THE TRARALGON CITY BRASS BAND

The Traralgon Band was first formed in 1881, and has continued to provide music for celebration parades, important City functions, and sport meetings in the town and surrounding districts, except for a short time in recess.

At the June, 1999, meeting of the Society, Mr. David Mirtschin gave a talk on the Traralgon City Band.

bandoriginPHOTO: from the Society's archives, of the original Band.

The band started 118 years ago, and had their centenary celebrations in 1981.The first records were made in 1881. The first baton was waved by Mr. P. Morris.

Mr. Mirtschin showed a framed history of the band for 1953, when the band was called the Traralgon and Serviceman's Band.

The uniform from 1911-1970 was royal blue with gold trim. David had the drum major's jacket displayed, it was quite grand with its gold chevron stripes and ringed epaulettes.

After that, it was quite a dull brown jacket and beige trousers, but the royal blue jacket with a gold stripe on the cuff which was worn for the 1990 championships was very smart.

David had with him a small tuba which he had bought in pieces early in his career and with the help of a photo managed to put the instrument together, but more parts were needed.

John Davidson has written a history of the band from 1881-1924 in memory of his father, Les. Bert Thompson known to us all came to Traralgon in 1924. He was a keen Cornet player and his boss Ted Barbour who ran the local press was a band fanatic and encouraged Bert to restart the band. Bert was allowed to use the press to print leaflets for the 2,300 residents which Bert hand delivered on foot, in April 1932.

The largest public meeting for years attracted 100 plus persons who were told the band is for the people and the prestige of the town. The band hall in Franklin Street was constructed in 1937, opening 13th September. In 1995 the band moved to its present facility in the Kath Teychenne Centre.

The Traralgon Band is a truly brass band even though the instruments are silver plated. David feels playing brass is an extension of the human voice.

PHOTOS: from the Society's archives, of the Band playing in a street parade in 1994.

Our brass band is a voluntary community service and a show piece for our community, playing at Anzac marches and various street parades. In 1998 the band played at the 6 day enduro in Traralgon, and it was the first time in the history of the Enduro a live band played 23 national anthems.

All band members must belong to the Victorian Band's League to play in various Eisteddfods and competitions.

Our band has 52 regular members. There is no age limit, a child, adult male or female all are equal, there can be no distinction, because one player relies on the other, and David related amusing and interesting anecdotes to show this need.

Being a band member helps one to fulfill their civic responsibility as citizens, and builds sociability and friendship.

There is a 2 year changeover of committee members, instruments and tuition are free. Playing an instrument builds confidence and self esteem. Three out of five learn to play, and a great sense of loss is felt by the teacher when someone they have taught to play leaves, but also a feeling of satisfaction and pride when one of their ex students does well elsewhere.

There can be no band without players, and no players without a teacher so a band is an ongoing thing teaching not only music but social skills and discipline to all involved.

Mr. Mirtschin is the Musical Director of the Junior Brass Band and started his musical career in 1970, as a member of the Hamilton High School Band, and had the honour of playing God Save the Queen live for Her Majesty with this band.

The Band is self funding, and a Tuba can cost $10,000 plus $100 for music so a lot of money is needed. Until five years ago, funds were raised in various ways, waste paper being the mainstay. Today the band sells and markets itself to the people and have performed with celebrities such as James Morrison.

Loy Yang Power is the Band's main sponsor and corporate patron, and help arrange concerts and international artists.

In closing, David thanked the Historical Society again, and said the Band was a great ambassador for the City, an institution for young people, and part of our heritage.

"That is the City of Traralgon Band"