History of the DVCB

The Derwent Valley Concert Band Incorporated (DVCB) was formed in 1993 and is based in the picturesque town of New Norfolk which nestles on the banks of the Derwent River, 30 kilometres from Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania. Tasmania is an island situated south of the Australian mainland.

The DVCB was established because of a perceived need for a local band to cater for musicians of all ages in the New Norfolk community and the wider Derwent Valley. Since the inaugural concert at New Norfolk in 1993, the DVCB has grown into a very active and versatile community band which has, at present, over 50 regular players ranging in age from 15 to over 70 years! The DVCB now consists of the Concert Band, which includes a Marching Band and a Stage Band, and the Development Band. Rehearsals are held each Wednesday at the band rooms in New Norfolk in a friendly and congenial atmosphere.

The DVCB has an extensive repertoire suitable for a wide range of occasions and can also provide smaller ensembles as required. It performs regularly in the local and surrounding communities at a wide range of events such as: Australia Day celebrations, Government House Open Day, the Wooden Boat Festival, the Kempton Festival, Autumn in the Valley, the Anzac Day March & Service, the Hobart Christmas Pageant and the New Norfolk Carols by Candlelight. In addition, the Concert Band presents major public concerts throughout Tasmania, often in conjunction with other community groups, and competes at the annual Tasmanian Bands League State Championships.

From early in its history, the DVCB has been fortunate to receive numerous invitations to perform overseas:

  • 1994 Japan Invited by the Japanese Government in the Mie Prefecture to perform at the World Expo in the city of Ise
  • 1997 Canada Performed at the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede as part of an extensive concert tour of Alberta
  • 1999 China Guest band at the China International Band/Fashion Festival in Dalian. Also played in Beijing, including a performance at the Australian Embassy to mark the 12-month countdown to the Sydney Olympic Games
  • 2001 Europe
    • Austria Performances in Salzburg and surrounds, hosted by Postmusik Salzburg (a band DVCB met in China), and at the Mid-Europe Music Education Conference in Schladming
    • Germany Gained 10th place overall at the World Marching Show Band Championships in Potsdam
    • Sweden Took part in the Eksjö Tattoo giving concert performances and marching displays
    • Denmark Visited Vordingborg, hosted by the Danish National Marching Band Association
  • 2004 Denmark The only Australian band invited to take part in the celebrations for the Royal Wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary (formerly Mary Donaldson, born in Hobart, Tasmania!). The trip was an unforgettable experience highlighted by: a performance for visiting European Royalty at the SAS Radisson Hotel; the Street March on the day of the Royal Wedding; and performances at Tivoli Gardens, Roskilde, the Town Square and Sankte Helene
  • 2006 China Participated in the inaugural International Youth Band Festival in Beijing as part of the celebrations leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The band received high praise for its marching display in the Wangfujing Street March and was very well received at the Festival performances at the Conservatorium of Music. The band also performed at World Park and was invited to perform at the Festival closing ceremony. The hospitality of our Chinese hosts was quite overwhelming
  • 2008 Europe Travelled to Europe for a month to take part in a number of festivals and competitions. Although unsuccessful in qualifying for the World Marching Show Band Championships, the band won numerous awards at the Rastede Days of Music Festival in Rastede, Germany, including Best Conductor and Best Drum Major
  • 2012 Europe
    • Austria Performing in Salzburg in the Kollegienkirche with Postmusik Salzburg and participating in the Mid-Europe Wind Orchestra Conference/Festival in Schladming
    • Poland Reciprocal visit hosted by the Nadarzyn Wind Orchestra. Performing in Poznan, Kolo, Klodowa, Nadarzyn and Warsaw.
  • 2015 Europe
    • Spain Two performances in Malgrat de Mar. Sight-seeing in Barcelona.
    • Italy Marching and seated performances in Terranuova and Loro Ciuffenna with host bands Società Filarmonica “G. Verdi” di Terranuova Bracciolini and Società Filarmonica “G. Verdi” di Loro Ciuffenna and in Florence at the Piazza della Signoria. Sightseeing visits to San Geminiano and Siena.
    • Germany First stop in Germany was Hildesheim. Combined open-air performance with the Sinfonisches Blasorchester from the Musikschule Hildesheim. In Rastede we competed in the WAMSB 2015 European Championships where the band won the championship in the Marsch and Standstill section and claimed the awards for best Drum Major and Best Conductor.
    • Denmark Then to Copenhagen to participate in the ‘Street Parade’ and the ‘Wind Band’ sections of the WAMSB (World Association of Marching Showbands) World Championships and the ‘Open Stage’ event at the inaugural Copenhagen Performing Arts Festival.

In addition to its numerous overseas trips, highlights of the DVCB’s history include:

  • 1997 Participated in the Olympic March in Hobart in the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games
  • 2001 Gave the Australian premiere performance of the Requiem by Fryges Hidas in conjunction with the Tasmanian Chorale, conducted by the eminent Hungarian conductor, Piroska Varga
  • 2003
    • Hosted Postmusik Salzburg on a reciprocal visit to Tasmania
    • Performed as a guest band at the Australian Marching Championships in Hobart
    • Named as the Derwent Valley Icon for the ensuing three years
  • 2007
    • The Derwent Valley Development Band commenced rehearsals
    • A 15-year licence was secured on the Council-owned Memorial Hall in New Norfolk as a long-term base for the DVCB. The hall provides both a rehearsal and performance venue with seating for over 200 patrons. Planned developments by the band will result in a Performing Arts Centre for the Derwent Valley community
  • 2009
    • The DVCB’s founder, Layton Hodgetts OAM, stepped down as Conductor of the Concert Band after 16 years due to an escalating number of interstate and overseas commitments on global band-related matters. Mr Hodgetts remains as Music Director and continues to be closely linked to the artistic leadership team
    • David Schmidt, formerly Assistant Conductor, and Drum Major of the Marching Band, was appointed Chief Conductor
    • Lyall McDermott, a long-standing member of the band, was appointed Assistant Conductor
  • 2010
    • In conjunction with all Tasmanian bands, the DVCB was involved in hosting the Yamaha National Band Championships which were held in Hobart. The band’s Music Director, Layton Hodgetts, was Chairman and Convenor of the event which attracted in the vicinity of 5000 musicians from Australia and South East Asia. The band also assisted with the hosting of the Senior Wind Symphony from Mahidol University in Thailand which was the guest band at the Championships
    • Major improvements were made to the New Norfolk Memorial hall due, in large part, to a grant of $171,000 from the Tasmanian State Government. The music library facilities were upgraded, as well as the installation of new heating and lighting
    • Further adjustments to the artistic leadership structure of the band became necessary when David Schmidt stepped down from the position of Chief Conductor of the Concert Band due to unforeseen circumstances. Lyall McDermott and Jim Taylor were appointed as Chief Conductor and Assistant Conductor, respectively
  • 2011
    • Hosted the Nadarzyn Wind Orchestra from Poland on a five-day visit which included a series of concerts and social gatherings
    • Performed the Fryges Hidas Requiem with the Don Chorale in Devonport
    • Awarded the Australian Government Volunteer Grant
    • Launch of the DVCB Major Sponsorship Programme
  • 2012
    • Presenting three concerts as part of the preparations for the band’s visit to Austria and Poland in July
    • Visit by Fred J. Allen, Director of Bands, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas. Mr Allen is a renowned composer and clinician. He will be guest conductor at the concert in St David’s Cathedral, Hobart

See also:
Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of the DVCB