Concert band rolls out the red carpet for learners

IF you’ve ever wanted to learn more about joining the Derwent Valley Concert Band, here’s your chance. The same applies if you’ve ever wanted to learn to play an instrument but haven’t yet had the opportunity.

The band was formed 30 years ago to give the students of local high schools the opportunity to continue to play and develop their skills after leaving school. From the beginning, there were also experienced musicians in the band to mentor the beginners.

In its 30th anniversary year, the band is starting a new learner program for people wanting to start learning an instrument or to dust off an old one. Spokesperson Sarah Okenyo said these sessions would start on July 26 and continue each Wednesday from 5.15-6.15pm in the New Norfolk War Memorial Hall, Circle St, during school terms. “All are welcome and no experience is necessary,” Sarah said. “It is aimed at ages 10 and above.”

Derwent Valley Concert Band members performing for students at Molesworth Primary School.

Last month saw band members visit local schools to promote the learner program to the students and encourage their participation. “It was a fun couple of days filled with instrument demonstrations and ensemble playing,” Sarah said. “Children were able to ask questions, try the instruments, and even conduct!” she said. John O’Carroll, who performs the Last Post at local Anzac Day services, entertained the students with a trumpet he made from a garden hose.

Despite this focus on school visits, the learner program is open to all ages, with adults very welcome. “The cost is being kept to a minimum,” Sarah said. “A yearly membership of the band and the book from which to study comes to less than $5 a week.”

Sarah thanked the respective principals and music teachers at Molesworth Primary School and New Norfolk High School for welcoming the band’s representatives into their schools.

For more information send an email to or look up the contact details at

TOP PHOTO: Molesworth Primary School student Laurie McMaster receives instruction in playing the euphonium from Derwent Valley Concert Band member Sue McLaurin.

See more Derwent Valley and Central Highlands news online and read our print edition every second Friday.

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