With their familiar uniforms of red and black, instruments glinting in the sun, or under the spotlight, this scene is one that alerts the people of the city that the City Of Launceston RSL Band is giving another performance.
The organization commenced in 1940 as the Invermay School Band based at the Invermay Primary School. As the students left school, the band changed its name to the Invermay Silver Band and many from this original group of players continued with the band for a number of years. Some are still playing today.
In the early 1970's, as the organization had purchased a block of land at Mowbray, there was a change of name to Northern Suburbs Silver Band. At this time, the majority of the members were from the Northern suburbs of Launceston.. During the 1970's and early 1980's the band was very active in the community with a majority of the band being young members. The band travelled to the mainland on a number of occasions during this period to compete in the National Band Championships. Whilst their success on stage was limited at that time, the band became very successful in the marching section of the Championships. They were the National C Grade marching champions in 1975, 1976 & 1977.
After many mainland trips, it became evident that the name Northern Suburbs Silver Band left other states wondering where the band was based. As a result, during the late 1980's there was a further name change to City of Launceston Brass. A proposal was put to the Launceston Council for sponsorship at this time, in the hope that the band might be taken on as the City's own band. This initial attempt was unsuccessful.
During the 1980's and 1990's the band became quite successful in the State Band championships and as a result were regraded to B Grade which is where the band compete quite successfully to this day.
At the Australian National Band Championships, held in Newcastle, NSW in 1997, the band won the title of Display Marching Champions of Australia under the direction of then drum major David Peters. Sadly this form of music and movement is not as popular as it once was and as a result is slowly disappearing from bands' repertoires due to the amount of rehearsal time required to perfect this medium. However, whenever the band perform a street march it is always well received by the public.
When the Launceston RSL Club moved premises to their current location, talks were held between them and the band whereby they hoped to accommodate the band on their premises and provide some sponsorship. As a result, the Band's name was changed to Launceston RSL Brass. Unfortunately, the RSL club's desire proved unachievable due to a number of factors. However, with the link between the two organizations having been forged, both felt that it was in everyone's best interest to retain the association and this has proven to be successful and is still ongoing.
The Band won the National B Grade championships in 2000 in Launceston and are the highest graded band in the north of the State. They compete regularly in State and National competitions.
In 2004 the band played a concert to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the passing of Alex F. Lithgow who is a Launceston composer of worldwide renown. Some of Lithgow's previously unpublished works were performed for the first time at this concert - a truly historic occasion. The Band also took on the responsibility of organizing the Mayors Charity Concert in aid of RSL Welfare. Both of these concerts, held in the Princess Theatre, attracted excellent crowds and very favourable audience feedback.
Another highlight for the band in 2005 was the presentation of a display march and service at Aurora Stadium on Anzac Day which was very well received by the football spectators and players alike. This was the first time this event had taken place and it has now become a tradition of Anzac Day Football in Launceston.
Following another request to the Launceston City Council in late 2004 to be appointed as the City's brass band, the decision was finally adopted by a unanimous vote of aldermen to accede to this request and from July 1st 2005 the band officially became the CITY OF LAUNCESTON RSL BAND. The band hope to make this a permanent arrangement in the very near future and would like to publicly thank the Mayor and Aldermen for arriving at this decision.
The band run a successful series of concerts every year such as The Australia Day Awards, Remembrance Day Concert, Christmas Concert, Music in the Park, Mall Concerts and Carols By Candlelight in Launceston's City Park. Added to this type of program is the Anzac Day Parade, Christmas Parade and numerous Parades and Commemoration Services for the RSL Club, all of which the band is pleased to support.
The band are extremely grateful to the citizens of Northern Tasmania for their continued support and would greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions members of the public may have regarding our musical future.