IT’S a busy and exciting time at the moment for the Wonthaggi Citizens Band with two of the group’s biggest performance dates of the year looming and work progressing at-a-pace on the new clubrooms. The attractive shell of the new band headquarters in Billson Street is up and you can already get a good appreciation of the scale of the new facility. “It would be about twice the size of the previous building but the space we have now will be a lot more useable,” said band member and project manager Paul Jamieson.
As bass drum player when the band’s on the march, Paul’s setting an allegro tempo around the building site too, despite the rain in recent weeks, and band treasurer Chris Longstaff was delighted to hear that the project is on schedule for early November completion during a site inspection last week. “They’re going well. That’s going to be sooner than I expected,” said Chris. The feature of the new building is the rehearsal room which will benefit from a bank of high windows for natural light while care is being taken to ensure the room has ideal acoustics. “We want the right amount of absorption and rebound so that it’s good for rehearsing in,” said Paul. “It’s just going to be great to be able to come in here on a Friday night and for everything to be already set up ready to go.” The band has most of the money on hand to pay for the works and also has approval for a $50,000 loan from the Bendigo Bank to pay for the shortfall. “We are going to leave that right until the end in the hope that we get additional donations from the public. It would be great to think we might cover most of that in donations but we’ll see. “The ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign remains open and I’d welcome contact from community groups and individuals by phoning me on 5672 2144 or people can call in at my office at 63 McBride Avenue.”
Although the band has 30-plus playing members and a similar number of members in supporting roles, they could always do with extra players and what better time to join than when the band is ready to go into its new facility. “There’s always a movement of players through the band whether its secondary college students going on to jobs or uni or people leaving the area for work commitments. We’ve always got to be looking for new members,” said Chris. Obviously they’d love to hear from fully qualified musicians but are just as happy to train new members from scratch. “The beginners start out with Fred Heesh on a Friday after school and when they are ready, they join the main band. “I’d say we have a good coverage of instruments but I’m sure Craig (Marinus, the band leader) has his priorities.” The band is in heavy rehearsal at the moment with the big Victorian Bands League State Championships coming up in Ballarat on August 18, with Wonthaggi competing in B Grade. “We’ve then got our annual concert on Saturday, October 19 and tickets for that will go on sale in the second week of September.” The Wonthaggi Citizens Band is now active on Facebook and all those keen on following the band on a week-to-week or even daily basis are encouraged to ‘like’ the band on Facebook. So, it’s a very busy time for the band and the pace won’t let up right through to Christmas carol season by which time the Wonthaggi Citizens Band will have plenty to celebrate.