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THE BAND

Contributor Ron Clark (ex-Student and Old Boy)

During a SBC Reunion in 2002, I met up again with Warren Holmes (R.I.P). We were classmates. Warren was a Boarder and one of those positive and enthusiastic blokes that you remember. He was an excellent bugler, and totally devoted to the SBC Cadet Band and its success. In due course, he led the Band as Bandmaster. During our catchup, a gap of well over 45 years, Warren told me of a particular fond memory as Bandmaster. It was during the Sydney Waratah Festival in 1960 or 1961, and I think I can almost quote Warren verbatim :

" I told Mum to stand near the corner of William Street, opposite The Australian Museum, down from St. Mary's Cathedral. As we approached, I saw Mum in exactly the right spot, as requested. I hurled the Bandmasters Baton or Mace into the air with an extra twirl ! Too high ! Too high !, Too much twirl ! I thought. I kept my eyes on that Mace...and caught it, and gripped it ! Mum was very close now, and my look to her was: For you Mum!"



Contributor Mike Yeo (President, ex-student, Old Boy and Long Term Committee Member)

Circa late 50's early 60's

Not sure of the year but the Waratah Festival was on in Sydney. Our Cadet Band used to compete in a band competition in the Domain and then join as a massed band for the march through Sydney streets. This particular year, 2 weeks out from the event, the guy that was the bass drummer left the school. I think his father was moved with his job. This role and the Drum Major were pivotal, as there were multiple drummers and buglers. The passage of time dims the memory but names that come to mind around that time are Mike Carmody, Ken Andrews, Chris Doogan, as possible in the roles.

It takes a long time to learn to be a bass drummer, but the drum major at the time was previously the bass drummer. So the decision was made to “fast track” someone to be the Drum Major. One of the criteria was someone tall (not essential but a good idea so people could see what he was doing). It seems that knowledge of music was not essential as they would have picked someone from the band. At the time, I was a CUO and tall so I undertook a crash course in how to be a Drum Major. It was agreed that the band was so good that they did not really need a Drum Major anyway, other than for appearance.

So two weeks of hell, learning to understand how the band works, how to march with the mace and swing it around a bit to make it look like I knew what I was doing. I decided not to try and throw it up in the air – that would be tempting fate. We made it to the festival and did not win – not due to our musical ability, but marked down on dress that year.

Travelling down on the train was not the best for our uniform. Unlike the rest of us with khaki belts and gaiters, the band had white ones. White sandshoe cleaner was the go. I would have thought that there would be a spare set somewhere but no. Only option was to clean off all the “blanco” right back to nothing and make them white, with black straps and brass buckles. Then when it was all over, return them to their khaki state.

Who wants to be in the band anyway?






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