HISTORIC ACHIEVEMENT: Graham Mackney of Lennox Head is the longest serving member of the Ballina Shire Concert Band and a veteran. He will be playing his euphonium at the dawn service on Anzac Day.
HISTORIC ACHIEVEMENT: Graham Mackney of Lennox Head is the longest serving member of the Ballina Shire Concert Band and a veteran. He will be playing his euphonium at the dawn service on Anzac Day. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Ballina Shire Concert Band celebrates 131 years with show

WHEN the Ballina Shire Concert band was formed, it was still three decades before the start of the First World War.

It was the same year Thomas Edison installed the first electric lighting system employing overhead wires and one year after Nikola Tesla claims to have conceived the rotating magnetic field principle.

This year, the Ballina Shire Concert Band will celebrate 131 years of continuous service in the Northern Rivers with a variety concert at the Lismore Workers Club on Sunday.

With well over a century of service in the region, the Ballina Shire Concert Band is one of the oldest and longest serving in the country.

Ballina Shire Concert Band secretary Jim Hawkins said it was a wonderful achievement.

"It's pretty well known there's not that many bands that have racked up 131 years of continuous service," he said.

"There's lots of bands, but we didn't have a break during the war years."

Every year the concert band performs at the Ballina Anzac Day dawn service. This year will be no different.

Three of the 28 band members are returned veterans and another three are former national servicemen.

Graham Mackney is one such veteran, and also the Ballina Shire Concert Band's only life member.

This year will be Mr Mackney's 36th year of membership.

The Lennox Head local plays the brass euphonium, an instrument he picked up when he was nine years old and played in the Casino boys band.

On February 13, 1950, Mr Mackney enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force and continued to play his euphonium as he served in South East Asia as a safety equipment worker maintaining and repairing parachutes, ejection seats and life rafts.

Playing the euphonium is a passion Mr Mackney has taken with him from his job with the Post Office to his motorcycle journey around Australia as part of the Ulysses motorcycle club.

His dedication to his instrument has not unwavered.

HELP THE CONCERT BAND CELEBRATE 131 YEARS

The Ballina Shire Concert Band will celebrate 131 years of continuous service with a variety concert at the Lismore Workers Club at 2pm on Sunday, April 13.

Mr Hawkins said it would be the first time a concert band has played at the Workers Club in over a decade.

Tickets are $12 and $8 for concession and are at the Workers Club front desk. They are also supposed to be available on the Workers Club website, although this option wasn't available this morning.

Doors open at 1pm.


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