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.


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:



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

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

Meredith Music Festival – 14 December 2013

The Band made their 9th appearance at the world famous Meredith Music Festival in December 2013, and the intense media coverage leading up to our appearance had the crowd in a frenzy of anticipation as we took the stage on a mild and pleasant Saturday morning.

The irrepressible Bob Pattie took the conductor’s baton, forgoing his usual role as our solo trumpeter extraordinaire, and led the band with great gusto through a series of classics old and new.

This photo is from Aunty Meredith’s official photo stream, which is a great source of colourful snaps from the Festival:


This year’s setlist included some ripping songs from the Beatles and Queen, some old time favourites like Little Brown Jug, and even a Lady Gaga song in case anyone under 30 was listening.

This year we warmed up the stage for some great Aussie bands like Beasts of Bourbon and Spiderbait, as well as international megastars Chic, who are the undisputed kings of disco music.

Our banner-making friends from last year were there again too, and hooked us up with another great sign to adorn our band room – thanks!

The Meredith gig is always a highlight of our year, and 2013 was no exception.

Blue Lake Brass Band Festival – Mt Gambier, 16 November 2013

The band went back to Mt Gambier again in November 2013 for the famous Blue Lake Brass Band festival.

This time played a song called Wairoa in the Street March competition, and were led by Lindsay Govan, who won his second Best Drum Major award for his role in the march.

Here’s the footage of the march:

We played in the Christmas Parade after the marching contest, which is always a favourite of the locals who lined the streets for a glimpse of the bands.

We also played in the Music Contest in the afternoon and did well, taking out second place in our division and winning the award for the best stage march on the day.

Here’s our performance of the The Cream of Clapton, featuring a selection of Eric Clapton’s favourite hits arranged by Ron Sebregts:

One again we loved our trip away to this beautiful city, and we’re already looking forward to getting back to Mt Gambier next year.