That big brassy sound

December 7th, 2023That big brassy sound

Creswick Brass Band has extra reason to feel festive after being named Band of the Year at the recent Lions Blue Lake Festival in Mount Gambier, South Australia.
Some of the members of Creswick brass Band ahead of this Saturday’s community carols event in Creswick: Back row, from left, Cat Ogata, Rob Ohlsen and Katrina Bird and front, from left, Pam Clark and Sheena Johnson Image: Eve Lamb

Creswick Brass Band has extra reason to feel festive after being named Band of the Year at the recent Lions Blue Lake Festival in Mount Gambier, South Australia.

Facing plenty of talented competition from around Victoria and interstate the Creswick band came second in the contest street march, won best band in the Christmas parade, best hymn on the day, best stage march (open C Grade), took first place in the Open C Grade competition and ended up being named Band of The Year.

Competition for the November 18 event included bands form Adelaide, Ballarat, Mount Gambier, Warrnambool, and Portland. Tastefully decked out as Christmas trees for at least some of their public appearances, the members of Creswick Brass had particularly impressed as they took to the streets of Mount Gambier for the Christmas parade.

“I think we were all extremely proud,” said band member and cornet player, Sheena Johnson.

“It made all the hard work worthwhile. Our director works magic and all of the musicians in the band are very talented and very loyal.”

Taking the multiple awards is a big coup for the local band whose existence dates all the way back to the 1800s with some leaves of absence, however, due to world wars, global pandemics and the like.

It’s clearly now back with a vengeance and some 60 members whose ages range from about eight to about 80, says Creswick Brass Band president, Rob Ohlsen who plays tuba.

“We play anywhere and everywhere and it’s starting to really get back now,” he said.

“It was very slow over Covid for us and for a lot of bands. We have everything brass from cornet to tuba and also percussion, and a main focus for us now is percussion. We need more percussion.

“We are a happy band and very family oriented and we do lots of different gigs. We practice on a Thursday night at the Senior Cits in Creswick so people who are interested can just roll up.”
Rob says beginners are welcome with a beginners’ practice session at 6pm and the more advanced rehearsal session from 7pm.

“Music is just universal. Everyone loves it and giving enjoyment back to people is great,” Rob says.

Having acclimatised to the festive season vibe during its Mount Gambier coup, the band is now looking to play plenty of live public gigs in the lead up to Christmas, including the community Carols at The Courthouse event being hosted by Creswick Theatre Company this Saturday, December 9.

The carolling gig and the many other performances that the band has lined up between now and Christmas offer great opportunities to check it out, enjoy its big brassy sound and maybe even think about joining up, Rob says.

There’s other performances coming up in Creswick including evening gigs at Creswick’s ‘Christmas House’ on Creswick-Ballarat Road on December 23 and 24.

The upcoming Carols at The Courthouse event will also feature community carolling led by local singers including members of the Creswick Chorus, local school children and anyone else who wants to get along, flex their own vocal chords and let the seasonal joy rip. Words: Eve Lamb.

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