Community band marks 50 years

One of the oldest concert bands in the country will be celebrating 50 years of music making. Pictured is the band playing at the Ellerslie Races in January 1983. Photo supplied

The Manukau Concert Band with members from east and south Auckland will be celebrating 50 years of music-making.

To mark the event, the band is planning a Gala Concert in May – and seeks past members that have played with the band to join the celebrations.

First formed by the Manurewa Kiwanis Club in 1970, the band became an incorporated society in 1971 and was known as the Manurewa Kiwanis Military Band, later changing its name to the Manukau City Band as member numbers increased.

Members of the band in the early years can recall having to attend marching practice, learning to play their instruments whilst marching at the same time – not an easy feat.

Today the band has a membership of around 40 musicians, of which three joined in those formation years of the 1970s.

Band members hail from across Auckland and the band continues to be very involved in the community, playing at Anzac Day services and performing concerts throughout the year.

Current co-president Jan Eckersley will herself mark 20 years with the band this year and says the committee is keen to hear from past members who would like to be involved.

“If they still have their instruments gathering dust in a cupboard, or they are playing with another group, we would love to hear from them,” Jan says.

“We are gathering stories and photos – and there might even be enough past members to form a tribute band,” she laughs.

However, you don’t have to be playing to join in the celebrations. Anyone that has been involved or played with the band over the last 50 years is encouraged to contact the band via email or through its Facebook page.

Details of the Gala Concert will be published throughout the community nearer the date.

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