Banding together for restored practice room

July 5th, 2024Banding together for restored practice room

There were several key reasons to strike up the band. No more leaky roof, no more underfloor damp woes, no more dodgy floor boards ... to name but a few.

There were several key reasons to strike up the band. No more leaky roof, no more underfloor damp woes, no more dodgy floor boards … to name but a few.

Very recently, Tuesday June 18, to be exact, Daylesford Community Brass Band joined with Daylesford Museum Reserve Committee of Management, museum volunteers, friends and VIPs to celebrate the opening of the town’s significantly upgraded, restored, and generally fixed band room.

The band has been serving the community for 160 years and rehearsing in the room at the back of the heritage listed museum building for over half a century, as co-tenants of the building, alongside Daylesford and District Historical Society that runs the museum.

But as upgrade works on the band room reached the pointy end over the past four months, the band had been temporarily using a front room in the building, made available to it by the historical society.

The major upgrade of the band room is part of a wider works project to maintain and restore the building, a project overseen by Daylesford Museum Reserve Committee of Management using funds from state, federal and local government tiers.

Works to the band room included underfloor excavation, drainage works, floor rebuild, replacement of the slate roof, upgrade of architraves and skirting boards, new lighting and more.

Secretary of the Daylesford Museum Reserve Committee of Management Sue Howard said about $600,000 in state and federal funding had been attracted and spent on the wider works project over the past three years, including just over $280,000 on the band room.

“These works have conserved the building and helped the tenants be in these spaces as intended,” Sue said, highlighting also the state heritage listing of the building in February this year.

Band members like president and accomplished cornet player, Shani Clark made no secret of their delight at seeing the works on their rehearsal room done and dusted.

“It’s very hard to find the words to express what this means to the band,” Shani said.

“We no longer have to chase the raindrops around with a bucket or be in danger of falling through the floor boards.

“The band has been in this room for 50 years and we now have a space that’s going to last another 50 years.”

D&DHS president Barry Files also took to the mic to reflect on the significance of the works project, recalling a worrying moment prior to work beginning, when three sheets of roofing blew off.

“That’s all behind us now, and as co-tenants (of the building) we’re looking forward to many more years,” Barry said.

Barry also reflected on the band’s gratitude for temporary use of the room that the historical society had kindly offered to it for the purpose.

“The band said there’s a few notes in there… and I naturally thought they meant cash,” Barry mused.

“But when they left to move back in here, the floor was scattered with B-flats and G-sharps.”

Museum curator Gary Lawrence received a special recognition award, presented by DEECA regional manager Kylie Shanahan, acknowledging his vital role in seeing the upgrade through to reality.

“Community is what it’s all about and a space like this is a point of connection,” Gary said, accepting the award, and suggesting that anyone in the community who was suffering from nothing to do could resolve their boredom by getting along to the museum and becoming part of the volunteer crew.

The contractors involved in the works also came in for special mention for the “many times they went over and above” during the major upgrade.

Shani says the band is now hugely enjoying using their beautifully upgraded space to rehearse in.

It will perform at the annual French celebration event in Daylesford Town Hall on July 14, and is also looking forward to a special performance as part of the Christ Church concert series on November 30.

At that concert the band will premiere an original composition which they have commissioned using a Rosalind Pyers donation made in 2022.

“The sound in here is much better too since we got a new floor and carpet,” Shani said.

She says anyone interested is welcome to get along to band rehearsals that happen every Monday evening, and consider joining the band and learning an instrument themselves.

“If anybody wants to learn, or has an instrument they haven’t played for a while, we have quite a strong training band that rehearses from 6pm to 7pm on Mondays and our main rehearsal is from 7.30pm,” she said.

“Just follow the noise.”

Words & Images: Eve Lamb

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