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ABOUT WESTGATE - HISTORY OF WESTGATE

HISTORY OF WESTGATE

The band was originally called Westgate Youth Band. Eight young players arrived for the very first rehearsal on Grand Final day 1979! We had been offered the use of a quite spacious open area in Hyde St Primary School. Unfortunately, the chairs were designed for 5-7 year olds, not the teenagers who turned up. Within a year we moved to the then Braybrook High School, taking up Saturday morning residence in the music centre. As the band grew, we needed to shift to the nearby library. In 2008, the old Music centre was renovated and extended, providing an excellent rehearsal space for Westgate once more.

The band was helped in these early days by Phil Thorne and Don Scott, musical directors of the Western Region Concert Band. Our band, like theirs, drew members from a wide area in Melbourne's west. We are indebted to Mary Kelleher, the then Head of Music at Paisley High School for suggesting the name "Westgate" which gave us our unique identity.

For the first five years, we were supported by a hardworking Parents' Committee (who met while the band was rehearsing). Inevitably, as our members became young adults, they wanted more say in the administration of the band; a new constitution was drawn up. Half of the committee would be band members. The meetings would be held after rehearsals. We would retain the support of parents and friends. Our name would change-to the Westgate Concert Band.

The new style committee continued to support our musical efforts. In 1999, the band was incorporated- a move which provides legal risk protection for especially members of the committee's executive.

From the very start, the goal was to give young musicians the chance to perform challenging music at the highest possible standard. To this end, Westgate joined the Victorian Bands' League and participated regularly in competitions, first in B grade and then, for many years, in A grade. This included 2 National Competitions, held in Melbourne. In the mid 1990's, the band became dissatisfied with the way that contests were administered. In 1997, our members voted to leave the VBL. So did a number of other Concert Bands.

A new era began, with the formation of a Bands Group which would organise its own non-competitive Annual Festival of Bands to continue to musically challenge the players. In 2006, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the festival. Participating bands included Ballarat Memorial Concert Band, Geelong Youth Concert Band, Geelong Concert Band, Springvale Bicentennial Youth Band, Werribee Concert Band and Westgate Concert Band. Our Critical Friend was Jemima Bunn.

In 2008, we celebrated the 12th anniversary of the festival. Participating bands included Westbourne Symphonic Band, Werribee Concert Band, Werribee Junior Concert Band and Westgate Concert Band. Our critical friend was Amy Wert.

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