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Monday, May 17, 2021

Waratah Brass Newcastle hits right note on national stage

Waratah Brass Newcastle recently hit the right note at the Australian National Online Festival of Bands.

The oldest continually operating community brass band in the Hunter was awarded the highest honours at the event, terrific recognition in elite company.

Waratah Brass secured two platinum and two golds in the B grade section, while the junior, learner and recreational players of the local organisation, the Waratah Brass Academy Band, returned home with another couple of golds in D grade.

Amazingly, it was their first appearance on the national stage.

“As a whole, we’re extremely proud of their achievements over the Easter weekend and the accolades received from all over the world for their musical proficiency and community spirit,” Waratah Brass Newcastle president Darren Nichols said.

“The Australian National Band Championships were to be originally staged in Newcastle and would have seen brass and concert bands from throughout the country descend on the Civic Theatre and Town Hall to compete for national titles in various sections and grades.

“However, the organisers, the Band Association of NSW and the National Band Council of Australia decided last year to cancel the live in-person competition and morphed the program into an online music festival, which was live-streamed by the Brassbanned website to an international audience.”

The Australian National Online Festival of Bands featured 70 outfits in a wonderful show of resilience and commitment to community banding.

Brass and concert bands from each state and overseas submitted their pre-recorded video entries that were then adjudicated by an expert for critique and award.

And, they were presented with awards at either platinum, gold, silver or bronze levels based on their performance.

“All bands are community-based organisations with non-professional musicians who dedicate their time and skill to hours of practice, rehearsal and fundraising each week,” Mr Nicholls said.

“Waratah Brass has held the title of national B grade champions since 2019 when they won the crown in Brisbane.

“They’ve competed at the top of this grade for several years.

“The band is also the current state and East Coast champions in this section.

“It’s an amazing result for Waratah Brass who consistently delivers music at the highest standard locally and on the national and international stage.

“It was great to see the Waratah Brass Academy Band shine on their Australian debut, too.”

The band rehearses on Tuesday evenings in Waratah and is always looking for new members to join its musical family.

Both outfits present a series of concerts throughout the year with a broad mix of musical styles to entertain audiences.

The bands also perform within the community at Anzac Day services and various other festivals and events.

The Australian National Online Festival of Bands is available to be viewed on YouTube through the festival’s website. 

In the meantime, Waratah Brass and the Waratah Brass Academy Band will present a concert featuring their award-winning music at the Warners Bay Theatre on Sunday 2 May from 1.30pm.

Tickets are available at the door.

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