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Australian Brass 2001: The National Brass Band of Australia give us their line up for this year's tour of Western Australia

So this is the Australian line up that by all accounts is the best they have to offer to take on the world (well, Western Australia to start with). 4BR have been assured that these are all cracking players of the very highest quality and considering the number prizes they have won in solo contests alone, they represent a pretty decent line up.

We are indebted to Peter Younghusband for providing us with the details of the band and their forthcoming engagements.

The concept of Australian Brass developed after a visit to Europe in 1993 by John Thomas of Queensland, himself a talented and experienced tenor horn player. Having played with some of the finest brass ensembles in Europe, he returned to Australia with a burning ambition to form a brass band representing the best Australia has to offer. Two years later with the help of trombone player Greg Aitken, also from Queensland, and Chris Earl of Australia's Band World magazine, Australian Brass was born.

Applications from the brass fraternity of Australia to join the very first meeting were invited from players and in July 1995 in Melbourne, John's dream of Australian Brass became reality. With representatives from every state, it was truly a 'National Band.'

Previous meetings:
The inaugural gathering of Australian Brass was in Melbourne in 1995. The band was conducted by Eric Banks OBE and Mac Carter. After a week of rehearsals and workshops, the band performed a concert in the prestigious Dallas Brooks Hall as well as recording a CD.

September 1996 saw the band in Adelaide for another week of music making. Again under the direction of Eric Banks, a capacity audience witnessed a concert in Adelaide Town Hall.

It was Queensland's turn to host the band in September / October 1997. Under the musical direction of Barrie Gott, the band performed at a number of venues taking in places such as Nambour, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Maryborough, Bundaberg and Brisbane.

The 1998 tour was in New South Wales. Again under the baton of Barrie Gott, the band toured and performed in Tamworth, Inverell, Newcastle and the ABC studio in Ultimo, Sydney.

The most recent meeting of Australian Brass was in Brisbane at Easter of 2001. The band featured in the Gala Concert following the National Band Championships held in Brisbane's City Hall. During their forthcoming tour to WA they will visit Karratha, Mandurah and Perth where they will perform concerts as well as record a CD. Talks are currently being held about a joint tour with the NZ National Band early in 2002.

The band will meet for a week in Western Australia from 23 to 30 September. Spending the first three days in the remote North West town of Karratha, they then move to Perth for the rest of the week. Karratha is where Chairman, Peter Younghusband lives and works as a music teacher.

The band will be performing five concerts, two in Karratha and three in Perth as well as recording a CD for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Musical Director for the tour is Nigel Weeks from Dalewool Auckland Brass from Zealand. Nigel guided Dalewool to the Australian Championships title in Brisbane at Easter.

The line up for the forthcoming tour of Western Australia is:

Conductor – Nigel Weeks
Biography to follow

Soprano Cornet – Marcus Salone
Marcus is the Australian National Soprano Cornet champion of 1998, 1999 and 2000 and was a member of Australian Brass in 1998. He plays with the Willoughby Band and studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Marcus also plays casual trumpet with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. In his spare time he enjoys training at the gym, surfing and Latin dance music.

Principal Cornet - Conrad Curry
Conrad is a solicitor by profession. Married with one child and another on the way, he has been playing the cornet for about 22 years. Starting on cornet with Toronto and District Band under Dennis Babbage, Conrad moved to Kahibah Brass in 1982 on 4th chair and principal cornet in 1986. He moved to Waratah Brass in 1991 on bumper-up and took over as principal cornet in 1994, a position he still holds. Conrad’s solo titles include 7 East Coast of Australia cornet titles since 1990, including 5 soloist of the year titles. He also has a NSW cornet title. Recently, Conrad has spent some time in the UK playing Repiano Cornet with Whitburn Band appearing with them at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain (Royal Albert Hall) and the European Championships in Birmingham at Easter 2000.

Asst Principal - Rodney Everitt
Rodney holds a BA DipEd in music and teaches maths and science. A Salvationist, he has been Principal of Parramatta Citadel Band for 10 years. Rodney has also been Principal Cornet of Brisbane Temple Band for 8 years and Brisbane Excelsior for the last 2 years.

