About Thames Citizens’ Band

The Band currently has a membership of 18 (2013) which we are in the process of expanding through new initiatives in promotion and performance.

The Future:
We plan to continue encouraging the performance and enjoyment of band music throughout the Coromandel. We want all of our members to continually improve in their skills and performance, perhaps developing ensembles for specific purposes and changing as a band with the times as and when required, just as we have done in our long and rich history.

Thames Citizens’ Band Officers for 2013-14 are:

  • President - Don Holden(Acting)
  • Secretary - Carolyn Driver-Burgess
  • Vice President - Don Holden
  • Musical Director - Donald Sangster
  • Band Co-ordinator - Lois Holden
  • Assistant Band Co-ordinator - Jan Low
  • Treasurer - Bill Rolfe
  • Librarian/Hall Custodian (Temp) - Lois Holden

Membership:
If you would like to join the Thames Citizens’ Band or make a donation print & fill out the Membership/Donation form from the Download page and send in to the address on the Contact page and we will be in contact with you.
All membership applications are voted on by the Bands Committee in their monthly meetings.

The current (2013) annual Membership Fee is: $55.00

“...Don started with the Thames Citizens’ Band as a Junior in 1950 at the tender age of 8. Don was taught by the then Thames Citizens Band Conductor, Arthur “Smokey” Williams, on Tenor horn. A year later Don was put onto cornet and he has never looked back....”
Don Holden (Life Member).

 

Band Practices:
The Band practices at the Band Hall, 301a Queen Street, Thames, every Tuesday evening starting at 7.00pm. Please feel free to come along and listen and meet the current Band members.

Our Band Hall:

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Our Active Life Members:

Don Holden – Thames Citizens' Bands’ longest active Life member.

Don started with the Thames Citizens’ Band as a Junior in 1950 at the tender age of 8. Don was taught by the then Thames Citizens' Band conductor, Arthur “Smokey” Williams, on Tenor horn. A year later Don was put onto cornet and he has never looked back. Don’s parents were right behind him and bought him his first “Hüttle” long Cornet at the age of 12.

Don has been very involved musically around the town of Thames. While attending Thames High School he got involved in the School Dance Band, he also played in the High School “Bugles and Drum” Band (on his cornet).

Don recalls this ‘Bugles and Drum’ band was used at the end of each week for the School Cadets to do a “March Past” and a Salute to the “Dignitary of the Day.” One time they ran out of music to play just before the “March Past the Dignitary” so Don, in his inventiveness decided to avoid the silence. He launched into “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and the rest of the band could join in. Unfortunately, he forgot bugles can not play such a piece, so he played a solo with the drums; the buglers were NOT amused! He was ragged about this
for weeks.

Don remembers, “I helped to dig the foundations of the current Thames Citizens’ Band Hall, I think I was about 13 at the time... I remember marching with the Band from the Old Post Office to the newly built Band Hall in 1955...” (8 October).

Playing for local dances: The Catholic Dances on wednesday nights with Glad Hodges, playing with Horace Johnson’s group and sometimes with Herb “Doughy” Walker in his Jazz bands, made sure Don was fully occupied for a number of years. He was also made a Life Honorary Member of the local R.S.A. at the age of 18 for his services rendered playing “The Last Post” at funerals, Smokos, and Memorial occasions – something he still has and treasures.

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Don left Thames Citizen’s Band in 1963 to spread his wings in the dance band scene and working for Griffin Refrigeration. Then he met his wife, Lois, in 1965. She loved Piano/Organ music, so eventually his trumpet surfaced around an electric chord organ in the family home. When their first son, Bevan, was also sent at age 9 to the Thames Citizens' Band to learn the cornet, Len Edmonds was the Conductor. It soon became too much for Len, watching Don sitting on the sideline listening, as Len had played with Don in the Band previously, so Don was co-erced into playing with the Band once more. Don initially asked to be put onto 2nd cornet, but after a few bars of a March Don decided it was a bit light at the top-end and launched into the Solo part off-by-heart!! Not bad after twenty years Don! And thus he rejoined in 1983.

Don’s second son, Chris, joined the Band at 8yrs old and soon after Don’s wife Lois also joined. So the 4 of them were soon happily “oompah-ing” together as a family.

Don has moved about in the Brass and Concert Band movement for a number of years now he was on the first Executive Committee of the newly formed N.Z. Concert Band Association in 1987. He has played both as guest and member for several bands around the Waikato/Bay of Plenty, such as: Manukau City Concert Band, Waikato/Bay of Plenty “Golden Oldies” Composite Band, Waihi Federal Band, Katikati Concert Band and Tauranga Brass Band …just to name a few.

He is again playing “The Last Post” for Servicemen and Women to honour them at Funerals, Anzac and other Memorial Services, so he has gone full circle. Don has happily given time to working bee’s for the Band, and the benefit of his knowledge with his limited Electrician’s ticket keeps the new Band room safe and functioning.

Don’s loyalty, team work and expertise was honoured in May 2010 when he was made a Life Member of Thames Citizen’s Band.

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Gerald Assen – Thames Citizens' Band active Life member

Gerald Assen was farming in Miranda in 1982 when he and his son Shane decided to join the Thames Citizens' Band in February of that year. Gerald was 48 at the time and wanted to learn to play a brass instrument. He and his son, were encouraged to do this by some locals up the road from him, the Leifting family who were a brass playing family with the Kerepehi Brass band and sometimes with the Thames Citizens' Band.

Gerald began lessons under the Thames Citizens' Band’s (TCB) then conductor, Len Edmonds, on Baritone. He stayed on that instrument using one of the TCB’s Baritones until 2007 when Gerald bought his own current instrument - a very fine Bavarian-style Euphonium.

Gerald has been one of the band’s most committed members since then - the roll book is a testament to his attendance at practise and playouts alike, often with his wife Marilyn by his side making cups of tea and helping out, all the way to and from Kaiaua, where they live now. His son Shane left the band a year later in 1983 due to commitments with the local Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Gerald has attended playouts from: Anzac Day Marches, Christmas Parades, School Galas, Events and Concerts all around the Thames/Coromandel area. But his favourite times were the National Concert Band contests in both Wellington and Napier. Followed closely behind were the Brass Band Area Contests around the Waikato and he, like Don Holden (another Life Member), remembers with fondness the Waikato/Bay of Plenty “Golden Oldies” Composite Bands, particularly the one in Tauranga in 1986. He has been a great ‘team’ member keenly involved in various band social occasions like a combined band concert and BBQ at Miranda Hot Springs with the West City Concert Band also in 1986.

In May 2010 Gerald was awarded Life Membership to the Thames Citizens' Band

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With New Membership...

Every new Member gets a copy of "Thames Citizens’ Band - Past Present Future" valued at $5.00 FREE as part of their membership.

Read more…

FREE