Compiled by Brian Shaunessy
The earliest known recorded activity of Bands was in September 1847 at Maitland racecourse, a William Francis King (the famous Flying Pieman) walked 192 miles in 46.5 hours (presumably to raise money or interest or perhaps he just wanted to do it). He concluded the walk with a procession, band and torchbearers panting (we are told) in the rear.
In May 2002, Eric Shackle contacted the band with information about William Francis King, Until then we did not know who he was. Click here to view information on the Flying Pieman. Many thanks to Eric.
In June 1852, A bridge was opened over Wallis creek (Victoria Bridge). At the opening, a procession was led by brass bands from East Maitland and West Maitland (Maitland was then known as West Maitland).
It is difficult to ascertain when these bands were formed or disbanded (no pun intended). Names of Bands which have served the Maitland community for in excess of 140 years are: East Maitland, West Maitland, Maitland Federal, Maitland Municipal, Burlington Mills (now known as National Textiles), Maitland Military and Citizens Band (The 13th Battalion of which Bill Picken was a playing member), and Maitland City.
The present Maitland City Brass Band was reformed in 1962. The Band had only four instruments of their own (the others were borrowed) and “struggled” along for about four years. In 1968 a public meeting was called to discuss the fate of the band, and, later that year a public appeal was launched. The idea was to equip the band with instruments, uniforms and music.
In latter years Maitland City Council has become an active supporter of the Band (the City Crest is now worn on the uniform Jacket and shirt) providing money grants and the use of Town Hall rooms and the old Baptist Church (which was adjacent to the old Town Hall cafe) for practice and rehearsals. The band also used the old "Monte Pio Hall" At the present time the band rooms and practice hall are in the Old St. Ethels School in Cross St. Maitland. The band moved into these premises in 1991.
Past Band Masters include Bill Picken, Geoff Lennard, Bill O’Loughlin (in 1962), Dennis Babbage, Barry Connell, Les Sandy, Michael Barrett, Michael Philpott, Richard Anderson, Janelle Carter, Conrad Curry, Kevin Young, Bruce Rowlatt and present day Bandmaster, Karen Newton. Past Presidents include Bill Woodhouse, Roy Russell, Harry Heitmyer, George Hughes, Ian Flarrety, Laurice Seigers, Mim White, Rodney Osmond, Peter Varley and John Payne. The Band from an inauspicious start in 1962 has had a great deal of success and has grown to a membership of 60 persons.
The band now (in 2003) boasts 12 life members namely: - Katie Woltschenko, Les Sandy, George Hughes, Laurice Seigers, Joy Moreland (Secretary for many years), Bill Massey, Bob Prescott (who was the first band member to receive a 40 year long service award, presented in 1989,), Larry Barden, Rodney Osmond, Robert Seigers, Peter Varley and Lance Turner. Larry Barden has been with the Band since 1969 (and still plays the Euphonium) he was made a Life Member in 1994.
Quite a few ex band persons have gone on to achieve a variety of things. For example, Michael Golding who was bandmaster in the mid 70’s (at the time being a music teacher at the then Maitland Boys High School) was a sought after pianist and also quite well known for his renditions of Al Jolson’s songs. He went on to be an adjudicator with the Australian Brass Band Association, and at last report was living in Queensland. Milton Cottrill played with the band commencing about 1970. Milton played trombone, (he studied at Newcastle Conservatorium) later playing a “Bass guitar” with a “Rock Band” (which was named “Total Fire Band” and eventually joined the Television station NBN at Newcastle together with “Miss Kim” and “Big Dog”. Michael Woltschenko joined the band about 1969, played cornet and trumpet, won a scholarship to Newcastle Conservatorium, was a teacher at Irrawang High School (taking the school band to victory many times) and at last report was teaching at Coffs Harbour. Johan Seigers joined the band in 1971, played the EEb Tuba, won a Scholarship to Newcastle Conservatorium and also played the Bass and piano in the Concert Band. (Johanna started playing the piano at age 7) He won several solo competitions and went on to also play with Newcastle Transport Band. His brother Peter Seigers was also a member of the band. He joined the band in 1972 and played the Piano and Baritone. Tragically both Johan and Peter were taken from us in a Motor Vehicle accident in late 1975. Johan and Peter’s brother's, Robert and Micheal are still playing with the band. Steven Elsom won the under 15 Mid North Coast solo competition on trombone in 1973 and in 1974 took out 2 first places and 2 third places in solo competitions. In 1974 Maitland City Brass Band under the baton of Michael Golding won the NSW junior contest, and not to be outdone Mr Frank Simm with the junior band won the State D grade junior section. In this junior band at this time there were no players over the age of 19 years.
