Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Picton hits the right note

Picton Brass Band (cc Turbosquid)

Picton District Brass Band in Camden

In 1933 the Picton District Brass Band performed at the opening of the new Paramount Theatre in Camden Wednesday 22 February. DJ Kennedy, the proprietor of the picture show, expressed his thanks and screened the musical 'Love Me Tonight' with Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier.


The Picton District Brass Band was originally formed up in 1886 and provided a lively performance at the Picton Show under the musical direction of J Douglas.

Band struggling

By the 1890s the band was struggling to survive and eventually went into recess in the late 1890s.

Band re-forms

The band re-formed in June 1915 and Mr Chapman from Campbelltown was appointed as musical director. A plain and fancy dress masked ball was held at the Protestant Hall in aid of the band. The attendance 'was exceptionally huge' and a great success with the hall packed with dancers from 'all over the district'. (Picton Post 14 July 1915) Band practice was held on Thursday nights.


The bandmaster during 1916 was Mr Greenway. By July the band was looking for a new bandmaster. On applicant in September was Mr Leabeater from the Australian Light Horse Infantry Camp at Menangle Race Course. On a warm afternoon in December the band played a recital in Victoria Park Picton and took a collection of four pounds.

Band making progress

By the late 1920s the band was making solid progress in a variety of directions under the bandmaster, JF Fromholtz. The band patron was BH Antill, and others positions were president, AH Edwards, vice-presidents, Dr Iceton, Mrs James, AR Davison, EA Eagles, JT Ashcroft, FH Woods, secretary Ernest Sell, treasurer, Frank White, and committee members were J James, AV Lindsay, Leo Ashcroft, C Edwards, AV Baldwin, F Stott, JM Ashcroft, and librarian J Cox. The band had a credit balance of 24 pounds. (Picton Post, 18 January 1928).

Picton District Band Ball 1928

 In April 1928 the band opened the ball season with the  annual band ball in Picton at the town hall. Although there was a second ball on in Picton on the same night 70 couples attended. Bandsmen had 'tastefully' decorated the hall. Mrs Ashcroft was in charge of the supper tables and had decorated them with different types of flowers which had been donated by Mrs Rutter and Mrs West. Music was supplied by the Ashcroft Jazz Band and Mrs Ingleton's Orchestra. The MC was Mr Eb Davis of Thirlmere, the door-keepers were Mr Woods and Blatch and ticket-sellers Mr Stott and Moraghan. Band members wives Mrs Stott, Loader, A Graham, Cullen, James, Edwards, Ashcroft and Fromholtz provided waiting service on the tables. The Monte Carlo Waltz was won by Miss New and Mr Cavanagh. The band opened the proceedings with 20 members under the baton of Bandmaster Fromholtz. They played a lively programme of music in the 'garden delectable' of the Town Hall. The evening made a handsome profit which was to be spent on new instruments. The band thanked the community for their support and financial help. (PP 11 April 1928)

Further Reading

Picton Post

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Hitting the right note at Camden

Camden Town Brass Band 1877 taken on a visit to Newcastle (Camden Images)

Camden band heritage

Camden has a long heritage of bands and musical groups in the local community. Playing music has been one of the longest surviving voluntary sector activities in the town. Banding in the Camden area has a rich history of involvement by amateur musicians who held a variety of paid-day jobs. These folk contributed a large number of hours at community concerts, military parades, remembrance ceremonies, fetes, garden parties, and a host of other community events.

Camden District Band c1911-1915 (Camden Images)

Banding in Camden followed the British tradition of brass bands from the 19th century that were based around a village, town, industry,  profession or business. Community brass bands traditionally competed in competitions.  Brass bands, especially military bands, have a long tradition going back to the middle ages in the Ottoman Empire. From the late 19th century English military traditions dictated that bandsmen served as battlefield stretcher bearers with their regiment when not playing morale enhancing music.  The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom have used brass bands as part of their ministry since 1878.

The Camden Town Brass Band was one of the first bands in the Camden area. It was formed in 1876 and the first band master was HP Reeves who was in charge of the Camden school which was located in Hill Street. The first band practice was held at the school. There were 8 members of the band: Henry Stuckey; John Sanderson; Herbert Ferguson; Harry Simpson; HP  Reeves; Albert Stuckey; Jacob Young; and William Derriman.

The band was quite a versatile group and performed as a marching band for a town parade,   community concerts, dances,  garden parties and the opening of the Camden Show in 1886.(Picton Post, 7 Sept 1932). The band went into recess during the late 1890s.

Camden District Band leads Frances Day procession 1917 (Camden Images)

The band re-formed in 1911 as the Camden District Band. During the First World War the  band was called on to perform at patriotic events of all sorts. One event was Frances Day in 1917 when the band led a procession down Argyle Street. The participants in the parade were in fancy dress, started at the Royal Hotel and ended at the showground on 17 July 1917, and was supported by a sports day. The whole event raised 374 pounds. Frances Day was organised to raise funds for the widows and children after the defence of Verdun (21 Feb 1916-18 Dec 1916) and ended with a French victory with over 370,000 French casualties. It was the longest and most devastating battle of the First World War. The city of Verdun has played a part in the strategic defence of Paris since the 5th century. 

Camden District Band 1930 (Camden Images)

The bandmaster in the 1930s was Stan Kelloway, who also served a term as Camden mayor. Other band members included: Eric Kelloway; W Pattison; Lesley Kelloway; B Price (Deputy Bandmaster); W Coates; A Meylan; L Dowell; Irwin Dowell; AE Doust; I Huthnance; J Hickey; J Hunt; C Coleman; AS Huthnance (Band Sergeant); Len Burnell; F Thorn; W Lipscombe; T Lipscombe; F Smythe; G Burnell; F Ravillion; T Thornton; and R Murdoch. (Picton Post 6 June 1935). The Second World War saw the demise of the band.

The Campbelltown Camden District Band

Campbelltown Camden District Brass Band 1960 (Camden Images)

The Campbelltown Camden District Brass Band started after the Second World War and filled the gap left by the closure of the Camden District Band and other bands in the area at Picton and Campbelltown.

The new district brass band formed up in 1946 and lasted until 1976 when it re-formed as a concert band with the addition of woodwind instruments. Many instruments for the new district brass band came from the old Camden Brass Band. They had been  held by Horace Kelloway who had been a member of the band. Other instruments were also located by Frank Curnow under the old Campbelltown Hall. Intially rehearsals were held alternately between Camden and Campbelltown. The first bandmaster was Frank Curnow, followed by Harold Pollard in 1954.

The Camden Community Band

Camden Community Band 2013 (CCB)
The Camden Community Band is another local concert band. The band was originally formed up in 1989 as the Camden Rugby Band, community members were invited to join in 1994 and  Jeanette Saunders became bandmaster in 1995.  The band was re-formed as the Camden Community Band Inc in 2005.  The musical director is Murray Bishop who joined the band in 2004. The band can be heard at a variety of community events in and around the Camden district throughout the year.

Further reading:
D Burnero, Celebrating 50 Years, The Campbelltown-Camden District Band 1946-1996 (Campbelltown: Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society, 1996)