Today we are deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of a true legend and gentleman of the brass band community, Ian Mathers B.E.M. Ian passed away peacefully, aged 89, at Angliss Hospital on Thursday night following a massive stroke on Wednesday morning. He was not in pain and was with family when he passed away.
Ian's contribution to Kew Band as well as brass banding not only in Victoria but across Australia can never be overstated and the City of Greater Dandenong Band was honoured to have his services and skills for a number of years while his son, Michael was our Musical Director.
It is clear from all of the posts and comments today that Ian was known, loved, and highly respected by so many in the brass band world. For those that may not have had the privilege of meeting Ian or may not know of his remarkable contribution to our community, then please take a moment to read on for a brief summary of Ian’s brass band life and thank him for all that he did and gave to us.
Ian joined the East Kew Citizens Band in 1941 at the tender age of 11 as a drummer. His association with that band would become legendary and it has been said on numerous occasions that Ian Mathers is Kew Band.
In 1953 (aged 23) he became secretary of the East Kew Citizens Band and oversaw the amalgamation of that band with the Kew City Band to create the Kew Citizens' Band in 1957. Following the formation, Ian remained as Secretary for some time 'retiring' only for a short three year period to be President before returning to the position. In total he held the position of Secretary for a period of 45 years before being compulsorily retired by his son Michael who was Band President at the time.... a move Michael insists was for his own good, not the band's.
During his time at Kew Band, Ian was not only the Secretary but was also an active playing member and Drum Major. He was elected President of the Victorian Bands' League in 1979 and immediately oversaw the formation of, and indeed was founding Band Manager of, the Victorian State Youth Brass Band. Ian was President of the VBL for four years before stepping aside. By popular demand, he was re-elected to the role in 1993 serving in that role for a further three years.
Ian was in charge of organising numerous overseas trips for Kew Band including the Phillipines in 1980, America in 1984 and Japan in 1999. In addition he was Secretary of Australian Brass (the annually formed national band comprising the 'best of the best') on several occasions. He was also Chief Drill Adjudicator for several National Band Championships and was highly sought after to adjudicate at various other State and regional championships around the country.
In 1981 Ian was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday honours list ".... for services to brass banding in Australia". His other personal awards include a Life Membership of Kew Band, Life Membership of the Victorian Bands' League, Life Membership of the National Band Council of Australia and various other honour badges from the Victorian Bands' League.
We extend our sincere condolences and love to Wendy, Michael, Nicole, Maddi, Hannah, Sarah, Daniel, and all of Ian’s family and friends.