The WAFES 100th Anniversary concert was presented as part of the Restart the Arts with Government House initiative
Music lovers enjoyed an afternoon of favourite band tunes for the WA Fire & Emergency Services Concert Band‘s 100th Anniversary concert on Saturday 21st November.
The afternoon commenced with an exhibition of memorabilia and archival material to showcase the proud history of the members and directors who have participated in the growth of the organisation over the last 100 years.
About the WAFES Concert Band
Originally made up of 44th Battalion bandsmen from World War I, who played on the first Anzac Day in 1916, the group reformed for a visit in July 1920 by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII.
As the 44th Battalion Association Band, it led a march past reviewed by the Prince at Government House.
From 1923 it became the Returned Soldiers League Band, but that was changed to RSL Memorial Band to include a then 12-year-old Charles Court, a future champion cornet player, band director and premier of WA.
Charles Court’s father, Walter, was a member, and the name change allowed sons of ex-service personnel to play. The future Sir Charles directed the band before (1938-40) and after (1946-52) World War II service, stepping down to enter parliament in 1953.
It has since been known as the BP Brass Band, as the TVW Channel 7 Brass Band – later the TVW Channel 7 Concert band, with the addition of woodwind instruments – as Perth Concert Band from 1990, and as WAFES Concert Band since 2015. BP sponsored the band in 1958, and Channel 7 took up sponsorship in 1973, only to drop it in 1990 due to “hardships facing the television industry”.
The WA Department of Fire & Emergency Services adopted the band in 2015 as it outsourced the provision of music for graduation parades and memorial days.