Easter is fast approaching…for some it is a time of great religious importance…some look forward to the extra long weekend.
But for many we know, Easter is all about heading to the biggest congregation of brass band musicians in Australia.
Yep, its the Australian National Band Championships time again!
This year, the destination is Launceston in Tasmania…and no, we aren’t going.
For many, many years, both my husband and I made the annual trek to wherever the Nationals were being held…from Perth to Brisbane, from Newcastle to Hobart.
For the months leading up to Easter, it felt like every single spare minute was taken up by rehearsals and practicing.
At one stage, we were involved with three bands across three different grades…I have no idea how we did it!
So what is the attraction…why do brass bandies put themselves through it year after year?
For some it is all about the winning...sometimes at all costs…others go to the play best they can while enjoying the whole experience.
Quite a few go for the socialising…and drinking…lots of drinking…with a bit of playing in between!
But most go for a combination…to do well, and to catch up with brass band friends seen only once a year.
The Nationals is like being at one huge band camp…everywhere you go, you run into familiar faces.
There are late night hang outs in hotel rooms, friendly rivalries, last minute rehearsals and on rare occasions, marching practice.
This was in Brisbane back in 2014…
Plus if your band wins, it can be a hell of a party!
All in all, it is an tiring but fun three/four days, usually requiring a few days to recover!
I have been lucky to be in a winning A Grade band three times during my percussion days…the Hawthorn Band in it’s heyday.
I can tell you it is mighty fine to be part of the best band in Australia, and it sure makes all the hard work so worth it.
And that doesn’t lessen winning in the lower grades…I have also been part of C Grade and D Grade successes, and have been very proud to be on stage with the bands.
Although we miss heading away and hanging with our muso friends, my husband and I are continuing to enjoy our hiatus from brass bands.
But we have heard that next year’s Nationals is back in our home town, so there may be a return of one of us…maybe…
So as the bands start to head by plane and ferry over to the Apple Isle, we wish everyone a safe journey.
Play well and enjoy the festivities…we miss seeing you all!
However, we will be watching with interest from over Bass Strait..and living vicariously…via the Brassbanned live stream…thanks Tim!
Are you heading to the Nationals this year? What do you enjoy about going to this event most? Share in the comments below as we would love to know!