The Road to States 2019

The NSW State Band Championships are just around the corner now, and everything is coming together for our bands in their final rehearsals this week. There will be bands competing all weekend on 24 and 25 August, so please come along to “The Joan” at Penrith and show your support. If you can’t make it in person, you can always catch the live stream at www.brassbanned.com (if you miss the band you’re looking for, the stream now has a 4 hour “rewind”).

This year Wollongong has 3 bands competing in 4 categories:

  • Open C Grade Brass
  • Open D Grade Brass (Junior Band)
  • Junior C Grade Brass
  • Open D Grade Concert

The full weekend timetable is available from the NSW Band Association.

On Saturday our Senior Wind band will take the stage for the first time competing in Open D grade. For many of the band members it’ll also be their first time in competition.

Sunday will be a busy day for our Junior Brass band as they compete in both the Junior C and Open D grades. Some of the juniors will also be playing with the Senior Brass band in Open C grade, and some will have already performed on Saturday in the concert band competition (if you’re keeping count, yes, that means they will have played in all the events our bands have entered, we fully expect they’ll be exhausted by the end of it!).

It’s going to be a big weekend no matter what the outcome. We’re looking forward to the challenge, and best wishes to all the bands competing this year.

Band Championship Preparations

The NSW State Band Championships are just around the corner now, and our 3 competition bands are working hard to prepare for the contest.

Senior Brass works on Hymn for Diana

This weekend we’ve had the special privilege of a visit from Andrew Snell, who’s travelled all the way from Christchurch, New Zealand to run a weekend of workshops for our bands.

The weekend has been demanding and rewarding in equal measure, as Andrew has pushed us towards the next level of musical performance and interpretation.

Junior Brass prepares for Open D Grade

A big “Thank You” to Andrew from all the bands for his time and effort, and to our Junior Band MD Des Cannings for organising the workshops.

What’s Next?

We’ve had a busy couple of months recently with the East Coast Band Championships and two brass concerts in quick succession, so what’s next?

A well deserved break, perhaps?

Of course not!

For the next couple of months we’ll be gearing up for the NSW State Band Championships. This year we’ll have 3 bands competing across 4 event categories, so it’ll be a busy time for all of our players and musical directors.

We’ll post more details as the date gets closer, and in the meantime the information we know so far is on our events list.

Further out, we’ll be playing at some events in the Southern Highlands, and our end-of-year concerts will be on in October and November.

Junior Wind Band Wins Entertainment Contest

Dressed to impress

Over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend both our junior bands competed at the East Coast Band Championships as Open D Grade bands.

The kids all rose to the challenge and played extremely well in both the formal stage of the competition and the afternoon “entertainment” section.

It was a great weekend all round, and the icing on the cake was the Junior Wind Band taking out 1st place in the entertainment section! Their mini-concert of “Music for the Feet” had the audience’s toes tapping and produced smiles throughout the auditorium. They swept the audience along on a journey from the excitement of a stadium concert with Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, to a street march with “On the Mall”. Next it was the elegance of a night at the ballroom with the Shostakovich “Waltz No. 2 for Variety Orchestra”, and finally a street party with “Latin Gold”.

The junior brass kicked off their mini-concert with “Gonna Fly Now” and had the audience swaying along to “Hallelujah”, finishing up with an epic rendition of “Lord of the Rings”.

Fantastic performances all round, and a great result for a group of kids up against open graded adult bands!

Junior Band Fundraising Concert

Our Junior Brass & Wind Bands are preparing to head to Newcastle for the 2019 East Coast Band Championships, and the next step along the road is a fundraising concert to help with the travel and accommodation for the trip.

The bands will be performing their contest pieces at the Corrimal RSL auditorium at 2pm on Saturday 25 May.

Entry is just $5, and we’d love to have you there to hear what our up-and-coming musicians can do!

Brass Concert: Red Carpet Favourites

Red Carpet Favourites Concert Poster

The brass band is currently busy preparing for the next concert, it’s a great program and we’re looking forward to performing it.

We’ve got epic music from the movies, TV shows, and of course some brass band classics.

The concert will be on Saturday 18 May at 2pm (don’t forget to vote before you come to the concert!). Tickets are available online at trybooking.com, or at the door.

We’re providing afternoon tea, and holding a raffle with some great prizes. We hope to see you there!

May The 4th…

Star Wars Day is almost upon us, and to celebrate the incredible music of the film franchise a number of us will be part of a (free!) pop-up orchestra event in Wollongong Mall at 1pm on Saturday May 4.

Illawarra On Pointe Productions is organising the event, and you can find more details on their website.

Whether you love Star Wars, music, or both together, stop by the Crown St Mall Stage on Saturday and enjoy the talent of Wollongong’s musicians.

Another Great ANZAC Turnout

ANZAC Day 2019 once again demonstrated the dedication and commitment of the Wollongong Brass and Wind Bands with a fantastic turnout at all of our events.

Starting with the Corrimal pre-ANZAC day commemoration, we had just over 30 band members who marched and played hymns. About a third of those were from our Wind Band, who (for the first time!) were invited to participate this year.

The dawn service at Port Kembla saw the band grow to just over 40, and numbers swelled again to 55 for the Windang march and commemorative service.

The Wollongong march capped off the day with the band numbering about 60 players, and producing an epic sound.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and especially to our conductor Leanne and Drum Major Alex for keeping us in line (literally!).

ANZAC Day 2019

As usual, we will be participating in a number of ANZAC-related events over the next few weeks.

First up, we’ll be marching and playing hymns at the Corrimal RSL pre-commemorative march on 14 April at 1:45pm. The march starts at the RSL and finishes at the ANZAC Memorial grove off Railway St. There will be a commemorative service at the memorial.

On ANZAC Day itself (25 April), we’ll be starting at the 6am dawn service at Port Kembla (corner of Allen St and Military Rd), playing hymns and bugle calls. From there, we move to Windang where we’ll march in the parade at 7:45am and play hymns for the service at Windang Bowling Club.

Finally, we’ll be in Wollongong for the main march at 10am.

We hope to see you all out-and-about supporting ANZAC events around the Illawarra.