Hahndorf Town Band - A History

Extract from Hahndorf Town Band 80th Anniversary (1926-2006) DVD Supplement

Bands have been part of the town of Hahndorf for a very long time.  The Hahndorf Town Band can trace its antecedents back to the middle of the 19th century.  Groups such as the Wiese-Pade Band, the Hahndorf Blaserchor, the Pinky Band, and the Hahndorf Brass Band make appearances in the historical record.  However, these groups (and other Hills bands, such as Dalwood's Band, the Hills Central Band, and the Mt Lofty Band) all eventually dissolved.  It was not until 1924 that interest in forming another town band was kindled.

By that time. Hahndorf itself had ceased to exist.  It was in November 1924 that the Ambelside Town Band gave its first performance at the Hahndorf School's picnic day.  There is a wonderful story about the band's first rehearsal - that instruments were placed on a table in the Hahndorf Institute and each player was invited to choose an instrument to play!  Bill Symonds, the bandmaster of the Port Adelaide Band led the first 'learners nights' - apparently much learning needed to be achieved!  Later in the year, the first official bandmaster - Stan Petersen, was appointed.

Original Hahndorf Town Band Rotunda - Pine Avenue.Miss Martha Jaensch gifted the band its first property, on which the Band's Rotunda was built.  This endowment - the provision of a freehold home for the band - has continued to secure the Hahndorf Town Band's existence over the years, and continues to be a gift that gives, even today.  The original rotunda's foundation stone was laid by her on 8 June 1935, and the facility was opened by Bill Symonds on 12 October that year.

Ambleside again became Hahndorf in late 1935, and it was the Hahndorf Town Band that took the stage in the 1938 Nuriootpa Band Carnival - the band's first contest appearance.  The following  year, Dickie Ballard became Bandmaster and enjoyed a 16 year tenure in that position.  Jeff Faehrmann  followed him with a tenure of equal length.  It is interesting to note that, in the Band's first 50 years, there were only 100 members.  The band was very small, but its membership was very stable and committed.

Unlike other activities, the Band continued to function during World War II.  However, many members volunteered and served, and it is acknowledged here with respect and gratitude this contribution to our nation and our world by these past members.  Two paid the supreme sacrifice - Fred Balleine (sunk on the HMAS Parramatta) and Jimmy McFaden (a spitfire ace, shot down on  his way home to Australia).  Their families have never forgotten them and were thrilled to know that the Hahndorf Town Band, after so many years, still remembers - Lest We Forget.

As a contesting band Hahndorf has, historically, sat very comfortably in C Grade, but contested B Grade between 1960-64.  Time has also been spent in D Grade over the years.  In the days when the Tanunda contest was essentially of national championship standing, Hahndorf won the marching contest in 1956 and 1960.  On the latter occasion, Hahndorf was two points ahead of its nearest rival, and beat 18 other bands, including four bands from interstate.  The Drum Major for these triumphs was the legendary Hahndorf Drum Major of 35 years, Glen Faehrmann.

Hahndorf Town Band 60th Anniversary 1986 (Mt Barker History Centre PH-V30-00021)From the late 1990s, the Band has enjoyed successes in handicap entertainment contests, winning at the Adelaide Band Festival and at the Tanunda contest in 2003, where the Band in D Grade played so well as to beat all the opposition C Grade bands off scratch, and won the contest against all others.

The junior training band has been a successful initiative of the Band, and boasts several of its graduates as current playing members of the senior group.  After nearly 40 years of operation, and many competition successes, the youth band and associated development program continues as a key strategy for assuring the future of the Band.

In more recent times, the Band has made its first interstate contest appearances (at Ballarat in 2002, 03, 04), and it second appearance at the National Championships (2005 - the first occasion was the Tanunda Nationals in 1957).  The Band placed 5th from 12 bands, and were placed ahead of all other SA bands in the grade.

In 1971, the Highways Department announced  its intention to resume the Band's land.  By 1974, a new purpose built home for the band had been built in Balhannah Road. The hall is a comfortable and happy home - a focal point for music in the local community.  It was built largely with voluntary labour.

