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Taumarunui Brass Band History on Display

Taumarunui Brass Band History on Display

An important slice of Ruapehu’s musical heritage can be viewed at the i-SITE information centre with historic photos and original instruments from ‘Taumarunui’s Silver Band’ era on display.

Taumarunui’s first brass band was formed around 1906 or 1907 and was initially reported to have had a ‘chequered career’ including outstanding debts over instruments that took many years to pay off.

From 1910 when Mr Frank Woodmass took over the baton, things rapidly improved and the band flourished up until the early 1920’s when it was in recess due to lack of bandsmen.

The ‘Taumarunui Boys Band’ was formed in 1927 and was later renamed as the ‘Taumarunui Silver Band’ in 1938 as the ‘Boys Band’ name was keeping older and more experienced players from joining

The current display was put together by i-SITE Visitor Consultant and practicing brass band member Bradley Peffer who rescued and cleaned-up the instruments that had been in storage at council for many years.

Mr Peffer said that the instruments were a little “worse for wear” having been neglected in storage for many years.

“It took a bit of work to restore the instruments ‘silver plated shine’ and repair what I could,” he said.

“Unfortunately out of the three instruments being an e-flat bass, b-flat bass and a flugel (b-flat alto horn) only the e-flat bass can still produce a sound.”

“The instruments are however of the highest quality bearing the trademark of Boosey & Co. (now Boosey & Hawke) who is the Rolls Royce of brass instrument makers.”

Mr Peffer noted that despite their condition they were still beautiful instruments with amazing scroll work on some of them.

To buy a new e-flat bass today would cost around $20,000.”

“Even back in the early 1900’s these would have been top-end expensive instruments,” he said.

Mr Peffer added that he plays the e-flat bass for the Hastings Citizens Brass Band and so it has been a real joy for him to be able to bring the instruments out of storage, clean them up, and put them on display.

“The photos on display of local Taumarunui band members at various times through history are courtesy of local historian Ron Cooke and his ‘Roll Back the Years’ books and Carol Woodmass.”

“Not all of the people in the photos have been identified and so Ron would like people coming down to check out the display to let us know if they recognise anyone to help complete the historic record.”

“The Silver Band display can be viewed during normal opening hours at the Taumarunui i-SITE”, he said.

Click for big version.

Ruapehu i-SITE Team Leader, Allison Jones, and i-SITE Visitor Consultant, Bradley Peffer, with the Silver Band instruments at the Taumarunui i-SITE.


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