Life Members

Therese Curry

Therese Curry receives her Life Membership plaque from band president, Rochelle BucktonTherese Curry was presented with her life membership and commemorative plaque on 16th November, 2013.  The following is a copy of the speech given at her endorsement:

Our First Baritone player Therese Curry started playing Euphonium at Mayfield West Primary School when she was just ten years old.  That same year, 1976, she joined Waratah-Mayfield Brass Band.  She continued to play Euphonium for many years before she switched to Baritone around 2006.

As you will hear today, Therese is a exceptional musician to whom music comes naturally.  Of course, she works very hard to see her great talent thrive.

Not only does she share this amazing talent with us at Waratah Brass but she is also sharing her immense knowledge, experience and enthusiasm with a whole new generation of musicians as the Musical Director of the Waratah Brass Training Band.  She is a wonderful leader and role model for these up and coming (mostly) youngsters and by providing a happy and relaxed learning environment, she is shaping their musical life for years to come.

Her talents also reach behind the scenes of banding where she is absolutely indespensible.  Always willing, in fact even eager, to spend her time volunteering at fundraising activities as well as taking care of the multitude of tasks necessary to ensure the smooth running of our organization.

Therese's dedication to the band is almost legendary.  She rarely, if ever, misses a rehearsal, concert or any kind of band event.  There are even times when she has driven hundreds of kilometers to be at rehearsal.  But the best example of her dedication is a story I heard recently.  Apparently one night at the end of band practice, heavily pregnant with her second child, she said to Ron Prussing, "OK, I'm off to the hospital now"... it turns out that she had been in labour throughout the entire rehearsal without saying anything, she just kept playing.  Her son was born that night and she, of course, was back at band practice the following week.

We are blessed to have shared more than thirty two years of her life with her and today on behalf of the members, committee and supporters of Waratah Brass it gives me great pride and pleasure to endorse Therese Curry as a Life Member of Waratah Brass.

David Wilks

David Wilks receives his Life Membership plaque from band president, Rochelle BucktonDavid Wilks was presented with his life membership and commemorative plaque on 16th November, 2013.  The following is a copy of the speech given at his endorsement:

Our Principal Cornet player David Wilks joined Waratah-Mayfield Brass Band on Soprano Cornet in 1989 (although his wife claims it was 1985 so we'll go with that date!).  He had, by then, already been playing for over a decade.

During the intervening years, he has filled many positions throughout the band, including percussion and tenor horn but it is obvious to me and probably to you too, that he has found his calling where he is now, on Bb Cornet.  

As you have heard today, Dave is an extremely talented musician who works very hard at his craft.  He is also a wonderful leader within both the cornet section and the band.  He is always supportive and helpful to other players and ensures everyone is being utilized within the band to the best of their abilities.  

Aside from his terrific qualities as a player, Dave is a dedicated bandsman who is willing to help out in any way he can.  To name but a few, he has been a long serving committee member, quartermaster and continues to help shape the musical program the band presents throughout the year.  His joy of banding is truly infectious and he can always be found whenever volunteers are needed.

He has spent more than half his life making music with us and today on behalf of the members, committee and supporters of Waratah Brass it gives me great pride and pleasure to endorse David Wilks as a Life Member of Waratah Brass.

Stephen Grice

Stephen Grice receives his Life Membership plaque from band president, Rochelle BucktonStephen Grice was presented with his life membership and commemorative plaque on 16th November, 2013.  The following is a copy of the speech given at his endorsement:

Our Principal Euphonium player Stephen Grice started playing Tenor Horn at the age of 10.  He quickly moved onto Trombone, then Baritone and finally settled right where he belongs, on Euphonium.

He came to Waratah Brass in 1984.  

Landing a rare opportunity to hone his skills during a visit to the U.K in 1993, he was both talented and lucky enough to play with such reknowned British Brass Bands as Rothwell Temperance Band, Sellers International Band and BNFL (Leyland) Band.  

As you have heard today, Stephen is a masterful musician who can produce a most magnificent sound.  This, coupled with his technical prowess and his years of experience, make him an outstanding player.  Stephen's ability to collaborate with his bandmates both in his section and within the rest of the band also add to his appeal and make him a tremendous asset to our band.

Underneath his cheeful exterior, Stephen is a conscienous and serious bandsman and he has been instrumental in helping shape the musical program of the band over the last few years.  Recently, he has drawn on his talent as a player as well as his enthusiam, humility, that trademark good cheer and a wealth of knowledge about brass bands and stepped in front of the band as the in-house conductor for Waratah Brass.  I'm sure it is no surprise to anyone that he has already proven to be extremely capable.

He has spent thirty years dedicated to this band and today on behalf of the members, committee and supporters of Waratah Brass it gives me great pride and pleasure to endorse Stephen Grice as a Life Member of Waratah Brass.