In 1974, Denise Collins was appointed Drum Major - quite possibly she may have been the first female drum major to lead an established brass brand in this country.  Like Glen Faehrmann before her, she was a Champion Drum Major of this State at Tanunda.  The current Drum Major, Al Kidney, was the 2005 State Champion.  1974 was the year that the annual Musicfest was first held, and this annual tradition continues today.

The 1980s and the 1990s were difficult years for banding throughout Australia, and the Hahndorf Band experienced hard times.  The Band had difficulty retaining conductors and players and, in 1990, the whole band became the management committee for the first time since World War II. The Band was assisted by Mitcham, K&N, and Campbelltown bands for the Musicfests in 1989 and 1990.  In 1992, Glen Jacobi was appointed Music Director and brought youth, vigour, enthusiasm and passion to the band.  He re-established a positive 'can-do' culture that has always been a characteristic of this band and its membership.

Hahndorf Town Band remains as it has always been - a band full of tryers, with a can-do belief in what is done, and what can be achieved.  The Band has received its help not so much from governments, councils, or bureaucracies, but from the contributions of people - time, expertise, in-kind support and goodwill.  The Band has given much in return - in time of peace and war - to the community in the form of entertainment, enjoyment and opportunity for individual growth and development.  Importantly, our members have been at the centre of the fun - all have benefited in so many ways through their involvement in the Hahndorf Town Band.

Hahndorf Town Band

Extract from the Hahndorf Village Voice, Issue #28, December 2011

Paul Brand, Donna Williams and Ben DalyMany different Bands have been part of Hahndorf since the middle of the 19th Century but they eventually died out; however in 1924 (by then, the name Hahndorf had ceased to exist) the Ambleside Town Band gave it’s first performance at the School’s picnic day.

It all began with a “Learners night” led by Bill Symonds, Bandmaster of Port Adelaide.  Band—instruments were provided and teaching commenced — Stan Petersen was appointed as the first official bandmaster; Laurie Kramm was also very involved with the band in 1926.

Official Opening of the Hahndorf Town Band Rotunda - 12 October 1935Miss Martha Jaensch gifted the band its first property, on which the Band’s rotunda was built and is still situated on Pine Avenue below the Freeway.  Miss Jaensch laid the foundation stone on 8  June 1935 and the facility was opened on October that year.

In late 1935, Ambleside again became Hahndorf and in 1938 at the Nuriootpa Band Carnival the Hahndorf Town Band took to the stage again!  The band was stable and committed and it continued to function throughout World War II and has been a part of our town ever since!  The Band is a regular feature of the town, with its annual Musikfest, band festivals, street parades and Christmas performances.

Hahndorf Town Band ends the year on a high note ♪

2011 was an action-packed for your band! - At Easter the National Band Championships came to Adelaide, giving us the opportunity to test ourselves against the best in Australia in our C-Grade section. We came 7th overall including a 3rd placing in the Stage March, and 4th in the Street March (pictured right).

Just two weeks later it was all hands on deck for our annual Musikfest, this year with the Pirates In The Cabaret theme.  It seemed only a short time later in August, that for the first time ever, we hosted the annual State Championships in Hahndorf, with the valued support of The District Council of Mount Barker.

This was a major logistical exercise as our members had to both prepare our music contest pieces, and run the event in two venues and on the street.  Nine other bands came up to compete and we were pleased to offer a fine, sunny day and promote the many delights of Hahndorf businesses and recreation to our guests.  And to cap the day, we finished 2nd overall out of the four SA bands in our section.

Spring Things - From there we kept busy, playing around Hahndorf at the Variety Bash finish-event, the Australian Mining History Conference, Hahndorf Inn Oktoberfest (pictured right), and the Heysen Festival.

Christmas Carols in Hahndorf's Main StreetGuess Who is coming to town? - In the home run to the end of the year, we have a very full program of events, Christmas pageants and carol concerts around the district and in the city.  At time of writing we have already played for the local schools’ (Laternenumzug) Lantern Festival, and the Credit Union, Murray Bridge, Stirling and Norwood pageants.  Still to come are the events listed below, including three in Hahndorf: the children’s traditional St. Nicholas Parade; Community Carols raising money for the CFS; and Carols-In-The-Street. We hope to see you there!

