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Hallelujah, the band’s bringing Santa to town


Geoff McGregor is hoping to bring some traditional Christmas cheer back to Newcastle this year.

The former tenor horn player says, after the year that 2020 has been, some festive frivolity is long overdue.

As secretary of the Cardiff Northlakes Brass Band, Geoff believes a set of good tunes and some classic Christmas carols will help the community round off an unprecedented 12 months.

“It’s been a shocker of a year,” he said. “And I think we all need a bit of fun.

“We usually have three concerts a year but, with COVID, that’s all stopped.”

The band will perform a Christmas concert at the Warner’s Bay Theatre, formerly the Warner’s Bay Performing Arts Centre, on Sunday 13 December from 2pm.

With a combined 700 years of brass band experience, the group of 28 is hoping to attract some younger audience members this year.

“We are made up of a range of ages, from teens to an 80-year-old,” Geoff said.

“We’d love our audience to be the same, that’d be wonderful.

“I think families would love getting back into some Christmas traditions, especially this year.”

‘Christmas in Brass 2020’ will feature the sounds of more than a dozen different instruments, including trombones, bass, percussion, cornets, and horns.

Boasting members with musical backgrounds that include The Salvation Army Band, the group has also won NSW Band Association state championships three years in a row, and returned after 12 months to win a fourth time.

Despite not rehearsing together for three months after COVID cancelled group gatherings, the band has been making up for lost time, returning to practice in June.

Aside from musical talent, Geoff says the program comes with its own drawcard, conductor Bruce Rowlatt.

“He is well known throughout the region for his work with Hunter School of Performing Arts in Broadmeadow,” Geoff said.

“We’re lucky to have him.”

A full program, including well-known carols, has been prepared by the band, with a promise of something for everyone.

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