Festival of Bands celebrates Albury City Band's 150th anniversary

MAKING MUSIC: For 150 years, Albury City Band members have been serving their community and building their own family. Pictured are (clockwise from back left) Terry Cockayne (trumpet), John Carle (drums), Janine Shanahan (trombone), Lynne Moriarty (flute),  Graham Wright (clarinet),  Frank Sergi (alto saxophone) and Sean McDermott (tuba). Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

MAKING MUSIC: For 150 years, Albury City Band members have been serving their community and building their own family. Pictured are (clockwise from back left) Terry Cockayne (trumpet), John Carle (drums), Janine Shanahan (trombone), Lynne Moriarty (flute), Graham Wright (clarinet), Frank Sergi (alto saxophone) and Sean McDermott (tuba). Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

A COMMON theme emerges when musicians explain why they play with Albury City Band.

“It’s the community service aspect that really draws me in,” flute player Lynne Moriarty said.

“To be able to do that, but also combine it with something I love doing is fabulous.”

About 35 times a year, Albury City Band adds its tuneful contribution to a range of Border occasions, a role the group has fulfilled since 1867.

On Saturday this 150th anniversary will be celebrated through a Festival of Bands in Albury’s QEII Square, with the City Central Church in David Street being the wet weather plan. 

From mid-morning, groups will present traditional and contemporary band music along with jazz, blues, medleys and vocal music.

Other groups will be Bonegilla Blues Band, Canberra City Big Band, Monash Concert Band, Footscray-Yarraville City Band, Australian Army Band Kapooka, Wodonga Brass and the Murray Conservatorium Big Band.

Albury City Band music director David Worrall said the day would bring about 180 musicians into the city.

“The music will suit all tastes, I hope,” he said.

Worrall said Albury City Band presently had 39 members and remained strong after 150 years.

“It’s grown almost by a third in the last year and is continuing to do so,” he said.

“Our motto, particularly for our 150th, is ‘Building community since 1867’.

“Building the connections of community and bringing people together is our principal role.”

Band president Frank Sergi joined more than 25 years ago and now his wife and daughter are also members.

“It’s great to have family groups come through and see some of the kids move on,” he said.

“I really enjoy being with like-minded people, making music.”

Mrs Moriarty returned to the band just weeks ago after a lengthy break, having previously been a member for 11 years.

“I’d keep seeing these guys around and every time I would see them, they’d say, ‘When are you coming back?’,” she said.

 With many familiar faces still involved, slotting back in proved easy.

“It didn’t feel like starting something new,” she said.

“It just felt like coming home, really.”