Why would anyone want to join a local community band? Good question! I've asked myself that. A community band? Me? A little bit too uncool for school? Well, town bands are a tradition going back hundreds of years and looking at this year's Anzac Day march, are as popular as ever.
In the good old days, before recorded music and PA systems, the town band would play at town functions such as gala openings, festivals and celebrations. Band members consisted of local amateur musicians who in the tradition of community spirit, were proud to represent their town and provide a invaluable contribution to social occasions.
The Liverpool City Brass band in the good old days ( Liverpool City Brass Band website)
So, you are probably not the type of person that has aspirations of becoming a superstar or celebrity on The Voice or Australia's Got Talent in search of fame and fortune.
In my own case, I hadn't played in a real band of any description for some 20 years and almost 30 years since I picked up the drum sticks. Yeah, we tried to reach Rock 'n' Roll glory baby but never got close.
Sure, I'd had thoughts of a comeback. Then one day I saw the Liverpool City Brass Band playing at a Christmas function. I can't play brass but, they had a drummer! A real drummer. 'Players wanted' and 'Since 1883" said the sign. 'Wow', I thought, this band is an institution, living history. Even older than the Rolling Stones! "Are you looking for drummer' I asked. "Sure, we start rehearsals again in February!"
Everyone has their own unique story to tell. For Amanda, the Liverpool City Brass Band's young president, life in a community band started young. Very young. Eight years of age. She tells the story of being at a party with a group of unruly misbehaving kiddies when they were told that, 'OK, that's enough' and they were all sent off to a room to learn an instrument. Mind you, brass bands were in Amanda's genes with her grandfather also being a member.
For Annette, music has always been part of her life, learning the piano from the age of five. At 16 in High School, a group of friends asked their music teacher if there was a local brass band and they were directed to the Liverpool City Brass Band. Twenty years later, she's still a member.
Alexandra has just joined the Camden Community Band playing the clarinet. She's played the instrument for over 19 years at home or at her local church but now she feels she needs a de-stressor at the end of the day and playing the clarinet in the band provides that. 'I need to relax at the end of a long day at work so this is part of my stress management plan'.
Graeme, whose son plays side drums for the Scouts Pipe and Drum Band Hume, asked if he could join the band as a drummer. "No, we have enough drummers, we need pipers'. And so began Graeme's new pastime, learning the bagpipes. Now he and son don the ornate piper's tartan for marches and functions across Sydney's South-West.
So whether you're an old drummer, a young gun wanting to pump out tunes on a big bold brass instrument or you want to squeeze out classics on the bonny bagpipes while marching in fancy tweeds, playing in front of your community in a community band is very definitely not uncool. In fact, I'd rather be doing that than appearing in front of a panel of try-hard judges with too much make up who are past their use by date on some talent show for the needy. Just sayin'...