3rd man – Phil Dokmanovic
Phil hails from the western suburbs of Sydney and as a student of Ken Bradley commenced playing the cornet at the age of 15 with St Marys Junior Band. He progressed to the senior band and became Principal Cornet in 1998. In 1999, Phil was invited to undertake specialist band musicianship education in the 'home of Brass Bands' - Great Britain. The following year after receiving a scholarship from the Queens Trust For Young Australians, Phil and his wife Greer moved to England where he commenced postgraduate performance studies at The University of Salford - Europe's leading centre for Band Music education. Phil is currently in the final phase of the M.A. music program and is a student of Dr David King, fellow Australian and Head of Performance Studies at Salford. Phil joined the Yorkshire Building Society Band in September 2000. He regards his year with 'YBS' as the most memorable experience of his playing career performing at over 25 concerts throughout Britain, numerous radio broadcasts and several major recording sessions. Phil has also performed with YBS in the Yorkshire Regional Championships, the All-England Masters in Cambridge and the prestigious Gala Concert in the Stravinski Hall, Montreux Switzerland, where he was part of the YBS winning team to be crowned 'European Champions 2001'.

4th man - John Sader
John began playing at the age of 10 in Sydney with the CBHS Lewisham school band and was soon playing solo cornet with the Blacktown City band and the City of Holroyd band. Since moving to Melbourne in 1992, John has played solo cornet with the Kew Band. By day he is a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Melbourne.

Repiano – Mike Willett

Originally from Oxford, Mike started playing at the age of 7 with Yarnton Band (an English 2nd Section band) & enjoyed many European tours with them. During the early 80's he joined Brackley & District, appearing with them at the Albert Hall for the National Finals. He moved to Perth in 1988 with his family & joined Midland Brick Brass (then known as the Channel Nine Band) where he has been principal cornet since 1990. Mike works as a contract draftsman in the mining industry & was a member of Australian Brass when it re-formed in 1995.

2nd cornet – Ben Noonan
Ben gained his first introduction to brass bands in 1993, joining Southern Districts Brass Band on repiano cornet. He quickly moved onto the front row before becoming Principal cornet in 1994, a position he continues to hold today. Last year saw a new addition to Ben's schedule when he joined the front row of the Perth Fortress Band of the Salvation Army. Ben's success as a soloist includes being WA Cornet Champion in 1997, 1999 and 2000, including the WA Champion of Champions in 2000. Ben has also won the Norm Snow trophy for best brass player at the West Australian State Band Championships in 1998 and 2001. In addition to this, Ben and his wife Jen have been State Duet champions for the last two years. Ben is an engineer by profession and currently works for the State Government.

2nd cornet – Ben Beavis
Ben has been playing Trumpet and Cornet since the age of 6. That same year he joined the Brisbane Junior Brass, progressing through the ranks to become Principal Cornet 10 years later in 1999. He has won numerous Queensland State and regional solo titles and this year at the Australian Nationals he won the Junior Bb Cornet solo Championship from a field of 40 competitors. In 2000 at the Queensland State titles, Ben won the inaugural Alan Wilkie memorial trophy for the most outstanding young cornet Player. Ben, now 18, is in his first year of a Bachelor of Music degree at the Queensland Conservatorium.

3rd cornet - Jeremy Lysaght
Jeremy was a solo cornet player with Midland Brick Brass in Perth from 1995 – 1996. After moving to NSW he has held a similar position with Warringah Concert Brass since 1997. Jeremy has been an Australian Brass member on the last three occasions.

3rd cornet - Chris Lusted
Chris began learning cornet at the age of 4. He has been Tasmanian cornet champion 25 times and also been the winner many times of cornet, sacred solo and Percy Code sections at Ballarat. Chris was appointed bandmaster of Ulverstone Municipal Band in 1970 and was a founding member of Australian Brass.

