The City of Greater Dandenong Band is an Australian Red Cross Blood Service
Red25 is the group donation program of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Their goal is to rally organisations and groups across the country to achieve, together, 25% of the blood donations needed by Australia.
It’s about raising spirits and team pride - and about the sense of unity you get from working together for something bigger than yourself.
You can join our Red25 group HERE using our group name:
City of Greater Dandenong Band
And you can check out our Red25 Group Tally HERE
NATIONAL BAND CHAMPIONSHIPS!
1 May 2019
This year saw the City of Greater Dandenong Band's tenth consecutive year of participation in the Australian National Band Championships. Since making the journey to Hobart back in 2010, the City of Greater Dandenong Band have pretty convincingly covered the whole of Australia except for the Northern Territory. Each year, the major brass and concert band contest is held in a different state, usually in the states’ capital city being hosted by the states’ band regulatory body and overseen by the National Band Council of Australia. As a registered member of the Victorian Bands’ League our band competes in Victorian, interstate and national competitions.
You may ask why - or how - do bands compete against each other when they’re just playing music? It’s certainly no sport. Or is it?
Band contests are judged on musical accuracy and musicality. Usually a single adjudicator (but sometimes more than one) will award points to bands based on what they hear and how accurately it corresponds to the sheet music the band is playing.
Sometimes the competition is fierce and band rivalry can erupt - All for the glory of bragging rights and monetary prizes. But, ultimately, competition inspires individuals to become better musicians, and bands to put on better performances. Our band certainly enjoys the social aspect of the National Band Championships as a chance to take an interstate holiday and catch up with mates from other bands.
The National Band Championships sees bands, including ours, put in months of preparation in to four contest pieces. This extensive rehearsal schedule is necessary to master each piece, perfecting each note, the dynamics, the rhythms, and the musical story as a whole.
Each year there is a 'test piece' that every band in the grade must play. This year the B grade test piece was ‘The Legend of Pandora' Composed by Benjamin Tubb-Hearne, a current member of Brisbane Excelsior band and bathtub salesman! The test piece music is usually written on a theme or story. 'The Legend of Pandora', involved some very challenging solo sections that featured Baritone player, Todd O’Shea, Tenor Horn players Catherine Hillman and Michael Mathers, and Cassi de Lacy-Vawdon on Flugel Horn - playing the pinnacle of the piece, the main theme 'Pandora'. The test piece was a great piece of music that was both challenging to play and genuinely a great piece to listen to. Perhaps the most testing part for all bands was the Solo Cornet and Euphonium Duet - delivered stunningly by Timothy Hellyer and David Martin for our band. To round out the competition, bands also play pieces in various other styles. This year, Dandenong Band performed the hymn tune, 'In Love for Me', our own choice, 'The Saga of Haakon the Good' by Philip Sparke, and the march, 'Simoraine' by Clive Barraclough. There were sixteen bands in B grade this year, each performing in turn.
Our former Musical Director and Drum Major made a return to the band for the National Australian Band Championships after his move to Tasmania earlier this year. Joining us on Tenor Horn, we were happy to have Michael join us on stage again.
Our contest performance was streamed around the world courtesy of brassbanned.com, reaching around 1700 people who tuned in to listen to our band perform.
Another integral part of the Nationals weekend is the Saturday street parade. Taking to Brisbane city streets were all of the brass bands represented at the contest, their supporters, and many locals who came down to watch the fun. There were concerns that impending rain would stop the parade from taking place, and the Australian National Band Championships committee informed us of their hopes that the parade could continue as planned. In the end, despite inclement weather, the parade marched on.
Sunday 15 September 2019
The City of Greater Dandenong Band placed first in both the A and B Grade sections at the Latrobe Valley Eisteddfod!
On top of this, all 3 of our small ensembles placed first in their sections as well!
Congratulations to Rachael Shineton and Todd O'Shea for winning the Open Any Instrument Duet/Trio. Our Quintet with Rachael and Todd again as well as Colin Harrison, David Martin, and Paul Simmonds were awarded the Clyde Couch Shield for first place in the Open Any Instruments Quartet/Quintet. And our Dectet comprised of all those in the Quintet plus Cathy Bardi, Neil Bassett, Jenny Corcoran, Cass de Lacy-Vawdon, Malcolm Reid, Rachelle Thom and lead by Todd were awarded the Les Davidson Shield for first place in the Open Any Instruments Ensemble 6-10 Players!
