Big band thunder

James Whalan conducting Forbes Town and District Band at Forbes Show on Friday night. Hear more this Saturday.
James Whalan conducting Forbes Town and District Band at Forbes Show on Friday night. Hear more this Saturday.

They’re calling it Rotunda Thunder … and when Forbes Town and District Band comes together with the visiting South Pacific Concert Band on Saturday, they’re sure to make a mighty noise!

The two bands join forces in Victoria Park from 11am Saturday in a free concert as part of this month’s Kalari Lachlan River Arts Festival.

Each will perform a set in the historic rotunda before heading into an afternoon of workshops to prepare for a big evening.

The two concert bands will work together to premiere a song written especially for Forbes, based on a medley of music collected by Forbes’ own renowned one-man-band Harry Schaefer.

Schaefer travelled around the district in the first half of the last century performing in dance halls and keeping toes tapping – violin in his hands and a foot pedal on the bass.

Composer Tim Ferrier worked to turn the melodies Schaefer had written down into music for the band, he’ll be in town this weekend to work with the bands and conduct the piece Saturday evening.

Forbes Town and District Band conductor James Whalan says the band is excited about the music and the event.

“We are very lucky to have the composer coming up to conduct that for the premiere,” he said. 

Ferrier has brought together a well-known Scottish air followed by a couple of almost unknown Australian waltzes in Schaefer’s Waltz and Echuca Waltz, a traditional folk dance tune known by different names around the world and a dance of American origin from the early 10th century.

“It’s a really interesting piece of music, a wonderful piece of music,” Mr Whalan said.

“It’s so nice to have a piece that’s so connected to Forbes and to the community – music that has been written in our community and played in our community, for dances at Town Hall, and now we get to bring that music back to life.”

The concert starts at 7.30pm, cost for the evening is $10 or $5 concession. 

There’s still plenty more to come in this month’s River Arts Festival, including Lakeside celebrations next Saturday, September 23.