In their 120th year, the Bega District Band (BDB) is taking action to ensure its future and that of the ‘town’s soul’.
Already boasting a proud history of developing local musicians and supporting community events the BDB is hoping to attract and work with new learner musicians of all ages and abilities for a new band – The Bega All Age Development Band (BAAD).
The move has been inspired by the words of Roy Howard, Mayor of Bega in 1979, “a town without a band is like a man without a soul,” he said. The custodians of the BDB in 2019 are firing the embers of that soul.
With the average age of the current BDB creeping up, many members, some of whom have served for more than 50 years, are talking about retiring from the band within the next 10 years. BDB Music Director, Candy McVeity, is working on the next generation.
Ms McVeity will conduct the new BAAD, bringing her experience in both music performance and education, ensuring a fun and supportive environment.
Musicians from the BDB will also form part of the group to help less experienced players navigate the music.
Ms McVeity says its an approach that proved successful at last week’s Sapphire Coast Learning Community (SCLC) music camp. BDB partnered with the SCLC band which is made up of local public school students. The bands held a joint rehearsal at the camp and then a combined performance of John Williams’ ‘Star Wars’ as the camp finale which “exceeded everyone’s expectation.”
The BDB has also been providing free music tutoring to students at Tathra Public School and Bega Valley Public School for the past two years and supported the Bega Valley Public School Band on their preschool concert tour.
“This strategy of having experienced players embedded in the beginner band means the learners can tackle more interesting and complex music than would otherwise be possible,” Ms McVeity says.
“And allows the players to experience the power of a full-band sound.
“BDB has recognised that there are many learner musicians in the Bega Valley, both within school programs as well as adults taking up an instrument for the first time or switching to a new instrument.
“Often these players are not confident enough to go straight into the senior bands that already exist in the Bega Valley. The Bega All Age Development Band aims to fill this gap and provide a pathway to these senior bands so that playing a musical instrument becomes a life-long passion.”
BAAD welcomes all instruments, not just brass, and all skill levels including absolute beginners. Some opportunities may also exist for instrument hire.
BAAD commences at 5:30 pm on Monday, June 3 at The Bega District Band Hall on Canning St, Bega. Rehearsals will continue weekly on Mondays between 5:30 and 6:30 pm.
Due to a government grant through Create NSW, BAAD membership for this year will cost just $2.
For more information contact Jane Woolacott on 0409 076 140.