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Still striking up the band

posted 1 Aug 2012, 04:15 by Mark Berry


The Advocate, July 29, 2012, 1:13 p.m.

A LOVE of music has kept the Latrobe Federal Band running since 1872.

So it's appropriate that the first sign of the band on its march up Gilbert St was its music.

William Rimmer's Slaidburn echoed up Latrobe's main street announcing the beginning of the band's 140th birthday celebrations.

"It's an old traditional number that suits the band," Latrobe Federal Band tuba player Robert Clarke said of Slaidburn.

He should know, he's a fourth generation band member who has been playing for the band for the past 62 years.

A light sprinkle of rain couldn't keep the band from marching, nor a crowd from gathering to cheer them on.

The band received healthy applause as they marched past the various pockets of onlookers, dressed smartly in maroon blazers, playing instruments that twinkled as the sun broke through the clouds.

"There are bands older, but they've gone into recess from time to time, we've never gone into recess," Mr Clarke said proudly.

"We've always been playing, always."

Mr Clarke has been involved in a number of the band's biggest moments over the years.

"We went to the United Kingdom in 1979, we toured over there for three weeks.

"That was amazing, oh God, wasn't it ever.

"We played everywhere throughout the United Kingdom.

"Wales, we contested in Edinburgh, we were there for the Edinburgh Festival.

"But along with those sort of things, we've played at Batman Parade in Launceston, tall ships in Hobart.

"A lot of big things.

"This (celebration) is one of the highlights."