Flugel – Stuart Ferguson
Stuart is currently principal cornet of Darebin City Brass Band. He has 20 years of A-grade banding experience on flugel, soprano and cornet and has toured internationally with the Kew, Hawthorn and Preston bands. His other musical interests include jazz playing and singing in a rock band. Married with a baby daughter, Stuart works as an account manager.

Solo horn - John Thomas
John (JT) has had an illustrious career in the brass band world winning numerous State and National titles. Highlights include winning the World Solo Championship in 1988, and playing with the famous Black Dyke Mills Band in 1992. He is employed as a brass teacher and instrumental music coordinator at Matthew Flinders Anglican College, Buderim situated on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

1st horn - Jonathan Gatt
Jonathan began playing Tenor Horn at St.Mary’s District Brass Band in 1978 & has been their Principal Horn since 1985. He was the Open National Tenor Horn Champion in 1991 & 1993 (Three times Runner-up) and the NSW State Champion in 1992, 1994 &1997 (Six times Runner-up). He was also a proud member of Australian Brass in 1998 & the NSW State Youth Bands in 1981, 1983 & 1985. He is a Financial Controller by profession.

2nd horn - Matthew Dudfield
Matthew is an itinerant music teacher at numerous schools around Launceston, Tasmania. He holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts (Music) – (University of Tasmania). He performs and conducts in many community and school groups and is the conductor of Launceston RSL Brass. Matthew also plays Principal French Horn with the University of Tasmania Wind Orchestra and is the current Tasmanian Tenor Horn champion.

Solo baritone - Bill Barker
Bill Barker has been Queensland Euphonium Champion eight times since 1986, Queensland Champion of Champions twice and National Champion once. He conducted the Gladstone Municipal Band from 1989 until 2000 taking them from C to B Grade and is now principal euphonium for Brisbane Brass.

2nd baritone - John Saunders
Winner of 6 State and 2 National Euphonium titles, john also won the ‘Ern Keller’ in 1998. He has been a member of Australian Brass since 1995. In 1997 he recorded on CD and BBC broadcast with the Black Dyke band. He recently gained A Mus A and L Mus A on Euphonium. John plays euphonium with the NSW Police band and is regularly featured as a soloist.

Solo trombone - Greg Aitken
Greg is well known as a leading brass figure throughout Australia. He is heavily involved with teaching, conducting and performing. Currently the National Trombone Champion, he is a founder member of Australian Brass. Greg is also the proprietor of Brass Music Specialists. www.brass.powerup.com.au

2nd trombone - Trevor Beyer
Trevor is a freelance professional trombone player based in Brisbane. He covers all styles such as classical, jazz, big band and rock. A graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of music he has won many Queensland titles. Competing in the Open Trombone section, he was placed 4th in the NZ Nationals of 1999 and 1st in the Australian Nationals 2000.

Bass trombone - Peter Younghusband
Peter migrated to Australia from the UK in July 1997 having spent 11 years at Leyland Band (BNFL), and previously 18 months with Fodens. Peter was a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and studied at Salford under Roy Newsome and David King. Often featured as a concert soloist, Peter has made numerous recordings for radio, CD and television. He has toured numerous countries including Russia, USA, Japan, South Korea, Australia and most of Europe. A music teacher by profession, he lives in Karratha, Western Australia and in his spare time runs a transcription, composing and arranging business. He also works as a conductor and adjudicator and performs with various professional ensembles. www.karratha.com/~music

Solo euphonium - Joe Cook
Joe began playing in 1961 at St. Mary’s band then studied trombone at Canberra School of Music from 1968. He was a member of the Australian Army Band Corps from 1977 – 2000. His resume includes being Australian Champion in 1977, 1985 and 2000 and is the current champion. As well as being Australian Champion of Champions in 1977 and 1985, Joe has won the ‘Ern Keller’ solo title in 1985 and 2001. A member of Australian Brass in 1995 and 1996, other bands include Hawthorn City, Holroyd City, Glenorchy City Concert Brass and Tasmania Jubilee Brass. Joe has also played with many big bands and orchestras including the Australian Show Band, WASO, TSO and MSO. He was also a founding member of the Solitaire Tuba / Euphonium Ensemble.

