National Championships at Robert Blackwood Hall 1990
Ian joined a choir at age 9, learned piano at 12, and then switched to baritone horn and soon after joined the school Concert Band at the age of 13. During this time, he learned under Keith Barrass who played in Melbourne Show Bands, and under John Butler. Ian first heard the Dandenong Band during the 1960's, when he marched in the 1968 Dandenong Anzac Day parade with his Grandfather who was an ex-serviceman, while Ian’s dad who was an Army Officer led the Army contingent. On that day in 1968 the band played the Colonel Bogey March, which made a very big impression on Ian and he thought to himself that one day he would like to join that band!
Ian first went along to a Dandenong Band rehearsal at the end of 1979, and joined the band in 1980 at the age of 17 sitting on the 3rd cornet chair next to Stan Prior who was 89 and still playing! During that time Ian made many friends in the band. Stan was a local identity and a great bloke with many interesting stories about when he played cricket in Tasmania, and when he served in World War I and how at first he was rejected to go and fight because he had a broken tooth. At first it was a bit of a struggle for him musically as he had to learn to play in treble clef, and the band was of a very high standard, having just won the A Grade competition.
During the 1980's Ian also played trumpet with the Monash University Orchestra and in musical theatre while studying at University, yet he still maintained a connection with Dandenong. Ian played with the Dandenong Band on various parts such as 2nd cornet, repiano, solo cornet, flugel horn, and tuba. After 14 years he felt he needed to take a break from brass bands. That didn't last long however, as a friend of his bought a second-hand Sovereign Eupho. and asked him to play it in his Concert Band. Ian was flattered by the offer, and so joined the group formerly known as the Berwick Regional Concert Band (now Casey Concert Band). The Berwick Concert Band did not compete but rather was more about education and relaxed performance in a community environment. This group were mainly high school students plus a few adults, and so the musical standard was set at that level. Ian played with them for about ten years and occupied various committee roles until 2006, which is when he stopped playing altogether for more family time, and to do necessary house renovations.
Recently, Ian had a rekindled desire to see people from Dandenong and to hear them play, so he came along to a few rehearsals in 2015 and somehow he hasn't been able to stop going! He has many fond memories of the group and what they have given him, with our shared experience, that it has been hard to tear himself away.