Your free what's on guide to the top end

Top Brass

If you've been in the Top End a while you may have spotted the Darwin City Brass Band at various community events, lifting people’s spirits with their bright sound or adding a touch of pomp and ceremony to a special occasion.

But this is one brass band that doesn’t just march around tooting their own horns – although there is a bit of that too! With over 50 volunteer musicians involved, Darwin City Brass Band performs everything from classics to modern pop and reggae, bringing a broad range of music to different sections of the community.

Brass bands have a surprisingly long history in the Top End. The first one – Palmerston Brass Band – can be traced all the way back to 1895, while another all-brass outfit, Darwin Town Band, played an important role in boosting morale during World War I. Its modern day incarnation, Darwin City Brass Band, was born in 1981 when then Lord Mayor, Cecil Black, decided the city, still rebuilding after Cyclone Tracy, needed a brass band again.

Today, Darwin City Brass Band continues to help keep the community band together (pun intended) through outdoor performances, such as Brass in the Park, and by supporting International Women’s Day or the Darwin Anzac Day Parade with their marching band.

“We try and get out to the suburbs and spread ourselves out a bit. We’re not restricted indoors to a concert hall,” explains Darwin City Brass Band Treasurer, Barbara Eather.

This year, the band embarks on a fresh chapter as it hunts for a new Musical Director. This exciting role suits someone with strong community connections and a passion for combining traditional brass band music with modern melodies and approaches.

Throughout its history, Darwin City Brass Band has remained an accessible, community-minded ensemble. With three different entry levels – beginner, intermediate and the main band – it’s easy for anyone to get involved. They even have some instruments available for those band members who don’t have their own. So if you think brass is class, then why not tootle along?


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