What’s Next! - The Hahndorf Town Band is committed to building on our long history and initiating new activities for the future.  We’re planning a variety of different types of musical performances in the community, and fundraising in 2012. Featured events will include hosting an SA Brass Bands Festival in May, and staging our annual Musikfest with a brand new theme for the year.  The Junior Band will continue to develop with both training rehearsals and public concerts.

Naming of Rotunda in Pioneer Memorial Gardens

A decision was made by the Mount Barker Council in September 2014 to officially name the rotunda in the Pioneer Memorial Gardens the LWE Kramm Memorial Rotunda in honour of the founder of the Town's Band.   Laurie Kramm was instrumental in helping establish the Hahndorf Town Band in the 1920's.

Extract from the Hahndorf Village Voice, Issue #49, 2017

Hahndorf Town Band featured in Overseas Promotion In January, the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) commenced work with ‘Classic FM’ in the UK to bring John Suchet over to South Australia as part of a campaign reaching almost 5.5m people over a four week period.  Hahndorf’s local town band were asked to be involved in the filming in Hahndorf with footage being taken of their band rehearsal.  The footage was used to form a short video about Adelaide’s musical history.

This campaign activity included a one week live broadcast of the popular John Suchet morning show from Adelaide and the production of a 5-part mini video series as he explored South Australia, discovering the musical history of Adelaide, which included Hahndorf and its famous brass band.  The video series will be used to support the on-air radio campaign, be showcased daily on a bespoke SATC online hub at www.classicfm.com and will also live as part of a branded video campaign on Classic FM’s social channels.

The Hahndorf Town Band will be viewed all over the world via the Classic FM Facebook audience of over 1 million, with host John Suchet’s morning show alone reaching nearly 2.6 million people each week.  The video clip can be viewed on the Band’s own Facebook page.

Rehearsals: - St Paul’s Church hosts Concert Performances Hahndorf’s historic St Paul’s Lutheran Church has commenced 2017 as once again playing host to at least two popular musical community events.  After several successful European tours in 2015 and 2016 the Chamber Philharmonia Cologne (Germany) came back to Australia last month with a powerful and lovely new programme, and selected the church as venue for one of its South Australian performances on 8th January.  The pews were packed as the audience was thrilled to hear the familiar greats like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Vivaldi in dialogue with works from people such as Sergei Prokofiev through to the “King of Tango” Astor Piazzolla.  Organisers told attendees to expect the orchestra to be back to Hahndorf next year as part of their successful ongoing Australian tour program.

And St Paul’s Hahndorf will again host its annual ‘Hymns & Classics’ community event on Sunday 9th April commencing at 2.00 pm, featuring the Hahndorf Town Band, with guest vocalists.  There is no doubt that locals and visitors alike simply enjoy hearing the classical sounds of music in this historic church, joining in the community singing of those favourite hymns, and experiencing Hahndorf’s unique brass banding tradition.

Community band festival set for Mothers’ Day Weekend—Saturday, 13 May.  The Hahndorf Band Festival will be held on Saturday 13 th May, the day before Mothers’ Day.  Organisers are planning to bring the music to the main street with open air live performances in Hahndorf’s L.W.E Kramm Memorial Rotunda in Pioneer Gardens.

The festival will feature bands from around South Australia and bring together the wonderful talents of our state’s brass and reed players, soloists, and conductors for what promises to be a great presentation of live community music in our town.

For further information contact Greg Francis: gregfrancis@aapt.net.au

An Accolade for the Hahndorf Town Band:
“Thank you and the Hahndorf Town Band very much for helping to make the 2017 Santos Women's Tour the most successful tour on the race calendar!  The music, and especially the National Anthem for the beginning of Stage 1 in Hahndorf was enjoyed, and appreciated by eleven international and six domestic teams (102 riders and 50 staff), event staff and volunteers, spectators, and the local Hills community.  It was a great start for the race!

On behalf of Kimberley Conte, the Race Director and the teams, thank you again for your generous support for the Tour”.