A big Thank You also to the sponsors of the sections we competed in; Louis Couch, Alan Wilson Insurance Brokers, Mr & Mrs R Batten, Keith Chenhall Chariatable Trust, as well as all of the other sponsors of the many events over the weekend.
A huge thank you to all our Band Members, supporters & Committee, our helper - Caitlin Taylor, all of the Eisteddfod organisers & volunteers, adjudicator - Louisa Trewartha, and all of the other musicians and bands who performed.
It's always a great event and weekend - this year was no exception!
LATROBE VALLEY EISTEDDFOD WINS!
ONE SMALL STEP FOR BAND -
ONE GIANT CABARET FOR BANDKIND!
The City of Greater Dandenong Band marked the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing in style with our space themed cabaret held on 20 July 2019. Performing to an audience of almost 300 people in Springvale City Hall, the evening was certainly one to remember. Featuring special guests including the Voices of Casey Choir, vocalist Danielle Matthews, and a world premiere performance of a Jared McCunnie work performed on euphonium by Fletcher Mitchell, the band took us from the Earth, to the Stars, and beyond!
The evening was ignited with a rendition of Strauss’s fanfare Also Sprach Zarathustra Sonnenaufgang (Sunrise), made famous for its use in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, before transitioning into the energetic and exhilarating Starburst by Dan Price.
Throughout the evening the Band was joined by Australian singer, musical theatre, and cabaret artist Danielle Matthews. Danielle inspired the audience to Imagine (John Lennon) all the people sharing all the world, and that From a Distance (Bette Midler) the world looks blue and green, before lifting us to new heights with a stunning performance of Kate Miller-Heidke’s Zero Gravity.
Once again, Band members Maddi Vargo Mathers (cornet) and Cassi de Lacy-Vawdon (flugel horn) showcased their talents beyond brass instruments. Maddi took the audience on a lunar experience with beautiful renditions of Jazz standards How High the Moon and Fly me to the Moon. Later in the evening, Cassi was joined by her sister Bronte de Lacy-Vawdon for a haunting rendition of David Bowie’s Life on Mars before performing Van Morrison’s Moondance as a big band arrangement with the Band.
Also featured within the Band was Rachael Shinetone in a stirring performance of Stars from Les Misérables featuring solo trombone. Having joined the Band only this year, Rachael has embraced her role as principle trombonist, more than doing justice to the song usually performed by a lamenting Javert in stage performances of Les Misérables. Paying homage to the late, great Freddy Mercury and the surviving members of Queen, The Band performed a song about humankind’s inability to live harmoniously. The epic, Innuendo, featured the solo cornet section, and particularly Band president, Timothy Hellyer, and Damien Lord.
The Voices of Casey Choir delighted audiences in their debut appearance at a City of Greater Dandenong Band concert. Performing the Irving Berlin classic Blue Skies, as well as other classics including Fire and Rain and Catch a Falling Star, before being joined by Danielle Matthews for 1966 R&B/soul rock song Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. Joining the Choir and Danielle on piano was accompanist Jodie Lockyer.
One of the standout moments of the evening was the world premiere of Freefall, composed by local Melbourne composer Jared McCunnie. Jointly commissioned by Fletcher Mitchell and the City of Greater Dandenong Band, Freefall is inspired by Red Bull Stratos, the 2012 project that saw Felix Baumgartner break the world record for the highest freefall jump from the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. Freefall sees the euphonium soloist take the role of Felix, whilst the musical accompaniment represents the people on Earth. Featuring Fletcher Mitchell, Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician based in Brisbane, on euphonium, Freefall is a musical marvel, demonstrating the superb capacity of instrument and performer alike.
But of course, no space themed Cabaret would be complete without the likes of the march Mercury, Peter Graham’s Drums of Thunder from the Windows of the World suite, or the themes from space enterprises such as March of the Resistance from Star Wars, the Thunderbirds theme, or the main theme from Star Trek – The Next Generation. Finally, the Cabaret was rounded out with a massed performance of Elton John’s Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.
