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Banding together for 150y

It was a real privilege to have the honour of addressing the function which celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Masterton District Brass Band.

Whichever way you look at it, 150 years is a long span of years and it speaks volumes for the dedication, loyalty and resilience of a whole heap of people that the band have made it this far … and is in a position where they could very well see out another 150 years, or perhaps even longer.

I mean, let’s face it, no group or organisation gets to 150 years without having its share of adversity and I know reading the history of the Masterton District Brass Band [as it is called now] that there have been times when its very survival has been in jeopardy.

There is an old saying that when times get tough, the tough get going, and I reckon that would pretty well sum up the sheer resolve and, I guess, stubbornness of band members over the years to keep things up and running.

It would be mind-boggling to think just how many community events held in Masterton over the past 150 years have not been made that little bit extra special because of the presence of the Brass Band.

Or how many lives have been touched in a positive way by the wonderful music they provide. Heck, in 150 years that would probably run into the millions!

It would be interesting too, wouldn’t it, to have some count on the number of people through those 150 years who have had their first taste of what it feels like to be a member of a Brass Band by joining this organisation. Many of them no doubt have gone on to become future leaders in the band.

Even today I know there is strong emphasis on building up the number of young people because, at the end of the day, they will be the foundations of the band in the years ahead. Their junior band has been making great strides and anyone who has had the pleasure of appreciating their musical talents will surely agree good building blocks are already in place.

As Mayor, I am proud that the Masterton District Council has been a strong supporter of the Masterton District Band from way back and that this support is as strong now as it ever was.

History shows that from the early 20th Century, the band’s practice room was located in Queen Elizabeth Park, firstly in the old tea kiosk built in 1906 and located behind the grandstand.

And when the Coronation Hall was built in 1912 and the old kiosk became redundant the band used the hall as its practice room for many years.

In 1984 what was then known as the Masterton Municipal Band came to the council with plans for a new bandroom, and after consulting parks superintendent Colin Pugh, they came to the conclusion a site on Park Avenue, just west of the superintendent’s house, would be most appropriate.

Colin suggested an octagonal building reflecting the shape of the nearby fernery and band rotunda would be ideal and so the new bandrooms were built with an opening date of March 15, 1986.

It was an absolute pleasure to congratulate, on behalf of the community, the Masterton District Band on reaching the grand old age of 150 years, to thank them for the countless hours of entertainment and enjoyment they have provided us and to wish them the very best for the future.

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