Leonie Wilks

Leonie Wilks receives her Life Membership plaque from band president, Rochelle BucktonLeonie Wilks was presented with her life membership and commemorative plaque on 16th November, 2013.  The following is a copy of the speech given at her endorsement:

Our First Horn player Leonie Wilks started playing at the age of thirteen in 1975.  Her neighbours had joined a band and asked Leonie and her brother to come along.  Little did she know that her future husband Dave was already in the band, and a mutual friend had told him that he was bringing along a girl who he thought Dave would really like.  Not only did Leonie discover music and her talent for it, she found her soul mate and love of her life that day.  All these years later, they are happily married and still playing in a band together.

Leonie played Cornet for about 10 years and switched to Flugelhorn before she joined Waratah-Mayfield Brass Band around 1988.  Unfortunately only a few short years later, she left the band to start a family.  Ten years on, her young family had grown and Leonie was ready for some more banding!  She returned to the band on Tenor Horn, joining her daughter in the Intermediate Band and eventually moving back into the senior band.

Although Leonie is quiet and unassuming, in life as well as within the band, she is an immensely skilled musician who plays consistently and superbly.  She is dedicated, hardworking and always prepared.  Leading up to the 2012 NSW State Championships, Leonie ably stepped up into the Solo Horn position after Coralie Weber was sidelined due to a medical condition.  Leonie worked tirelessly to master her part and executed the music brilliantly during the competition.  In a gesture so typical of her, she then happily stepped back down to the First Horn chair upon Coralie's return.

She is a steadfast member of the committee and is currently serving her second year as Vice President.  Leonie is always willing to participate in or assist with whatever task is necessary to keep the band running seamlessly, most often with a smile on her face.

For over seventeen years it has been our great fortune to count her as part of our band and today on behalf of the members, committee and supporters of Waratah Brass it gives me great pride and pleasure to endorse Leonie Wilks as a Life Member of Waratah Brass.

The Honorable Milton Morris AO

Grahame Scott, Milton Morris, Jimmy McNeillThe Honorable Milton Morris AO.  Mr Morris was presented with his life membership and commemorative plaque on 29th September, 2013.

Milton Morris AO is a most respected politician who represented the Electoral district of Maitland between March 1956 and August 1980. 24 years, which included 10 years as Minister for Transport. He was also Minister for Lands and Minister for Decentralisation and Development at various times.

During the time Milton has been involved with Waratah Brass he has taken a keen interest in the organisation, particularly to do with the training band, Wallsend Youth and Community Brass. As our patron, Milton has been generous in many ways to Waratah Brass and we as an organisation owe much to him, although, he would have none of that!

Jimmy MacNeill

Jimmy MacNeillJimmy MacNeill was awarded a Life Membership in 2011 for service to the band.

Ron Grice

Ron GriceRon Grice was awarded Life Membership of Waratah Brass in 2009 to acknowledge his major role and influence on the band.

Ron came to Waratah-Mayfield Brass Band from the Salvation Army in the mid-1980s and bought with him his passion, knowledge and love of brass bands.  The band rapidly improved under Ron’s direction and players were drawn to the band, looking to be part of what was a special band under the leadership of a tremendous band trainer.

Ron took the band from a solid C Grade community band, progressing to B Grade in 1992 where they won the National B Grade Brass Championship on their first attempt.

Quickly promoted to A Grade, the only A grade band outside of the Sydney area, the band continued to improve and remains an A Grade level band to this day.

Ron will be a part of Waratah Brass for evermore and his musical influence will be for there for all to hear and enjoy.

Arthur Howard

Arthur HowardArthur Howard was awarded a Life Membership in 1994 for service to the band.

He joined the band in 1958 and played trombone with the band right through until the late 1990's

Lou Mottershead

Lou MottersheadLou Mottershead was awarded a Life Membership in 1994 for service to the band.

Lou was not a player in the band but supported the band from the wings with help with organization and fundraising from the late 1970's to the mid 1990's.

Coralie Weber

Coralie WeberCoralie Parrott was awarded a Life Membership in 1984 for service to the band. 

She joined the band in August 1968 when she was six years old under the instruction of the then band master Joseph Goodshaw.  At that stage her sister and two brothers were also members of the band. She started off learning the Flugel Horn but changed to the Tenor Horn upon being promoted to the senior band.

She was regularly found competing in the local, regional and state solo competitions and enjoyed some success. Not only contributing as a player, Coralie was at various times and for many years the librarian, junior band trainer, committee member and deputy band master.

Although she had a long break from the band while she lived in other parts of the country, Coralie (now Weber) found her way back home in 2009 to Waratah Brass where her love for brass band music began.

Today Coralie is still an active and committed member of the band and the committee.