People

Robert Pattie – 2017 Frank Wright Medal Recipient

Robert Pattie has been awarded the 2017 Frank Wright Medal in recognition of over 40 years of service to Victorian Community Bands. It honours famous Ballarat musician Frank Wright who conducted bands in Ballarat before an illustrious career in London as a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and as Director of Music for London County Council. The award is presented annually to a member of the Victorian banding community who has made an extraordinary contribution to banding.

A bio on Robert can be found below:

Robert Pattie was born in Ballarat in on the 19th March 1944.  Both his grandfather (Bert) and his father (Ken) have played in the Ballarat City Band.  Bert played under Percy Code and Frank Wright and Ken under Alfred Rowell, Harry Shugg, and Charles Smith.  Robert is a third generation member of the City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band with his sister Jan. Robert’s two children and Jan’s two children have also played with the band at one stage.

Robert first learned the cornet in the Ballarat City Junior Band in the early 1950’s, and moved into the Senior Band in 1958.  Since then, he has played in A, B, C and D grade bands on Bb Cornet, Eb Soprano Cornet and Flugel Horn.  His main position has been and still is Solo Cornet.

Over the years Robert has played with and even conducted many bands in the Western and North Western regions of Victoria.  Some of those bands have been Ouyen (whilst teaching at Murryville Vic/NSW Border), Stawell, Maryborough, Beaufort and Bendigo.  In 1993 he became a member of the Vintage Brass Band, which rehearses in the Ballarat City Brass Band Rooms.

When the Vintage Brass Band Musical Director Ray Harris became too ill to conduct in 2005, Bob took over the Musical Director Role.  A position he still holds to this day.  One thing of note is that the Vintage Brass Band was made up of retired Brass Musicians from many different Cities and Towns as far away as Geelong, Ararat and Bendigo and smaller towns such as Maryborough, Daylesford, Beaufort, Warrack, Blampied, Bannockburn, etc. Robert is the only member of the Vintage Brass Band both past and present who can boast that he has had both parents come and listen to him play in the Vintage Brass band.

Robert was made a Life Member of the Ballarat City Brass Band in 1992, and in 1995 was appointed Musical Director.  A position he held continuously for ten years.  He also has continued as the Assistant Musical since 2005.  He has also been the band librarian and historian for over 25 years.

Until 1992, Robert was a Commerce Teacher at Ballarat High School, and presently works full time with both Brass and Jazz Bands.  With the latter, he has performed in all Australian States, and toured USA, UK, and Europe.

Robert has always had a strong interest in the History of Ballarat, and this has extended to the history of local bands and the South Street Contest.

As the band historian and also an avid history buff on brass bands in General and Ballarat in particular, he decided to write the history of the Ballarat City Brass Band, from its formation as Bulch’s Model Brass Band in 1887, becoming the City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band in 1900 up until 2000.  This book was released in its 100th anniversary year in 2000.  It was approx. 180 pages of facts, names, South Street and other competitions around that the Ballarat City Band were involved in and also includes information on other bands as well.  In 2010 Bob Pattie re-released the book but with an added 220 pages of more detailed history of the band from 2000 to 2010.  The new book also included another 80 or more articles of history pre 2000 that were not included in the first draft as Bob is constantly finding new history on the band.  Many musical historians and others have read the books and have been overwhelmingly praising of his work.

In 2012 Bob released another history book of another Ballarat Brass Band, called Prout’s Ballarat Brass Band.  This band was formed in 1857 in the Gold Fields of Ballarat and went on to be one of the most highly decorated drill bands in Australian history.  The band folded in 1924.  Although a lot smaller (approx. 60 pages) than the Ballarat City Band history it is an extraordinary compilation of the history of Prout’s and other bands in the Ballarat District between 1857 and 1900.

All publications have been stored at the National Library of Australia, the Ballarat City Library and other teaching facilities around Australia.  Copies of Prout’s and the Ballarat City Brass Band books are still available from the Ballarat City Brass Band.

Robert Pattie has for many years been involved with not only Brass Bands but also Jazz Groups/Bands.  It is his second passion.  His most telling Jazz band has been the Creole Bells, who have travelled the world and play at many historical venues, including “Basin Street Blues” of the title refers to the main street of Storyville, the red-light district of early 20th-century New Orleans”.  They have also performed and travelled throughout USA, Europe and England as well as all over Australia.

Robert has also been very supportive and instrumental in training many juniors over his whole brass band life.  His interests in training younger members of the band started before even his own children started learning brass instruments.  He has over the years been the training band MD on several occasions.  It would be fair to say that hundreds of brass band musicians have been taught by Robert Pattie.  Even today he assists the Ballarat City Brass Band Training Band MD with the 14 juniors the band currently has.

Robert Pattie has been and still is the back bone of the Ballarat City Municipal Brass Band.  He has been a member of the band as Junior and Senior playing member for over 60 years and still contributes over and above that expected of any musician in a band.  He still acts as the Band Music Librarian, could tell almost to the piece of music what is in the library, and we are talking of over 127 years of music.  Original written pieces from the likes of Percy Code and others.  He usually can even tell you who arranged the music most of the time as well.

