Railway Silver Band plays top brass

THEIR players are ageing, they've lost their music director, and they probably won't top the charts.

But you can count on the Launceston Railway Silver Band to fill the streets with Christmas cheer.

The band has held evening concerts at venues across town for the past two weeks, popping up at shopping centres and street corners.

Gigs, whether stationary or mobile, involve a run-through of the standard Christmas classics, with children given percussion instruments and encouraged to sing along.

Band secretary Jillian Butler said the impromptu public concerts were a proud tradition that started long before she was involved.

Mrs Butler said like many traditional brass bands, the push for new members remained a challenge, especially younger players.

"Numbers have dropped off as the band has aged, there's no doubt about that," she said.

"We pick up a few here and there, but it's not really a cool thing to do any more."

Mrs Butler said the band was also without a musical director, with previous maestro Judith Bairstowe returning to England earlier this year.

Membership of the band stands at 15, with members ranging in age from 11-year-old Lachlan Hindrum to 86-year-old Bill Mancey.

Lachlan's mum, Sonja, also plays, while his little sister Charlotte waves sleigh bells at all the concerts.

"We're very family oriented, we get a lot of mums, dads and their kids playing," Mrs Butler said.

"My own grandfather and father were members, and my son David was also playing at one stage."

Last week the band played in the Launceston Christmas Parade, at Elphinwood Gardens and at the Prospect Marketplace.

Tomorrow evening they will march along Amy Road at Punchbowl from 7pm to 8pm, and will be at the Kmart complex on Racecourse Crescent on Thursday.

Mrs Butler said the driving force of the Launceston Railway Silver Band was the smiles on the people who stopped to listen.

"There is something about hearing and seeing live instruments in action," she said.

"It really makes people feel great."

Keep an eye on the Launceston Railway Silver Band facebook page for details of Christmas gigs.

Email: adruce@examiner.com.au

Twitter: @AlexDruce1987

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