Reinventing the Brass Band
- Moreland City Band
- Malcolm McKinnon
MORELAND CITY BAND - and its antecedents in Brunswick and Coburg - has been pumping out brassy tunes since 1882. Originally developed as an essential civic instrumentality (pun intended), the band has long served to enliven parades, festivals and ceremonial events. At the Moreland Band Hall in Brunswick there’s a gallery of photographs and a cabinet of trophies reflecting this illustrious history of community music making.
In more recent decades community interest in traditional brass bands has waned. The brass band isn’t dead, but at least in Moreland it was an institution in serious need of reinvention. So in 2008, facing what seemed to be a terminal decline, the Band embarked on a process of transformation, working to attract new ideas, new people and new energy. Since that time, Moreland City Band has created a whole new model for what a community band might be.
The reinvented Band maintains the best aspects of the local band tradition, supporting musicians of all abilities to play and develop. The band still performs at local festivals and events, but it’s no longer simply a brass band. Under the energetic direction of trumpet maestro Scott Tinkler, the MCB Phoenix Project has arisen from the ashes of a traditional British-style brass band to embrace more diverse instrumentation and a broader, more original musical repertoire. There’s also a resident learner’s group (the MCB Krysallis Band) and a wide range of other ensembles practicing and performing every day and night of the week: big bands, jazz groups, African drummers, ukulele ensembles, avant-garde composers and arrangers, brass choirs, youth bands and others. It’s dynamic, open and inclusive, deliberately blurring boundaries between musical genres and between professional and amateur musicians. Moreland City Band ensembles include players aged under ten through to musicians in their eighties, and people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds.
The band’s home at Cross Street in Brunswick is a rehearsal space, a performance venue, a recording studio, a music library and still, in some ways, an old-fashioned band hall, all rolled into one.
New players are always welcome. www.morelandcityband.com
Additional recordings by the MCB Phoenix Project can be heard at: https://www.reverbnation.com/morelandcityband/songs
STORY CREDITS: Moreland City Band, Malcolm McKinnon, Howard Norsetter, Scott Tinkler, Cathy Connor, Omid Shayan, Sam Keevers, Patrick Stapleton, Nick Herrera, Andrew Howie and Andra Jackson.
Moreland City Band acknowledges the ongoing support of Moreland City Council.