20 May 2024

Brass musician wants city band to lift Goulburn's spirits

| John Thistleton
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Brass musician Andy Yule

Brass musician Andy Yule wants musicians to help him revive Goulburn’s rich history in town brass bands. “We don’t care whether you are a professional or just starting out,” he said. “Come along, have a blow, get to know some people, have some fun.” Photo: Supplied.

The traditional British brass band has shaped Andy Yule’s musical journey from Birmingham to Bungonia.

Now he wants it to guide a new brass band for Goulburn. Andy is aiming for 26 band members turning out for the Lilac Time Festival, for Anzac Day and any other community events, playing marching anthems and melodies.

His vision is developing a growing chorus of support. The Salvation Army has offered the free use in the short term of its hall for rehearsals. The first rehearsal will be held on 27 May from 7 to 9 pm.

Goulburn has had numerous brass bands over the years, sometimes multiple bands including pipes and drums. One brass band rose to prominence in the 1940s and early 1950s in state competitions under John Cody, a builder responsible for many landmark buildings in the city.

In 1951 Goulburn City Band helped Crookwell mark the Commonwealth Jubilee one Sunday afternoon with waltzes and marches and community singing to accompany the band playing Tipperary, Soldiers of the King, Pack Up Your Troubles, and Keep the Home Fires Burning. They played in the Masonic Hall, Goulburn, one Saturday night for an exhibition of jive dancing.

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Linda Cooper who provided the historic photograph of the band remembers them playing in the rotunda every Sunday evening in summer.

Andy says 15 musicians have so far put up their hand to join and play.

Andy, who plays the euphonium and occasionally the trombone or tuba, learned to play in a school band in the United Kingdom. He studied music at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music and became an Associate of the Royal College of Music, London, in 2000.

His information technology career brought him out to Australia where he and his wife Jenny settled in Wollongong 21 years ago. He has recently fulfilled a long-held inkling to move onto a rural block and is now living with Jenny near Bungonia. They moved to be closer to their daughter Georgia and son-in-law Daryl Visman. They also have a son, Calum.

Goulburn City Band

Goulburn City Band, taken in 1944. While some names are missing, many names are provided. Back row, from left, are Joe Cody, Trevor Humphries, Geoff Leggett, (name missing), Roy Holgate, (missing), (missing), Ted Austen.
Third row: (missing), (missing), (missing), (missing), drum major Ted Kercher, Frank Carmon, Roy Arthur, Ron Ison, Cyril Coughlan.
Second row: Keith Brown, Jim Deihm, (missing), Tony Cody, band master John Cody senior, (missing) Terry Berwick, (missing), (missing), Elijah Weatherby.
Front row: E Mason, (missing), (missing), Ray Brown, (missing), Geoff Ison, Colin Quinn. Photo: Linda Cooper collection.

When he finished his IT career several years ago he took up part-time music teaching and running school band programs in the Sutherland Shire and Illawarra and later became musical director for Southern Brass in Southerland Shire. They only had six players and he helped build numbers up to a full complement of players who entered band competitions and performed at community events and concerts.

At age 58 he relishes band journeys – starting from scratch, developing a repertoire and staging concerts. During one of those journeys he was conducting Holroyd Brass in Western Sydney when it comprised of two bands.

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Some members fell out with one another, but all was not lost. “There was a good nucleus of players who wanted to just get on with it,” Andy said. “I ended up conducting that band. On our first contest we won the Australian national championships in B grade. A grade is the highest grade but B grade is a significant standard, but this was more about the journey and the way it had come about.”

His journey with Lilac City Brass has included meeting legendary maestro Paul Paviour.

“We shared lots of his ideas of how to get help and program ideas. I’m going to write down the summary of conversations I had with him because he was truly inspiring, to be frank,” Andy said. He has also met with the Hume Conservatorium of Music which shares his ideals of encouraging people to make music. It has a concert band, but as Andy points out, this differs from a brass band.

“Music has a remarkable ability to unite people and uplift spirits,” he said. “A community brass band based here in Goulburn would provide an inclusive platform for musicians of all ages and skill levels to come together, share their love for music, and contribute to the cultural tapestry of our community.”

Lilac City Brass inaugural rehearsal, Monday 27 May, 7 to 9 pm. Goulburn Salvation Army Hall, 6 Hovell St, Goulburn. For more information contact [email protected], phone 0416 037247 or go to www.yulemusic.com.au/LilacCityBrass.

Andy’s GoFundMe page will help raise money for public liability insurance and performing rights for music. You can find the link at www.yulemusic.com.au/lilaccitybrass.

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