Congratulations to City of Greater Dandenong Band cornet player Maddi Mathers on being awarded to 2014 Victorian State Youth Band ‘Wilf Dyason’ Junior Band Person of the Year!
This is a great honour for Maddi who joined the band only three years ago and who follows in the footsteps of previous winners of the award, who she counts amongst her best friends in the Victorian State Youth Band.
Both of Maddi’s parents, Musical Director Michael Mathers and multi-instrumentalist mother Nicole, were both former members of the Victorian State Youth Band themselves and were delighted and proud when the award was given.
“Wilf Dyason was a great man … and one of my early cornet teachers” said proud dad Michael. “I was both privileged to have played with him, under him and have been taught by him - at about Maddi’s age actually - and he had a strong influence on my falling in love with brass bands.”
“Not many people know, but Wilf, together with Maddi’s grandfather Ian Mathers (B.E.M.) and Bruce Armstrong were the main driving force behind the Victorian State Youth starting in 1976” said Michael. “Thereafter they roped in a few other Victorian Brass Band legends (notably Doug Trottman and Ray Hines) and the Victorian State Youth Band was born.” It continues to this day to be the only full time State Youth Band in the country.
“We are delighted for Maddi and it is well deserved we think.” said Michael. “She loves the State Youth Band and has worked hard throughout the last year on her playing and ensemble work. It’s a great honour and one which neither of us (her parents) were ever able to achieve in our time in the band.”
Despite coming from NSW, Wilf became an icon in the Victorian band movement conducting numerous bands to great success. He was a well respected adjudicator and tutor teaching many of Victorias well known brass musicians in various capacities including over 25 years at the Wimmera Bands Group and almost 20 years combined at Carey Grammar and Melbourne High School.
An examiner for the AMEB and VCE and a genuine lover of teaching kids the value of music he remains, for many, the epitome of brass tutors in the state. Wilf passed away in 2010 and his memorial service held at Carey Grammar drew hundreds of people from around the country wishing to pay their respects.
The Victorian State Youth band is honoured to have four awards named in recognition of him.
Anyone wishing to know more about the Victorian State Youth Band should contact the Victorian Bands’ League at www.vbl.org.au