For a number of years, the Wellington District Brass Band Association (WDBBA) has kicked off the banding year with its “Brass in the Park” event where all district players frantically retrieve their instruments from under the bed or behind the lounge suite or from wherever they were placed at the end of the carolling season and check to see if they (the instrument and the player) remain in good working order! Sunday 23 February saw the free public event again held at the idyllic Wellington Botanic Garden with its very special Soundshell dedicated to “… the Bandsmen of the Wellington District who served their King and Country and of those who also made the supreme sacrifice”. As many know, brass bands were indeed the exclusive domain of the men in the town in those days but have since moved with the times to be well represented by men and women including the young and not so young. Seven bands played throughout the day with a wide variety of music appealing to many musical tastes. Special mention is made of Toby Pringle from Upper Hutt Brass who was a busy boy playing in four of those bands including the Wellington Youth Brass Band. Every year, WDBBA runs a weekend band camp for younger players at the end of which they play a public concert at Brass in the Park. Last year, Toby was selected, after audition, for both the National Secondary Schools Brass Band and the National Youth Brass Band. Nine players from Wellington bands were selected for the National Youth Band which is a great achievement and indicative of the quality of Wellington banding. These talented young players were keenly sought after at Brass in the Park, and many of the others were seen to play in three bands on the day. Porirua Youth Brass were in on the act using the opportunity to run a BBQ fundraiser.
Dennis Dawson (WDBBA Secretary)