The City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band has survived as one of not very many bands that have continuously been a brass band without ever having to amalgamate with another band.  This is due in part to people like Robert Pattie who are always there behind the scenes, making things happen and getting it done.

Robert has during his time with the band also held every committee position within the Band.  He never wanted to be President but in November 2016 he finally relented and took on the role of President.  Bob Pattie has been an active committee member on and off for more than 40 years.

Robert may not be as famous as some of the Ballarat City Brass Band legends in days gone by including Percy Code and Frank Wright but his input into the Ballarat City Brass Band has helped keep the band alive and still actively training future Brass band musicians, participating in community events and concerts, as well as competitions.

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Megan Stapleton awarded Life Membership of the Victorian Bands’ League

At the 2016 Victorian Bands’ League Annual General Meeting, the delegates present endorsed through acclamation the nomination of Megan Stapleton for Life Membership of the Victorian Bands’ League. This is the highest accolade for any member of the Victorian Bands’ League. Congratulations Megan!

The following bio was read out on the day:

Megan Stapleton started playing the trombone in 1997. Since then she has been a longtime member of the Victorian State Youth Brass Band, involvement from player to mentor and committee member.

She joined the VBL as a Delegate for Moonee Valley Brass in 2003 and an Executive Member in May 2004. In 2007 and 2012, when the VBL was running the Nationals she not only worked as a member of the Organising Committee but when volunteers were not available for certain jobs she dragged her whole family in to assist. Since then she has served many roles on the VBL Executive which include Councillor, Minute Secretary, Contest Administrator, Contest Supervisor and, since 2012, President and VBL Delegate to the NBCA and ex-officio of the MAB.

As well as being involved on the VBL Executive, Megan has been President of Moonee Valley Brass since 2010. Prior to that she served as Treasurer of the band from 2003 – 2010. She started the Moonee Valley Community Choir in 2011, started the Mooney Valley Brass Development Band in 2013 and in 2015 she was awarded Moonee Valley City Council ‘Spirit of Moonee Valley’ Award for contribution to Arts and Culture and named “Local Hero” for 2015.

Plenty of guys have been dubbed “Mr Brass Band” over the years, but none have made such an impact on the movement at such a young age. Megan is a truly dedicated “Stateswoman” for the banding movement and gives willingly everything she has to offer. Megan is a peace-maker, a motivator, a director and a true friend to all that know her. She embodies all the attributes that make a true leader.

The Victorian Bands League Executive Members take great pleasure in nominating Megan Stapleton for Life Membership of the VBL.

Nominated By

Marlene Davies                                                       Danny van Bergan
Ian Douglas                                                             Helen Gray
Brenton Burley                                                        Brett Pyke
Jeremy de Korte                                                     Angelique Lele

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Clifford Jervis awarded Life Membership of the Victorian Bands’ League

At the 2016 Victorian Bands’ League Annual General Meeting, the delegates present endorsed through acclamation the nomination of Clifford Jervis for Life Membership of the Victorian Bands’ League. This is the highest accolade for any member of the Victorian Bands’ League. Congratulations Clifford!

The following bio was read out on the day:

Cliff commenced his banding at East Kew Central School Band at the age of 10 years, playing the Tenor Horn. On leaving school, Cliff joined the East Kew Citizens’ Band which eventually became the Kew Citizens’ Band in the 1950’s. He was a member of this band for 33 years and was awarded the Victorian Bands’ League (VBL) Badge of Merit. During his membership of Kew Citizens’ Band, Cliff was appointed Delegate to the VBL Executive Council.

In 1969, Cliff was appointed VBL Delegate overseeing the ABC Radio Bands’ contest. He was also appointed VBL Delegate to the inaugural VBL Music Camp. In the early 1970’s, Cliff was elected Vice President of the VBL where he remained in this position for the ensuring year. He was official Pacing Adjudicator for the State Quickstep Championships in Ballarat, and at VBL contests in Ivanhoe and Kew.

Cliff joined “Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways” Band in 1978 on EEb bass and also BBb tuba. He joined Corowa Border District Band in 1990 where we was awarded the VBL Certificate (& Badge) of Honour (1993).

Cliff served as President of Kew Band, Vic President of Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways band (MMTB), President of Corowa Border District Band and is currently President of Murray Brass Inc. Rutherglen.

Cliff was appointed Librarian at MMTB and also at Corowa Border District BAnd. He was a playing member on BBb bass and occasional percussionist with all bands and also Drum Major as required. He currently plays EEb bass and side drum with Wodonga Brass on a regular basis.

Cliff is a Life Member of Kew Citizens’ Band, MMT Band and Corowa Border District Band.

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Success for Victoria at the 2016 Australian National Band Championships!

The 2016 Australian National Band Championships were held over the Easter weekend in Gawler, South Australia. Despite some tough competition from bands around the country and overseas, there were some great results for Victorian bands and soloists.

