For the first time in many, many years, Townsville hosted the QLD State Band Championships, and Townsville Brass proudly won the B Grade section!
North Queensland were well represented with bands from Cairns and Townsville attending, as well as some of our Southern neighbours from the SE corner who made the trek.
A very happy Townsville brass has returned victorious from the 2014 National Band Championships, winning B Grade!
Under the very capable leadership of Dale Hosking, the band won the Hymn, one of our proudest moments onstage, came second in the Test, fourth in the Own Choice, and third in the Stage March. Under a debutante performance from Drum Major Ashley Baxter, the band came third in the Street March!
Townsville Brass began as the Townsville Railway Band in 1913 as told by an anonymous bandsman in the following newspaper article from 1923.
The Railway Band.
(Townsville Daily Bulletin 26 Feb. 1923)
The Townsville Railway Band was first formed early in 1913 and a good deal of preliminary work had to be accomplished before the Band was brought into existence. During a visit of the late Commissioner for Railways, (Colonel Evans) to the North in the latter part of 1912 a deputation waited on him, with a request for assistance to start the band on the same lines as that given by the Department in the formation of a band in Brisbane some years previously. Colonel Evans was sympathetic and shortly after his return to Brisbane a grant of £200 was made available; not, however, until the provisional committee of the band were able to give satisfactory assurances that the formation of the band had reached a concrete stage. Subscriptions solicited from railway employees met with a liberal response and with the amounts thus raised the committee were able early in 1913 to make arrangements for the purchase of a set of Boosey class B instruments.
The first practice of the Band was held in April 1913 under the baton of Mr F C Harris, who had been appointed bandmaster. He had a hard row to hoe due to the fact that quite a number of the players had given up band work for some considerable time previous to joining the Railway Band. Mr Harris conducted the band until 4th June 1914, when he tendered his resignation, since when other con- ductors including Mr. F. Teague, Mr. Brown, Mr. P. Arioli and the late Mr. W. Partridge, with able assistance from enthusiastic members carried on until the present Bandmaster, Mr. Lou Gray, was appointed on January 10th 1920.
In 1919 the Townsville Railway Band Association was inaugurated for the purpose of controlling the band, dealing with its finances and conducting the business generally, which was the means of raising the status of the band from mediocrity to its present high standard. The association consists of persons who are not members of the band but the band has representation on same.
Instruments and uniforms to the value of approximately £1000 have been purchased since the appointment of Mr. Gray. The band actually started contesting in the year 1918 as in that year they were successful in winning the C Grade Championship of Queensland at Maryborough. The following year they competed in Rockhampton contest and were successful in running 2nd in A and B Grades. In 1920 they were the winners of the C grade North Queensland Championship held at Cairns. In Charters Towers in 1921 they won the A Grade North Queensland Championship and in Townsville 1922 they were the winners of both the A and B grade North Queensland Championships. In contesting work altogether they have had 22 starts and have secured the premier honours on 19 occasions being 2nd twice and 3rd once. Thus it will be realised they have been very consistent in their playing and at the present time they are the holders of 6 beautiful silver Cups, 4 Championship Certificates, 60 medals and several other trophies which will be on view in the Kodak window at an early date.
The band intends competing in the All Australian Championship Contest to be held in Brisbane at Easter next, and it appeals to the citizens of Townsville and district to give it sufficient financial support to bear the cost of transporting the band thereto.
Source: Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 - 1954) 26 Feb 1923: 4. Web. 22 Nov 2013 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article62465815>.