Also in 1974 Maitland hosted the Mid North Coast Championships (Warwick Sands was the adjudicator) and Maitland City came out the winner with Newcastle Police Boys (as they were known then) second and Toronto band was third. Dave Hampton played with brass bands for 35 years he played cornet from the age of 12 and played with Maitland Military and Citizens Band in the early 30’s. He played with the 13th Battalion band at Rutherford and was very active in getting young players to join in the late 60’s. At one stage there were more players than instruments. Dave held the position of treasurer and retired in 1976. Mark McDermott joined the band in 1969 playing cornet at the age of 11, was junior band master and on leaving school studied music at the Newcastle Conservatorium, and at last report was teaching music.
At the 118th anniversary of St. Paul’s Church (in Cross Street Maitland), in 1976 under the baton of Dennis Babbage, 5 members of Maitland City Brass Band, namely:- Glen Moore, Milton Cotterill, Geoff Moore, Mark McDermott and Michael Woltschenko played 16th century music.
Les Sandy came to Maitland City Brass Band in 1977 when the band was actually floundering without a leader. He had played with the Royal Marine Band in England and also played with Waratah Mayfield. Several of his family were also in the Band (his son Joseph Sandy still plays trombone with the band). Les unfortunately passed away in 2003 and is sadly missed. His legacy will live on however and I know many people in the band are better people for having the privilege of knowing him.
Andrew Hill Joined the Junior Band in 1976 under the baton of Michael Barrett , was promoted to senior band in 1978 and won various awards. After leaving the band he started a Rock Band, played in a Dance Band doing Guitar and vocals and at one time started his own recording studio.
Ian Massey played cornet and trumpet, studied at Newcastle Conservatorium, played roles at the local Gilbert and Sullivan and Musical society, taught music at Bega, and at Grossman High School and is at present the Musical Director of “Gilbert and Sullivan” while teaching at Irrawang High School.
Luke Bradbery was a member of the band from 1986 to 1997 and in 1994 won an award as musician of the year which was presented to him by the then Mayor Councilor Bob Gee. Luke is now at Newcastle Conservatorium furthering his musical studies.
Laurice Seigers has been Publicity Officer with the band for 25 years and in 1978 was awarded the 2KO Community Service award. Laurice also received the award of merit of the NSW Band Association in 1987.
In 1976 The Maitland City Council installed a trophy case at the library, which soon overflowed, and a much larger display case was placed in the foyer of the Town Hall, which is now almost filled to capacity.
Competition successes have been as follows: -
|1974||Junior B grade NSW Championships
Junior D grade NSW Championships
Mid North Championships
|1975||National D grade Championships|
|1978||Singleton Centenary Championships|
|1980||Mid north Coast Championships
State C grade Championships
|1981||National C grade Championships|
|1983||Gunnedah Festival Brass Championships
State C grade Championships
|1985||State C grade Championships|
|1993||State Junior C grade Championships|
|1996||National D grade Championships|
|1997||Regraded to Senior C Grade|
|1998||National C Grade Championships|
In 1984 The C and D grade championships were held in Maitland on the 22nd and 23rd of September. We had in attendance the President and Secretary of the NSW Band Association and the Championships were attended by (the then) Mayor Mr. Ken Guy.
There have been numerous minor placing’s as well as many successful soloists.
The bands intends to hold concerts throughout the year at the Town Hall, as well as our usual performances at places like Morpeth, Walka, Maitland Steamfest, and our usual busy period over Christmas. Maitland City Brass Band also performs at Retirement Homes and the like throughout the year.