A special congratulations to the following:

Ararat City Band – Open D Grade Brass National Champions
Boroondara Brass – Open B Grade Brass National Champions
Footscray Yarraville City Band – Open A Grade Brass – 3rd place
Boroondara Harmony Brass – Open C Grade Brass – 3rd place
Keith Moore – Open D Grade Brass Champion Drum Major
Michael Mathers – Open B Grade Brass Champion Drum Major (for the fourth consecutive year) and the overall Champion Drum Major Jim Brill Memorial Trophy (for the second consecutive year)
Aidan Purdy – National Champion in all 4 tuba sections – an incredible achievement
May Thomas  – National Open French Horn Champion
Andrew McAdam – National Open Trumpet Champion
Sam Beagley – Junior Bb Cornet National Champion and National Junior Champion of Champions!
Llewellyn Morris – Open Tenor Horn – 3rd place
Steven Vlahek – Open Timpani & Open Snare Drum – 2nd place
Harrison Steele-Holmes – Junior Tenor Trombone – 3rd place

A full list of results from the weekend can be found here

Ararat at Gawler

 

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Kevin Hillier Awarded OAM on Australia Day 2016

Congratulations to Kevin Hillier who was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to Music through military and brass bands. 

Fittingly he celebrated by conducting the Stonnington City Brass at the annual Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony at the Malvern Town Hall.

Kevin Hillier

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Keith Ford Awarded OAM on Australia Day 2016

Respected member of the brass band community, Keith Ford, received a well-deserved award on Australia Day 2016. The Huffers and Puffers founder was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). Read the article from the Whittlesea Leader (26 Janurary 2016) below:

THE founder of Huffers and Puffers, a band for retired musicians, has received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) today.

Keith Ford, 86, was recognised for his life long dedication to community bands.

The Mill Park resident first picked up an instrument at the age of eight when he played the tenor horn in the West Coburg State School band.

Mr Ford has been part of a number of bands over the years including the Moreland City Brass Band, formerly Brunswick City Municipal Band, Coburg City Band, Greater Bendigo Concert Brass Band, Heidelberg Brass Band and the Victorian Bands League.

“Plenty of things stand out. Winning our first B Grade championship at the Australian National Championships with the Brunswick Brass Band,” he said.

Another highlight for Mr Ford was his involvement with the youth training band program at Brunswick in 1967, which he ran through to the 1990s.

During this time he also helped set up the Victorian State Youth Brass Band.

“A motion was put up at the Victorian Bands League to start a Victorian State Youth Brass Band and I had something to do with that motion, I think I seconded the motion,” he said.

In 1993 Mr Ford founded the Huffers and Puffers Band, for retirees.

“There were six of us who started from the Brunswick City Municipal Band,” Mr Ford said. “We’re all retirees and we play at nursing homes and retirement villages.”

In 2002, Mr Ford gave up playing instruments and took up conducting.

“I’m not sure who nominated me, but I thank my supporters,” he said.

keith_ford_oam

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Walter Pope awarded Life Membership of the Victorian Bands’ League

At the 2015 Victorian Bands’ League Annual General Meeting,Wally LM award
the delegates present endorsed through acclamation the nomination of Walter Pope for Life Membership of the Victorian Bands’ League. This is the highest accolade for any member of the Victorian Bands’ League. Congratulations Wally!

The following bio was read out on the day: Continue reading

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Election of the 2015/16 VBL Executive Council

Congratulations to all those elected to the 2015/16 Victorian Bands’ League Executive Council.

The full list of those elected can be found below: Continue reading

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Ian Douglas awarded the 2014 Frank Wright Medal

Long serviniang member of the VBL Executive and Croydon Citizens’ Bands Ian Douglas has been awarded the 2014 Frank Wright Medal in recognition of over 40 years of service to Victorian Community Bands. It honours famous Ballarat musician Frank Wright who conducted bands in Ballarat before an illustrious career in London as a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and as Director of Music for London County Council.

When conferring the award at the Victorian State Band Championships in Ballarat, VBL President Megan Stapleton told the audience that Ian has been President of Croydon Citizens’ Bands for 24 years, and has served on the VBL Executive for 35 years, with a total of eight years as President. He is currently a VBL Vice-President, and still plays in several bands.
Continue reading

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Sean Priest to Adjudicate the State Band Championships

The VBL is pleased to announce the adjudicator of the 2014 State Band Championship is Sean Priest. Sean is a performer, conductor, teacher and academic. He currently teaches music performance and history at UTAS Conservatorium of Music, St Michael’s Collegiate, and the Hutchins School in Hobart. Please see below for an extract from his CV:

sean priest“My first ‘sound world’ was the Howrah Citadel band of the Salvation Army. I started on cornet when my parents bought me a cornet for my 8th birthday, and not long after joined the Returned Services Memorial Band under the tutelage of my formative teacher and mentor, Arthur Edwards. My earliest memories are of wanting to play Erik Leidzen’s “Tucker” like Derek Smith with the New York Staff Band. Along with early cassette tapes of the ISB and Melbourne Staff Band, I quickly came to know the names of Harry Mortimer, James Shepherd, Maurice Murphy and Ken Smith, these long before I heard about the Haydn Trumpet Concerto or Maurice Andre. At 13, I won the Junior Cornet Section at the Australian National’s. At the announcement of results, like most people, I was in shock. I burst into tears”. Continue reading

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