Reflections on the Twentieth Anniversary of the DVCB (2013)

by President Layton Hodgetts

Although there have been celebratory performances throughout the State this year to mark the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the DVCB – the culminating celebrations in October were certainly A BIG BASH and hailed as an outstanding success.

On Friday evening 25th October His Excellency The Governor, Mr Peter Underwood and Mrs Frances Underwood hosted a Reception at Government House in honour of the Band’s milestone for past and present band members, and supporters of the band. On Saturday evening The Farrall Performing Arts Centre at The Friends’ School in Hobart was the setting for a Gala Concert to a near capacity audience – compered by Peter Gee – courtesy of the ABC. More than ninety musicians were on stage – including present members of the senior band and development band and many former players returned to perform in the Big Event, including some from interstate and overseas.

The music that was chosen to be played at the concert, represented significant events in the band’s history – and in recognition of the invaluable network and support towards the nurturing and development of the DVCB – that had come from the entire banding communities in southern Tasmania – the conductors of all the southern community bands were invited as guest conductors to direct some of the pieces on the program. Mr Frank Bansel from the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music gave an inspiring address on the value and importance of structured community band programs and applauded all of those associated with the DVCB for what they had contributed over the past twenty years. The band’s chief conductor, Lyall McDermott opened the concert with several pieces being played by the current senior band, the founding Conductor Layton Hodgetts OAM returned to the podium to conduct some of his favourite pieces and Simon Cawthorn, who is now an eminent music educator and band director in Tasmania – conducted the finale and encore! It was significant that Simon conduct, as he was the youngest member of the original Band – he was a grade 5 student at Glenora High School in 1993 when he first started playing in the newly formed DVCB!

Throughout the concert a PowerPoint presentation – skillfully prepared by Paul Beresford, featuring photos of events and people associated with the Band over the past twenty years- was projected on a large screen.

During the performance, volume two of the history of the band, “Music in the Valley” 2003 – 2013, written by Jane Hodgetts and edited by Damian Bester, was launched by Ross Butler, former Principal of NNHS who gave tremendous support for the initiative of founding the DVCB in 1993. Volume one had been written and published by Jane Hodgetts in 2003 and was launched to mark the tenth anniversary.

An impressive display of memorabilia reflecting the twenty event-filled years were displayed in the foyer of The Farrall Centre together with a most amazing photo collection spanning the twenty years which had been collated and presented by Mrs Ann Gourlay, Band Secretary.

Founding Music Director Layton Hodgetts was taken by surprise when he was awarded Life Membership of the Band at the end of the concert in recognition of his constant service to the band since its inception. In his reply, as well as acknowledging the honour of his having been made a life member of the Band he also conveyed greetings to the band which he had received for the anniversary from friends overseas in Poland, Austria, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Germany and the USA who have been responsible for many of the invitations the band has received over the years.

On Sunday 27th October, the celebrations continued with a community BBQ for almost 150 people in the grounds of the beautiful Redlands Estate at Plenty, courtesy of the graciousness and generosity of the owners, Peter and Elizabeth Hope. The New Norfolk Rotary Club generously supported the day by providing a team of their members to manage the BBQ.

It was a glorious setting in perfect weather conditions where everyone was able to relax and reminisce – recordings of the band’s performances over the years were played and the memorabilia and photos were transferred to Redlands and displayed, and the PowerPoint presentation was rolling throughout the day too! The Band’s Patron, Mrs Belle Pearson, cut a huge celebration cake which was shared with everyone who attended the BBQ at Redlands.

The Band is now moving forward with plans to maintain and even exceed the amazing record of achievements to date – with the fundamental aim of continuing to provide opportunities for all who have an interest in and a genuine desire to strive for musical excellence bringing immeasurable satisfaction and enjoyment – not just for those in the Derwent Valley but the surrounding communities far and near.

The band says “Thank you” to Derwent Valley, Tasmania, and the world, for what you have provided in the life of the first twenty years of the DVCB.