Western Region Concert Band
The Western Region Concert Band was formed in March 1977 as a combined Western Suburbs Technical Schools concert band with the aim of giving advanced students from across the western metropolitan region the opportunity to play more sophisticated music than was attempted by their own school bands. The band rehearsed at the then Footscray Technical School under the musical direction of Mr Phil Thorn, who was also Instrumental Music Co-ordinator for the region. The teachers of these students were involved as tutors as well as players in the band.
Soon after forming, the need to cater for students after they left school developed and the band evolved into a true community concert band.
The band was an “A” Grade Victorian State Champion for many of its 39 years, but equally as important, has been a significant contributor to the cultural life of the western suburbs.
Western Region Concert Band is comprised of approximately 40 members primarily from the western suburbs of Melbourne, but also with members from the eastern and northern regions. The players range in age from our youngest at 12 years up to 80 years of age.
Contributions to community life include performances at local festivals, the Royal Melbourne Show, Senior Citizens Clubs, local Carols by Candlelight, Horse Races, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Town Hall, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, ABC’s Iwaki Auditorium at Southbank, Melbourne International Festival as well as holding workshops and combined events with schools and other community concert bands both here and interstate. Western Region Concert Band tour regularly and have toured to the Grampians region, Benalla, Canberra, Tasmania, Adelaide and Sydney.
One of the band’s biggest achievements in recent years is their annual “Last Night of the Proms” concert performed to sell out crowds of over 1,000 people at each show. The Last Night of the Proms is now in its 16th year and has featured guest artists including James Morrison, Leo Sayer, Glenn Shorrock, Mark Vincent, Denis Walter, Normie Rowe, Silvie Paladino, Gina Jeffreys and the Victoria Police Pipe Band.
Under the musical direction of Mr Andrew Houston, the band has flourished and still contributes to the cultural life of the west and to the greater community. Mr Houston has been a member of the Western Region Concert Band for over twenty years and is in his 17th year of conducting the band.
In 2013 we celebrated and congratulated Andrew on becoming the Western Region Concert Band’s longest serving musical director, an honour previously held by Don Scott with 13 years on the podium. Andrew was responsible for Western Region Concert Band initiating its very successful Last Night of the Proms and theme concerts such as the band’s Night @ the Movies concert; Songs from the Wars; Around the World in 80 Minutes+ and Tribute to Musicals.