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In the year 1893 the idea of forming- a brass band at Southland’s progressive port was first, mooted by Mr A. Jooston. now of Wellington. A public meeting was called and liberal support promised, and the band soon became an established institution, with Mr S. Nichol as the first president.

The next difficulty was to secure a competent conductor, and finally Mr Alex. Slater (of Oamaru) was chosen, and he successfully wielded the baton for a number of years, until his departure for Hawera to take up more remunerative employment. With the loss 1 of an energetic conductor the band became like a ship without proper navigation, until the appointment of Mr C. E. Hansen to the position. Though this was Mr Hansen’s first attempt at conducting a band, his ability was proved in his first contest by the band securing second in the march and third in the selection.

Six months later Mr Hanson essayed his second attempt, when the position secured was first in both events, but the third attempt only resulted in second place in the march and third in the selection.

The first appearance of the band at Gore, in 1896. the event being the first contest held under the auspices of the Otago and Southland Country Bands Association. The position then secured was second in the march and first in the selection. The second contest, under Mr Slater’s baton, had the same result as the first, and the third contest resulted in first in the march and fourth in the selection. Then followed, for about four years, a period of disaster for the band, until 1902, when they took first place in the quickstep at Mosgiel, and had every prospect of capturing the same position in the selection, when the electric light went out in the middle of the perperformance. Since the inception of the Otago and Southland Association the band have the distinction of being the only one to have attended all the contests held under the auspices of the Association. And though at times competing when not in a position to do so, the band have always considered (being one of the promoters of the Association) that it was their duty by their presence to uphold the efforts of the Association in carrying out the annual contests.

Since the proper formation of the hand in 1894, they have competed in all at thirteen contests, and in that time have secured in prizes : sixfirsts, five seconds, and two thirds, besides a large number of gold and .silver medals.

It was the original intention of the band to compete at the historical Exhibition contest, but a s this would have made three contests in twel\e months, it was found impossible for members to bear the expense. The members are in the unfortunate position of always having' to pay their own expenses when going away to uphold the musical reputation of Campbell town. Last year the ladies of the port held a carnival in aid of the funds, and the band have placed on record their appreciation' of the good work done by the promoters, ami their thanks are specially duo to Mrs Sutherland, who undertook the onerous duties of secretary ol the carnival committee.

During the past fourteen years the band have received into their ranks many promising young players, who have since left the district, and gone forth better equipped musically to take part in life's struggles. There are still a very few of the first members in the ranks of the band, and they have no doubt, by their hard work and enthusiasm, brought the band through its many difficulties.

Many of our local people are under the impression that it is a hne thing to belong to the band, and get away contesting, but it is not so. Before members become any way proficient, it means many weeks hard practice and a good deal of time and expense. Apart from that, the band are at the call of all local institutions-requiring their services, and, be it said to their credit, they are always pleased to play free of charge. One great drawback to a,band at the port is the many obstacles to giving sufficient outdoor music week after week. There is either some entertainment on, or members are engaged in shipping operations. The oiily remedy for this is to get more members to join, so that the absence of two or three would not interfere with the combination.

The band' have recently acquired an up-to-date uniform, and a new set of instruments, so that they are fuljy equipped for contesting. The present liabilities amount to £2lB (owing for instruments) and £IT6 (for h*i; forms), so that no doubt an appeal will have to be made to the evergenerous public of Campbelltown, who have never yet failed to assist the band through its financial difficulties.

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Bibliographic details

BLUFF NATAL BIND, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 7, 18 May 1907

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BLUFF NATAL BIND Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 7, 18 May 1907

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