Esperance Brass Band celebrates 50 years

On April 14, 1967 a meeting was held at the Esperance RSL Hall to gauge the level of interest within the community for the formation of a brass band.

Twenty people expressed their interest, of whom nine had previous band experience and owned instruments.

At a subsequent meeting on May 5, the Esperance Citizens Band was formed with Ian Palmer as inaugural President, and Mr H.Board as Bandmaster.

Band practices were to be held each Friday night. During the ensuing year, practices were attended by around 14 players, and some 20 school students received lessons from band members.

However the availability of instruments was proving a problem as many of those owned by members proved to be not appropriate for band use, and an approach was made to the Esperance Shire Council for assistance. In September 1968, Council agreed to this request and tenders for the supply of instruments were called.

This was to be the first of many instances of valuable support provided to the Band by the Shire.

It’s of interest that the price of a cornet at that time was $78 (currently $3,400) and a tuba was $418 (now $13,800).

During these early years, the band utilised a variety of local halls and facilities as practice venues.

In 1978, the Shire proposed to include the construction of a dedicated band room as part of planned renovations to the Agricultural Hall, subject to the band contributing to the cost.

The following year the Band was able to move into the new facility which continues to be its home today. In 2000, the name of the Band was amended to Esperance Brass Band.

Over the years the Band has continued to perform at many community events, with the annual ANZAC parade and service always a highlight.

Other regular appearances have included Christmas carols throughout the region, Esperance Show, Condingup Fair, Blessing of the Fleet and the Esperance Music Festival to name just a few.

Over the years, many musicians have filled the ranks (or occupied chairs) of the Band, developing their musical skills and contributing to performances.

Many school students have enriched their musical education by playing alongside experienced players, and gone on to become accomplished musicians locally and elsewhere.

Esperance is the smallest community in Western Australia to have a functioning brass band, and may even be the smallest in Australia – a tribute to the dedication of band members and the support of the local community.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of the band.

To mark the occasion, the Band is holding a 50th birthday concert at the Esperance Civic Centre this coming September 24 at 2:30 pm.

The program will feature many new additions to the Band’s repertoire which members have been rehearsing especially for the occasion.

Tickets, which are a bargain at $10 for adults, $5 seniors/concession, and children 12 and under admitted free, will be available at the door.