The old Tumut Town Band, a 126-year-old brass band with about ten members, and the Tumut and District Concert Band, six years old with 22 members, joined forces this year, under the ‘Tumut Town Band’ banner.
The new band has in between 35 and 40 members, and President Lindsay Dobbie said you can really hear the difference.
“The whole idea of amalgamating the bands is to ensure the longevity of the band and to ensure a stronger band,” he said.
“It’s enabling a broader range of instruments other than just brass which enables us to play a broader range of music, and it also means for the concert band the brass section has a much bigger and bolder sound.”
“We’re providing for the future of the band, to ensure we keep going for another 100 years!” said long-time brass band member Robert Sturt.
The band’s members range in age from 85-year-old Robin Bridle to nine-year-olds Marianna Smith and Zoe Taylor.
They have instruments for hire for $20 a year, and experienced members have put their hands up to tutor beginners – meaning there’s no excuse not to try something new and give learning a musical instrument a shot.
“You get to join a team, you get to learn about music and play music, and we’re becoming more and more sought after to perform,” said Mr Sturt.
“It’s good for your confidence, and it’s character building, playing in front of people.”
Former Musical Director David Piper has been a member of the Tumut Town Band since 1953, when he joined at the ripe old age of 10, and held the musical director position for over 50 years.
If anyone would have any qualms about change coming along it would be him, but on the contrary, he thinks the amalgamation is “the best thing that could have happened.”
“We were down to around nine senior players…age has got us I’m afraid,” he said.
“It’s sounding excellent under Debbie [Wild]’s direction, and we’re going from strength to strength at the moment. We’re struggling to fit everyone into the band room!”
As for Debbie herself, she said she is thoroughly enjoying working with a band that has such a diverse age range, after taking up the position of musical director at the start of last year.
“I love it, I’m watching them grow weekly through our rehearsals and I’m especially loving the fact that we have children from primary school all the way through to members in their eighties,” she said.
“I don’t know of any other bands in the region that can boast that, so I think we can be pretty proud of ourselves.
“New members are always welcome, and if anyone wants to book us to play they should get in early!”
Any inquiries to do with the Tumut Town Band should be directed to Deb Wild on 0437137251.
The band practices on Tuesday nights from 5.30pm to 7pm in the Tumut Town Band Room on Merivale Street.