue of Honour reopening ceremony, the 100 year ANZAC Day commemoration, and at Heritage Weekend on a cold, wet weekend in April.

We also debuted our stylish new uniforms this year, which have been turning heads wherever we play. You can see them in the Heritage Weekend photos below:

The Band on the balcony

The Band on the balcony

Mark leading the way

Mark leading the way

Bob blasting out a solo

Bob blasting out a solo

We then turned our attention to the VBL State Championships at South Street, and many weeks of intense rehearsals led to a really strong performance this year. We were just pipped at the post by the outstanding Western Brass, but went home happy that we had done our best.

The full results can be found here.

In the week before South Street, ABC Ballarat did a really lovely profile of the Band, including an interview with the Music Director and a recording of us practicing, which you can find here.

With the rigours of contesting behind us for now, we now turn our attention to a series of community events in the second half of the year. While we love the challenge of a contest, it’s getting out and playing for the people of Ballarat that we enjoy the most!

Check our calendar page for rehearsal times and details of upcoming events.

We’re also really looking forward to getting back into our band room once the renovations are finished. Watch this space for further details.

2015 – A Brass Band Odyssey

Hello to our legions of faithful followers,

It’s been a fun year so far for the band, and there are some big plans for the next few months, so it’s time for a little update to keep you in the loop.

So far this year we’ve played at the Australia Day celebrations at Lake Wendouree, and made our regular appearances at the Begonia Festival and the Ballan Street Festival. Thanks to everyone who has come out to listen and support the band.

Begonia Festival Parade  - March 2015

Begonia Festival Parade – 9 March 2015

Ballan Street Festival - 22 March 2015

Ballan Street Festival Parade – 22 March 2015

April is a big month for us, with two important events to mark ANZAC Day. In May we’ll be on the balcony at the George Hotel once again for Heritage Weekend. Check our calendar page for details and times for all upcoming events.

In other news, our band room is undergoing a major renovation at the moment, so we’re practicing at the Memorial Band Room in Barkly Street for the next month or two. Also, our new uniforms are on the way, so expect to see a really different look for the band soon.

Thanks for checking in to the web site, and we hope to see you soon at one of our gigs!

The Band

What We’ve Been Up To

Hey everyone,

It’s been a busy few months for the band, so we’d thought we’d better give you an update of what we’ve been up to and what’s coming up for the rest of the year.

August was a big month for competitions. We had a strong performance in the VBL State Championships at South Street, finishing just two points off the winner, Croydon Citizens’ Brass Band. You can check the results here.

We also played at a contest in Maryborough, where we were lucky enough to take out first prize.

Since then, we’ve played at several fundraisers and community events around the Ballarat region, including a fun fundraiser for Livvi’s Place Fundraiser, the annual Light The Night Leukaemia Foundation event, and the Run Ballarat Fun Run. And, of course, Gemma’s 21st, which was amazing!

Here’s some pics:

Livvi's Place

Livvi’s Place Fundraiser

The Trombone Section

The Trombone Section

Light The Night

Light The Night

We’ve got a busy schedule coming up too, including a trip to Mt Gambier, Christmas Carols on Sturt St, and our famous regular appearance at the Meredith Music Festival in December. You can check out the schedule here.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, or even better, come and support us as we play during the festive season.

Thanks!

Our New Music Director – Mark Witham

The Band recently announced the permanent appointment of a new Music Director, Mr Mark Witham, who has been acting in that role since the departure of our previous MD.

Mark brings with him a wealth of experience as a player (euphonium and trombone), band leader, music teacher, arranger and composer of band music.

His distinguished career includes many successful years in the Australian Army Band, followed by several leading and teaching roles in Sydney schools. He is currently the Director of Performing Arts and Director of Music at St Patrick’s College in Ballarat.

The band has already had a great time with Mark at the helm, and we’re looking forward to working with him in the months and years ahead as we continue to grow and improve.

We just wish he’d let us play Hootenanny from time to time!

Ballarat Heritage Weekend – 10-11 May 2014

In 2014, the Band had the opportunity once again to play on the balcony of the George Hotel for Heritage Weekend.

We love this weekend as it’s such a great setting to play our music, with the sounds of our band echoing down the historic streetscape of Lydiard St and beyond.

The highlights included the bongo solo in ‘Sway’, and our old time favourite Hootenanny to finish the weekend.

This year we were conducted by Mark Witham, who has been leading the band since the departure of Mark Smith.

Here are some snaps from the weekend:

Heritage-1

Heritage-2

Check in with the Heritage Weekend web site for details of the weekend.

Position Available: Music Director

Logo

After many years at the helm, our Music Director Mark Smith has decided to stand aside from his position due to work and family commitments. Mark enjoyed many successes with the band at various competitions and public performances, and he has left the band well placed for the future. He will be missed by all band members.

As a result, the City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band is currently seeking applications for a new Music Director.

The Band rehearses every Tuesday night in the band room, cnr Ripon Street South and Urquhart Streets, Ballarat between 7.30pm and 9.30pm. The Band has players of all ages and abilities and serves the community with a variety of performances throughout the year. These performances comprise of festivals, commemorative services and special events. The Band currently holds the title of 2013 Victorian State Champions, D Grade, Brass Band.

The successful applicant will be highly motivated and encourage and inspire the love of music in all members. He / She will be suitably experienced and have considerable musical knowledge and a strong commitment to brass banding with a strong focus on performing to a high standard. The applicant should have strong communication and interpersonal skills and ideally be in a position to assist the Band in attracting additional musicians.

Applicants should send a resume containing relevant qualifications and experience including three referees. Your vision statement for the direction of the band should also be included. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed and auditioned.

For a position description, please contact Trevor Wilden (President) on 0429 414 063

For further information contact: Trevor Wilden (President): 0429414063 or Gemma Ramsay (Assistant Secretary) 0447834569

Applications close 31st May 2014

Begonia Festival – 10 March 2014

The band continued its close association with the Begonia Festival again in 2014.

This year we played a 45 minute set on the main entertainment stage, cranking out some of our crowd favourites like Aces High, Angels and a barnstorming finale in the form of the World’s Greatest Hits medley.

Begonia Stage 1

Begonia Stage 2

And of course we once again marched in the famous Begonia Festival Parade, where we played our old favourite, St Kilda, for the thousands of people that lined the streets.

Begonia March

The Begonia Festival web site can be found here if you’re looking for more details about the event.

Australia Day Festivities – 26 January 2014

Playing at community events is a big part of what we do in the Ballarat Municipal Brass Band. It’s always great to get out in public and meet and entertain the people of Ballarat.

The Australia Day festivities in the gardens near Lake Wendouree is always a lovely afternoon, as people come down with their picnic rugs and have a listen as they wait for the big firework display later in the evening.

We start proceedings with Advance Australia Fair, then play some classic Australian songs mixed in with some contemporary arrangements to get people in the mood to celebrate.

Here are some photos from this year’s Australia Day gig:

Australia Day 2014 008

Australia Day 2014 009

Australia Day 2014 011

Australia Day 2014 012