One Small Step for Band was brought to you by the City of Greater Dandenong Band under the expert direction of Musical Director Jamie Lawson. Joining us for the evening, and tying everything together, was Phillipa Edwards as compere. Working behind the scenes were innumerable people for whom we are incredibly grateful. These people include (but certainly are not limited to) Cathy Bardi, Jonathan de Lacy, Cassi de Lacy-Vawdon, Phillipa Edwards, Benjamin Gebert, Stephanie Gilfedder, Timothy Hellyer, Catherine Hillman, Matt Hillman, Sharryn Lydall-Smith, Jamie Lawson, Todd O'Shea, Trudy O'Shea, Natalie Potenzi, Cameron Sanders, Rachael Shineton, Abby Smith, Em Smith, Sharon Tacey, David Taylor, and Rachelle Thom.
We would also like to say a very big thank you to out raffle sponsors for their very generous donations this year, including Australian Venue Co., Bright Chalet, Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, HP Gaming, The Oracle Owl, Yarra Valley Lodge, and Woodfire Pizzeria & Cucina.
Most of all, though, the Band would like to thank the audience for their ongoing support. We look forward to seeing you all again next year for another spectacular night!
Article by Cassi de Lacy-Vawdon
Photography by Benjamin Gebert
In the street parade Dandenong Band performed a compilation from 'The Lion King', led by newly appointed Drum Major, Cameron Sanders, who also very cleverly arranged the piece specifically for our band in mind. Cameron was the obvious candidate for taking on the Drum Major role after Michael Mathers's resignation, and delivered an absolutely amazing performance at his first national competition. For the 'Change of Direction' - in integral part of the street march including a right hand turn, where points are awarded for 'entertainment value' - Cameron choreographed the players to form a circular dance to the song ‘The circle of Life’. Naturally, this ended with Rafiki, presenting Simba the lion on top of 'pride rock'. Our efforts managed to secure the band equal 2nd place in this category. Cameron has set the bar high for himself from this event and has now attracted specific attention from other notable Drum Majors, judges and brassbanned.com commentators for future events. Cameron is sure to be a lookout for coming years of banding success!
One of the hardest parts of any competition is that of the Musical Director. Newly appointed this year, Jamie Lawson, was thrown into the proverbial deep end. With only one or two times in front of the band as part of his audition towards the end of 2018, Jamie had no time to ease into things. At his first rehearsal at the start of 2019, Jamie was already rehearsing nationals pieces with the band, there was no time to lose. Along the way, Jamie has gotten to know individual players and how to get the best out of players’ abilities all the while maintaining a very calm yet persistent demeanour throughout the Nationals campaign.
Jamie managed to lead the band into 7th place overall at the National Australian Band Championships in a huge field of 16 B grade bands. A tremendous effort. Jamie’s signature party trick we all learned in Brisbane is that his increased musical ability is due to not wearing his shoes. We believe that Jamie is the first Musical Director in not only the Australian Brass Band scene but globally to compete/perform on stage without wearing any shoes. And, as of yet, there are no contest rules that disallow this.
The band placed 4th for both the Stage March and Own Choice sections, and were the highest placed Victorian Band in the B grade Own Choice category.
We thank our band secretary, Catherine Hillman, dearly for the amount of time she spent in coordinating the band around our Brisbane adventure. It takes a great deal of work to coordinate 30 people to be altogether in the same position at once and with the correct uniform and equipment!
As always we sincerely thank the organisers, Queensland Band Association and Annette Ries along with the volunteers, major sponsors, Yamaha Music Australia, Ozwinds Brass and Woodwind, Besson Brass that all help to make the event possible. A Big congratulations to Waratah Brass – Newcastle for taking out the B Grade title this year and to our good friends at Geelong West Brass Band for placing 2nd.
Once again, Thank you must go to Jamie Lawson (Musical Director), President (Timothy Hellyer), Catherine Hillman ( Secretary), Cameron Sanders (Drum Major) and all of our amazing players, committee members and supporters who made this year’s National Australian Band Championships an exciting, fun place to be at.
Written by Cameron Sanders.