2nd euphonium - Dean Hughes
Dean started learning in the Ulverstone Municipal Band, Tasmania in 1987 as a cornet player. He swapped to the euphonium in 1990 then in 1991 won the first of a hat-trick of Tasmanian Junior Champion of Champions titles (1991-93). He also won the open title in 1995. Leaving the teaching profession at the end of 1998, Dean joined the Australian Army as a euphonium player. He is currently based in Melbourne and plays with Footscray Yarraville City Brass.

EEb - Matthew Pankhurst Matthew graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with High Distinctions in Ensemble and Solo Performance in 1997. He has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra amongst others. He has also been a member of a number brass bands including St. Mary’s and Brunswick Brass. Matthew is the current NSW and National Solo EEb Tuba Champion, titles which he has won on several occasions. In 1996, Matthew was a finalist at the Colonial International Tuba Competition in New York and also competed at the International Instrumental Music Competition in Germany. Matthew completed his studies in Education at Australian Catholic University in 2000 and now works as a conductor and brass tutor for the Victorian Department of Education in Bendigo.

EEb - Chris Smith
Chris began playing tuba at the age of 8 and has since won several State and National titles at both junior and senior levels. Chris has performed with many leading ensembles including the Australian Pops Orchestra and the Melbourne concert of ‘All You Need is Beatles’ a part of the retirement of Sir George Martin. Chris is Assistant Musical Director of the Kew Band and also the MD of Coburg Brass who won the Victorian D Grade Championship last year. This was their first contest since the mid 1980’s. In his spare time Chris is employed as a brass specialist for the Victorian Education Department and also for several Catholic schools in Melbourne.

BBb - Tim Curnow
Tim has been playing BBb tuba since the early 80's, starting with the Strathfieldsaye (now Greater Bendigo) brass band. Since that time he has had the opportunity of playing in a number of top brass bands including the Kew Band and Australian Brass for their last three tours. He has also been the National solo champion on three occasions. Tim is an electronic engineer and runs his own consulting business.

BBb - Mick Donohoe
Mick has been a member of Willoughby City Band since 1978, and the NSSW Fire Brigades Band since 1997. He is a former Principal Tuba with ABC Sinfonia Orchestra 1983-84 and NSW Police Band 1986-1988. Mick was Assistant Principal Tuba with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra 1985-86. From 1981-1988 Mick was Principal casual Tuba with Sydney Symphony Orchestra. A winner of the Australian Open BBb Tuba Championships 1983-85, Mick was also the NSW Open BBb Tuba Champion from 1981-1985. He was a Founding member of Australian Brass and has been on all Australian Brass tours.

Percussion - Matt Hargrave
Matt studied at Melbourne Uni and achieved his Bachelor of Education in music in 1996 as a percussion specialist. He also studied at Box Hill Tafe in 1992. He has been teaching in schools for five years now as an Instrumental and Classroom music teacher, Ensemble director and as Head of Department this year. He tutors percussion at Melbourne Uni. Matt is very keen on studying African drumming and Conducting and has been doing some short courses in both of these disciplines over the last couple of years. He is currently Chief percussionist with the Kew Band.

Percussion - Naomi Cordell
Naomi began playing the trumpet in 1988 and studied at Box Hill TAFE before entering tertiary studies at the University of Melbourne and the Victorian College of the Arts. Naomi became a noted percussionist playing a major role in the rise of the Kew Band over the past four years.

Secretary – Ian Mathers BEM
Ian joined the East Kew Citizens Band in 1941 at the age of 11 as a drummer, and in 1953 became the drum major and secretary of the same band. Apart from a three year break to take over the President’s role, Ian has been secretary of the Kew Band ever since. He was elected President of the Victorian Bands League in 1979 and served in that position for 4 years. Elected again in 1993 he served another 3 years. He has organised numerous overseas tours and was awarded the British Empire Medal for his service to the Australian brass band movement in 1981.

4BR announce their British & Irish Lions team to take on these Aussies in a three test series

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Nigel Weeks

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