3 May 2023

Striving to rebuild a concert band for Goulburn

| John Thistleton
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Julian Paviour and Goulburn’s Concert Band members

Julian Paviour and the Goulburn Concert Band members prepare for rehearsals at the Hume Conservatorium. Photo: John Thistleton.

Goulburn is rebuilding its own concert band to give musicians a performance platform and the city a point of difference for civic occasions.

The Hume Conservatorium is aiming for 25 regular players for the Goulburn Concert Band. The band’s musical director Julian Paviour also leads the Bowral-based Southern Highlands Band, which has more than 40 members and a full complement of instruments.

An accomplished trumpeter, Julian commutes to Goulburn from the highlands each Tuesday to teach individual musicians and lead the band.

“We need six to 10 more players to really consolidate ourselves into a performance group,” he said. “We have good players and some young players coming on, it’s just there are so many parts to a concert band. You can imagine an orchestra without the strings. If you do not have a particular instrument, it makes it harder to do justice to the music when you are a few players light,” he said.

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One of three sons of legendary Goulburn maestro Paul Paviour and his wife Margaret, Julian grew up enthralled by the trumpet (despite his father’s encouragement on the piano).

“I loved the music of Herb Alpert, the American trumpeter, and his band the Tijuana Brass,” Julian said. “I just loved that music as a kid. I remember dancing around to it, I really wanted to play that type of music, I wanted to learn the trumpet.”

His lessons began in the 1970s, when the family was living in Bathurst and he was attending high school at All Saints College, which happened to have a good brass band.

“The bandmaster throughout my time at All Saints College, David Martin, was actually a farmer and came into the school and was passionate about banding,” he said.

That’s pretty much where Julian finds himself today, retired from full-time secondary school teaching but continuing his passion for concert bands and helping schools with their bands programs.

His commitment is reminiscent of the Paviour family’s musical contributions to Goulburn where they arrived in 1975 when Julian was 16.

“I cannot remember a time when we were not getting together with Dad and doing some musical activity,” he said.

“Whether that was something more in the lighthearted vein or playing at the wonderful concerts that he would put on, playing the great works of classical music, such as the Bach – St Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah – whatever it might happen to be.”

Composer Paul Paviour

Composer Paul Paviour, doing what he loves in May, 2012. Photo: Leon Oberg.

He said his father dedicated his working life to presenting performances for people living in country areas and giving amateur musicians the opportunities that they would not have otherwise had.

“For that reason he has a whole host of people who thank him for the opportunities he gave them, to perform in these great works,” he said.

In those days the then Kenmore Hospital’s hall was so readily available it became a popular centre for music in Goulburn. The Argyle Society staged Gilbert and Sullivan and light opera performed there. “I remember going there for general sort of variety nights that my parents would stage and play in – that was one of the real happening places for Goulburn for live music of that nature,” he said.

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Years later Julian fulfilled his deep yearning to play jazz and performed for many years in Wollongong with noted jazz violinist Don Harper who ran the Wollongong Conservatorium jazz program and started a big band, performing alongside Kamahl, Tommy Emmanuel, Bob Barnard and other big names in the jazz world.

He remains concerned that amateur musicians often have to travel to the bigger cities to fulfil their musical ambitions and country areas are poorer as a result.

“You can go to some towns and there would be no opportunities to make music at all,” he said.

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