Bega District Band looks for new band master to keep marching on

AND THE BAND PLAYED ON: The Bega District Band's Clyde Dibley, John Winson and Roger Tetley are encouraging more people to join the band.
AND THE BAND PLAYED ON: The Bega District Band's Clyde Dibley, John Winson and Roger Tetley are encouraging more people to join the band.

It has been proclaimed that “a town without a band is like a man without a soul”.

A former mayor of Bega, Roy Howard, made the comment in 1979 during a reunion dinner of the Bega District Band (BDB) where he praised the group’s commitment to the town. 

These days there are not a lot of country bands that exist anymore according the BDB’s cornet player and publicity officer John Winson, who said many brass bands became concert bands. 

When asked why Bega’s had lasted for so long, he laughed and said “we’re stubborn”. But cornet player and ex-band master Roger Tetley had another theory. 

“The thing with this band is that it always involved families early on,” he said. 

“They all had so many members. In my family there was six of us in the band at one stage.

“I think the fact families were involved in it probably had a lot of bearing on it.”

One member who has been around for many years is the band’s president and baritone player Clyde Dibley, who joined the band 58 years ago when he was about 12. 

“I still can’t play, but have a lot of fun trying,” he laughed. 

He had a simple reason why he has stuck around in the group for so long.

WOWING THE CROWD: The Bega District Band performs at the Canberra Brass Concert in the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre in 2017.

WOWING THE CROWD: The Bega District Band performs at the Canberra Brass Concert in the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre in 2017.

“It was here and I liked it,” he said. 

They agreed with Mr Howard’s comment, that towns need bands.

"Anzac Day wouldn’t be the same without a band,” Mr Tetley said.

“It’s just not the same without us there.” 

But now the BDB needs a new band master to keep its members marching on, as the person currently in the position will leave in November. 

A band master has the responsibilities of directing the band, conducting, choosing music and making sure everyone plays it properly.

Mr Winson was hoping someone interested in modern music would consider taking up the position, as performing such music was starting to attract a younger crowd into the group. 

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“Brass band music has progressed a lot, we’re not only doing marches, hymns and Anzac Days,” he said.

“We’re into movie themes and more modern music.” 

The group has about 20 members now and numbers have been slowly increasing over the past years. 

“That’s because we started doing different sorts of music,” Mr Dibley said. 

If you are interested in becoming the band master, or would like to join the band as a member, call Mr Winson on 0448 811 517.

Instruments are available to use. 

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