History

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Report from the RCB history department for committee meeting 1 April 2008


The research continues in compiling a list of players , conductors & helpers who have assisted RCB along its way over the last 36 years.

The list now stands at 309 including 27 full time conductors . In addition we have had 15 guest conductors including such famed personalities as Ivan Cocking, Ian McLean & Patrick Pickett all conductors of Kapooka band at the time. Other notables were the gifted David Kennedy, Squadron Leader Hicks of RAAF Central , Russell Hammond of the Inland Music Schools system & Cliff Goodchild ( Don Pembletons friend ) who was principal Tuba with SSO.

Only 9 of the 27 conductors have been sourced from the civilian ranks. This explains why the average tenure ( due to postings ) works out at a rather short 16.5 months per conductor.

Photo from the 1950s
Photo from the 1950s

Dr. Roland Bannister, our founding conductor, clocked up 132 months, ( about 12 years ) a figure which will probably not be equaled. Second place goes to our second conductor, the amazing Lindsay Frost who clocked up 38 months. When serious, Lindsay played an absolutely beautiful alto sax. Lindsay was from the Con. by way of the Canberra school of music. Third place goes to our third conductor and by far the longest serving conductor from Kapooka , Richard McBride, with 36 months. Richard has the distinction of conducting us to our best placing in a contest. This was a second place in Canberra.

1950s Uniform
1950s Uniform

Stephen Deakes and Mick Beeton are tied as the fourth longest serving conductors with 33 months each, a pretty good effort for full time Kapooka players. Both were very skilled players as well as being good conductors. Stephen was the Army’s specialist bass reed player and was often sent to distant states to play in important shows. Mick was a great drummer as all who knew him will agree. Mick was also a great builder of the band, instigating the purchase of the RCB trailer along with the percussion gear, stands & PA system that it houses. In Mick’s day RCB was responsible for paying the conductors honorarium, a system set up by one of our great conductor’s Peter Grant. Mick donated half of this money back to the band, which went a long way to help in purchasing the equipment mentioned above.

Many fine players and wonderful conductors have passed through the band over the past 36 years and RCB can be proud of its record in providing a rehearsal every school week during this time. That adds up to an impressive one thousand four hundred & forty regular rehearsals. Rehearsals have been held mainly at the Conservatorium but in more primitive circumstances than we find ourselves in now. RCB began in Roland’s time rehearsing in what is now the upstairs studio. We then moved to the wooden building east of the Blakemore building where we are now. From here rehearsals moved to the psychology building ( appropriate ) on North Campus of CSUR & then back to South Campus in June 1992 to what is now the Bannister room. RCB has also conducted rehearsals at Kapooka, San Isadore, Lake Albert School, The old Teachers College auditorium to the North of the Blakemore building, Salvation Army building in Edward St., Football hall at Gumly & no doubt some others I have missed.


RCB have performed in many places including just about every school in Wagga where we played at the annual Fetes in the early years. The Base Hospital & Calvary, The Haven, Carmelite Monastry, Home of Compassion, Forrest Centre, Wagga airport, CSUR student union bldg north campus, many football grounds in Wagga, & Temora. The Civic Theatre, the Playhouse, Market Place, Temora Hall, Cootamundra theatre & show ground, Lockhart hall, Ladysmith, St. Johns Church, St. Andrews Church, Wesley Church & of course Christmas Eve at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. We have performed concerts in the parks around Wagga & at Naranderra & street concerts in Tumut. RCB has played in Canberra, Camden & Nowra.

The band has hosted two ATA ( Australian Trombone Ass.) national conferences & the South Australia Trombone Choir. RCB has billeted bands from Sydney on two occasions & staged combined concerts. Not to mention performing at the Wagga Jazz fest on several notable occasions.

The faithful committee’s have kept the band on track down through the years. In the early years the Committee was made up of many non playing members of the public, often with children in the band. Who could forget the incredible Cedric May our first president. Cedric was a gifted wheat scientist who did pioneering work on genetical modification. We even had a social committee that took care of catering on the many occasions when a few drinks and a bit of a nibble were appreciated. This idea has been revived at intervals but none has been as long lasting as in the days of Carmen Buik & Jill Morrow in the Roland era.

In the early years money for playouts was rare so the band ran many fund raisers in order to stay afloat. We raffled a bicycle supplied by Kidsons each year. Mary Kidson a past alderman of the city was & still is one of our great supporters. Remember the chocolate drives, endless selling of raffle tickets and the huge organization that went towards our major concerts at the Civic Theatre, largely organized by the remarkable Graeme Callander our amazing tuba player of many years. I think I like the present system where organizations seem happy to pay the band well for services rendered. The increase in marching jobs is notable.

RCB has recently become an ensemble of the Riverina Conservatorium of Music under the guidance of director Hamish Tait. This has brought several operating advantages including the removal of the previous responsibility of collecting fees and paying the conductor. Under the old system RCB was a fee paying affiliated ensemble.


It is the history departments intention to make notes on as many of RCB’s players as we can. This will in time give a social history of the band down the years. I invite all of you to make notes on anyone or anything that you feel should be preserved in our history.