Carrying out on what had already been a bustling 2017 for the City of Greater Dandenong Band, Christmas and all the joy that it brings would arrive quickly, maybe quicker than previous years or perhaps slower for some. Fortunately for the band members and groupies though, November somehow made itself free providing some much needed recuperation time for the hard working team that envelops the organisation. A little pre-Christmas gifting was on hand when the band took ownership of some nifty left-handed ‘band mugs,’ printed with the band’s logo. The perfect size for a morning latte or a quick instant during rehearsal break.
Leading Christmas into December, bandies congregated at The Dandenong Market, clearing the path for Santa and his loyal sleigh dogs whilst the sounds of Christmas carols were spread around for all to hear. Selected ensembles would return to the market each week of December proving quite popular with the people who would often make requests for selfies and would cheer for the best sounding carols to be played again so that recordings could be made to take home to show their friends and family.
The City of Greater Dandenong Band holds a great deal of importance and strives for a culture of camaraderie and friendships in order to maintain a successful organisation. The annual band breakup offers an opportunity to catch up, relax and reflect on the year gone by. Having a go at bare foot bowling at Burden Park’s Bowling club could offer just that. The idea is that the band takes time out from entertaining, but with a collection of eccentric and attention seeking individuals all in one room. That in itself whilst playing a game of non-traditional Kris Kringle soon turned into some kind of hilarious dramatic opera performance.
Spreading the love and our resourceful musicians, 2 separate ensembles on the evening of Wednesday the 13th headed to Box hill hospital and Balmoral Gardens Retirement Village. The Box Hill group were directed around the hospital performing carols for unsuspecting patients bringing smiles to those everywhere they went.
Balmoral Gardens has now become a regular event on the band calendar for the players with egg sandwiches, a supper of sorts and 'dad' jokes being the drawing card for many. The band however, always performs a well-rehearsed selection of Christmas and sometimes contemporary arrangements with 2017 featuring for the first time in Voice, trombone player, Cameron Sanders. Cameron wowed the audience with The Holy City, then accompanying a dreamy duet of White Christmas with the magnificent Maddi Mathers.
Later in the month saw the youth group, Springvale Brass performing at Hampton Park library as part of the Library’s ‘Saturday of Sounds’ program. This was an excellent opportunity for MD Todd O’Shea to capture the interest of Springvale Brass musicians, providing an opportunity for reciting the music in which they had rehearsed throughout the year.
The staple favourite of a Bunnings snag for tradies or the home DIYer, was made available the same day by keen #nongband volunteers whilst others carolled in store completing the ultimate outdoor setting.
A big finisher for the year took the band down to Dandenong’s Harmony Square on Friday the 15th for the 70th annual City of Greater Dandenong Carols by Candelight. The night was a big success for all involved featuring not only the band, but many other local talented musicians and interactive performances.
With 3 rehearsals undertaken already for 2018 and a very warm Australia Day Celebration gone by (COGDB opened the Australia day celebrations, finishing with a wonderous applause after Cassi de Lacy-Vawdon led the band in "I still call Australia Home, the band is already set in motion for this year’s National Australian Band Championships to be held in Melbourne. Over the next preceding weeks, gruelling weekend rehearsals and bouts of marching practice will ensue, bringing the best out of players’ abilities and which will (hopefully) lead to another enjoyable weekend of competing with fellow Australasian brass bands.
The City of Greater Dandenong Band look forward to this year continuing our country band connections and another tumultuously entertaining cabaret.