The Lane Cove Municipal Band was formed in 1963 as a youth brass band after funds were raised by the local Rotary Club; Lane Cove Council contributed ₤250 and these funds combined were used to purchase twenty six instruments. Rotarian Mr. Eddie Palmer became the first President and Mr. Reg Bishop, a French horn player with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, was engaged as Bandmaster.
During its first year the Band comprised “32 boys in training” and by 1964 had entered its first Brass Band competition – at Campbelltown; since those early days many capable conductors have steered our players successfully through many competitions, with the Band slowly working its way up through the grades – winning the B grade competition as early as 1967 followed by further wins in 1968 and 1969. In 1968 the Band entered into the senior competition for the first time.
A landmark event took place in 1975 when the Ryde Youth Band (formed 1973) lost funding from Ryde Council and amalgamated with Lane Cove Band. As Ryde was a military band, they brought with them woodwind instruments as well as brass and the amalgamation effectively re-formed the Lane Cove Municipal Band as a concert band. The merger necessitated new uniforms – fundraising in those days being arranged by hugely supportive parent committees. Various forms of fundraising financed the interstate trips for attendance at competitions, including lamington drives, trivia nights, fashion parades and chocolate frog sales!
By 1976 the Senior Band numbered 48 members and the Junior Band 15 members – the Junior Band growing to 40 by 1979.
The Band was mainly created to provide a practical music education for the youth of the area. As music tuition is now provided in schools, the focus of the Band has changed. Membership of the Lane Cove Concert Band now comprises largely (but not entirely) adults. The first Lane Cove Band Camp took place in March 1975 – organised by bandmaster Bruce Hicks. A number of professional musicians were engaged as tutors and sectional lessons were held. Many camps have been held since – venues including Hazelbrook, Collaroy and Galston.
The Band has performed at civic events such as the annual Rotary Fair and ANZAC Day services. Entering Band competitions is still high on our list of priorities. Whilst no longer playing at football matches as in the ‘old days’ we enjoy performing regularly at the Bandstand in Lane Cove Plaza, two indoor concerts each year at St. Stephen’s, Willoughby, and at our annual “Music by the River” concert each November since 1997 in Tambourine Bay Park. In addition our groups play at venues for events in and around Lane Cove and at nursing homes at Christmas time.