The Band marching in Upper Hutt, 1932
The Band began life as the Upper Hutt Municipal Band in approximately 1920. The exact date of the Band's formation is not known, however recent research has established that the Band was registered as an Incorporated Society in 1927. Records exist that detail Banding activity from about 1920.
Just like today the Band draws its members from all walks of life, all age groups and from all areas. It is recorded in the early records of the Band how one member walked to practise each week from Silverstream. Today members travel from the Wairarapa and Lower Valley to attend practise.
The Band was a member of the Wairarapa Bands Association until 1947 and took part in performances and contests with the Bands from the Wairarapa. A photograph in the possession of the Band shows one of the members cars traversing the Rimutukas in 1928 on the way to an event in the Wairarapa.
During earlier times the Band had a very close relationship with what was then the Upper Hutt Borough Council. The present Mayor of Upper Hutt has been the Patron of the Band for a good umber of years. In the 50's and 60's Mayors Dick Slacke and Percy Kinsman were ardent supporters of the Band and its activities.
As a fund raising venture a Bavarian Band was formed in 1976 by John Philipson. The Band played at many events in and around Wellington for the next 20 years. The contribution from this group made possible the two Australian trips (1978 & 1983) and also provided the funding to purchase a good number of new instruments for the band.
The Band played at functions throughout the Wellington region but more importantly enjoyed their moments of fun and fame. The Band had the dubious honour of playing at a National Party function at the Trentham Race Course that was broken up by the Police Riot Squad after the beer had run out. This was not the last occasion the Bavarian Band met the Riot Squad.
Brass Bands by their very nature have attracted members from families. Indeed many families with long associations with Upper Hutt have been members of the Band. While its not possible to name each and every person who has contributed to the Band it would be remiss of any historian not to at least mention some of those families and some of those members whose contribution has been long serving :
Ballentyne, Ernie and sons Peter and Keith, •Bullen, Chris and sons Chris and Jim •Crombie, Ken, Murray & Susie •Evans , Fred and sons Eric and Les •Hall, Reg & son Peter •Harrison, Gordon, Neville and Alan •Jeffery, Don, Karen & Stephen •Jeffrey, Frank and Hugh •Jones, Bill & Neil •Moore, Robert, Rob, James and William •Mudgway, Stan, Stephen & Greg •Neighbours, Len, Athol and Stan •Philipson, John, Kathie & Chrissy •Sayer, Tom, Peter & Evan •Taylor, Harry and sons Alan and Roy and son in law Rex Gredig
Other names synonymous with the Band include:
Harry St Johnston – Long time Secretary and later Band President
Eric Cole – Builder extraordinaire
Don Smith – Former Conductor, NZ Flugel Horn Champion and member of the National Band of NZ
Elsie Taylor – Accompanist extraordinaire
Stan Walsh – caterer to the bands needs
Ted Thomas – Band Treasurer for many years
No Band in New Zealand would be alive today without at some time having called on their wives and mothers to assist in organisation, fund raising etc. We owe a debt of gratitude to so many. Some names have to be mentioned here for fear of retribution.
The Band will be always indebted to Barbara Crombie, Jan Harrison, Jos Jeffrey and their predecessors who have given so generously of their time and resources.
National Quartet Victory, 1965
Since attending its first National Contest in 1958 the Band has always been a force to be reckoned with both Nationally and within the Wellington District Because of the considerable cost of attending a National Contest, taking into account the other calls on the Band's funds and members it is not possible to attend each and every National and District Contest and therefore the gaps do not necessarily represent poor contest performances.
Some of the early successes included During the years 1958 – 1963 the Band were the bridesmaid at two National Contests and contested well in the various District Competitions they participated in.
The real halcyon days were from 1970 to 1983 where the Band performed with distinction each time it mounted the contest platform.
1970 – Dunedin – 2nd
1971 – Wanganui – 2nd
1975 – Auckland – 1st Equal
1976 – Christchurch – 3rd
1977 – Wellington – 1st
1978 – Melbourne – Australia – 1st in all Musical Events
1983 – Sydney – Australia a 1st and two 3rds.
1997 – Wellington District – 1st B Section
Unfortunately the records are not complete enough or this page not long enough to record all the prize winning performances.