Last band standing

LAUREN BICKLEY

The once thriving tradition of the marching band is now dwindling. Photo: Sandi Meibusch

The once thriving tradition of the marching band is now dwindling. Photo: Sandi Meibusch

A local primary school’s drum and fife marching band will celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2015 and it looks like they will be the only ones doing so.

Once a thriving tradition, primary school marching bands are on the decline. Events like the annual Ekka Marching Band March have been cancelled in recent years due to a lack of bands in the area.

MTGESS band is one of the last marching bands in the area. Photo: Lauren Bickley

MTGESS band is one of the last marching bands in the Brisbane area. Photo: Lauren Bickley

Mount Gravatt East Drum and Fife Marching Band instructor Sandi Meibusch said insufficient time could be the reason for this downward trend.

“I think people don’t have enough time for marching bands. Years ago, in the 70s, the music teachers did it, they organised the marching band and there were a lot of parent helpers. It’s not that way anymore, people are very busy, so it’s slowly dwindled to just us,” Ms Meibusch said.

There are now only four marching bands left in the Brisbane area: Wooloowin, Nunda, MTGESS, and a small Aspley East band, consisting of nine members.

In spite of this noticeable decline, MTGESS marching band is currently at its best.

“Back in the 70s, we had 1000 students in this school and there were about 55 members in the march band. Today we only have 266 students at the school and we have 30 in the marching band so it is thriving – kids love it,” Ms Meibusch said.

MTGESS tours a nursing home. Photo: Sandi Meibusch

MTGESS tours a nursing home. Photo: Sandi Meibusch

Their marching band often visits community groups to perform and has done so for years. Grade Six student Jasmin has been in the marching band for seven years and loves it.

“We do the Mt Gravatt show, crackerjack carnival and nursing home tours – my favourite is nursing homes,” Jasmin said.

While the future of marching bands may be uncertain, Ms Meibusch said the band will continue to play for as long as she can keep it going.

“They’re just lovely, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I really enjoy teaching the marching band, I always have, and I think I always will. So as long as they have me, I will stay here.”

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