Gala concert to celebrate the musical heart of the valley

THIRTY years of amazing music-making will peak this Saturday, October 21, with the Derwent Valley Concert Band anniversary gala. All of the established components of the band will perform in the gala concert at the Farrall Centre at The Friends’ School in New Town.

Chief conductor Lyall McDermott says there will also be some special presentations on the night, including two debuts. “After much consultation and preparation, the Derwent Valley Learner Program set sail on July 26, and believe it or not, after such a short time the Learner Ensemble will be giving its debut performance – students and tutors – working together under the baton of Nic Courto,” Mr McDermott said.

Clockwise from bottom left, Amanda James, Nadine Collins, Julian Bush, Rolf Miezitis, Alan Greenlees, Marinda Trembath, Sue McLaurin, and Antony Cave.

“Interspersed with the music will be three short films by Sarah Okenyo that each capture a decade of the Derwent Valley Concert Band’s history, and, in the second half of the program, another short film by Sarah is dedicated entirely to this current 30th celebration year,” he said. “The films will add an extra visual element to the concert while giving an entertaining insight into life in the band.”

Mr McDermott said the ultimate highlight of the evening would be the premiere performance of Timtumili Minanya by James Henry. “Commissioned by the DVCB, this the first major work for a concert band ever written by an Australian Aboriginal composer,” he said. “James accepted the commission to write a piece that reflects Tasmania and, in particular, the wilderness, rivers and forests.

“Based on words by Palawa woman Theresa Sainty, this three movement work opens with the rising of the rivers in the high mountain country in the west, flowing on through New Norfolk where it first encounters the saltwater from the east brought in by the tides, then down to and beyond kunanyi/Mt Wellington standing strong behind Hobart, to eventually make its way out to the sea.”

Singer/songwriter/composer James Henry.

Mr McDermott said Henry was is in great demand as a composer and sound designer. “He is a singer/songwriter who has toured with the Black Arm Band and Archie Roach and has been a musical director and sound designer for major festivals including Dreamtime at the G and the Yirramboi Festival opening ceremonies. He has composed music for theatre, dance and documentary films including Freeman, Giants and The Last Daughter,” he said. Read more at

Tickets for the October 21 concert can be purchased through Eventbrite, costing $15 for adults, $10 concession and $30 for a family. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

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

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