By Irene Bowie-Johnson
The Lithgow City Band has been preparing their original work ‘1915’ for some time now and we caught up with them this week to hear about how things have been going.
Don White, the President of Lithgow City Band, was kind enough to spend some time talking about the performance. “Rehearsals for all parts of the performance are going well,” he said. ‘1915’ is made up of a few distinct elements, some of which are being rehearsed separately.
An integral part of the performance is the play, written by Don himself. The play re-imagines the story of ten bandsmen from Lithgow who enlisted together and became stretcher bearers at Gallipoli during World War I. Don said the events really came to life for him when he found the daughter of one of the bandsmen and was given some of her father’s letters to read. “There was a letter describing the day that two of his bandmates died,” said Don. “My play is fictional, but reading about the real events helped bring it together.”
Also integral to the performance is the music played by the Lithgow City Band. The band will be performing with the help of a few guest musicians, some of whom are members of Orange and Bathurst bands and have offered to help.
Don also revealed that ‘1915’ will be notable for another reason. “It’s going to be the world premier of ‘The Lads From Lithgow’,” he said.
‘The Lads From Lithgow’ is a piece composed by the well-known Australian pianist and composer Ian Monro, and has been written especially for ‘1915’. “I wrote to Ian to ask if he might be willing to help,” said Don, “and I must have piqued his curiosity because he appeared one day and agreed.” Don added that Ian was “incredibly nice, very unassuming and has written us a delightful piece.”
The band has been busy, and even hosted John Cobb MP to afternoon tea only a short while ago. “We’ve had some funding from the government,” said Don. “It has been a tremendous help.”
It’s clear that there’s a lot to look forward to in ‘1915’ and that it’s a performance not to be missed. The performance will be staged at the Union Theatre on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 April. Tickets go on sale next week.