Above: Jean and Lorraine with a furry friend!
Above: Jean quenching her thirst at an Oompah gig
Above: Mossy, Jeannie and Lorraine
Above: Newspaper clipping featuring Mimi and Fifi with John Price making a guest appearance as well.
Above: Publicity shot with the Klemzig Oompah Band featuring Jean and Lorraine in full flight.
The first time I ever played a solo with piano accompaniment was in 1968 at the Klemzig Band Hall. I was 13 and the lady who accompanied me on the piano was Mrs Reece, I don’t know her first name, but what I do remember is that she called me “Buttercup”. Not really the name I would have chosen for myself! However, she made me feel special that day and this probably influenced my performance, I played well enough to win my section, under 14 Brass instrument.
Jean Magin, over the years, has given countless numbers of young people the “Buttercup” treatment. She doesn’t really “rate” herself as a pianist or tenor horn player. What I can say is that, as an accompanist, she has been an invaluable asset to the SA Band Movement and Enfield Band in particular. The most important quality that Jeannie possesses is empathy. The ability to be “with the soloist”, providing a musical wave that carries them right up to the beach, even when ill winds are trying to wipe them out. Jean always went with the flow, if the soloist got wobbly she would do her best to set them right again. There were a few “plinkety plonk” moments in the piano solo bits at times, but this only made us all love her even more. Jean told me that sometimes, if the soloist made a mistake, she would also make one deliberately, just to make whoever was playing feel better……………..The action of a true mother!
Jeannie Magin raised eight children, helped blaze the way for females to have the same chance as males to play eupho solos, formed lifelong friendships and danced the Can-Can with Lorraine Strain, without ever posting a single vague-blog on Facebook! She is the antithesis of the “Me” generation, her resilient mind, body and spirit are completely geared to delivering kindness, even to a generation that seem brittle and self-absorbed by comparison to hers. Everyone who knows Jean, loves her to the moon and back. This includes people who have never listened to “guitar music” or even heard of Savage Garden and their 1997 hit!
I urge you to read Jeannie Magin’s banding story and reflect on how our musical lives are now richer due to the efforts of this Gem of a Lady.
Geoff Meikle, 2019
NAME: Jean Magin
BORN: Adelaide, 11th October 1930
Instruments: Tenor Horn, Piano, Organ
Music was always part of my life, my mother a singer, piano and organ player, my father a brass bandsman until he died. When I was nine I attended a Brass Band concert and was awestruck by a euphonium player playing “ O Lord Most Holy” and that is what I wanted to do. But “Girls don’t belong in Brass Bands” etc,etc “But you can learn the piano”, which I did, plus the mandolin and fife, even singing.
Years passed and in 1965 my two eldest boys joined the “Klemzig Boys Band” started by Jack and Nell Mitchell. Nell played a trombone. If she could do it, so could I. More of my family joined and the Boys Band became a Junior Band, including girls. A senior band was needed and Enfield Band began, a senior learners class was began by Ron Arthur and quite a few parents joined, plus me on trombone. That didn’t last long for me, ending up on tenor horn, which I still try to play.
By this time for a couple of years, I had been accompanying junior soloists, firstly my own family, then Klemzig, then a lot of others from several bands. Between family, soloists and playing brass I was kept very busy with music, a very large part of my life. Also I was assisting with teaching. I must not forget marching practices as well.
We had many competitions in those days when Brass Bands were everywhere. My father had, by this time, had accepted the fact that women and girls could actually play brass instruments and drums and was very supportive. Competition work was not easy, but we got used to the bandmaster “Picking us to pieces”, more as the “Date” became closer. We not only had competitions, but had many engagements at diverse places. Our Easters were spent interstate at the “Nationals”, and there were local competitions. When we won it was wonderful and when we didn’t, well, better luck next time.
Many friendships were formed, even with our rivals, which still exist (including the rivals). During those very busy years (1965-1985), there was no time I wanted to give up.
For four years I went to the country for a rest, so what did I do, yes I joined the Maitland Band and had a great time with them.
Before then of course, the Klemzig Oompah band was started by Ron Arthur. This became an immediate success, and I was lucky (???) to be chosen as one of the foundation members. This was also a very busy time, which I thoroughly enjoyed (Kind of showing off!).
Then of course the Fun Band, begun by Ron (Arthur) and Lorraine (Strain). I was a foundation member. The band was to entertain old people in retirement homes and this is what it did. So, as well as Enfield, Oompah, Fun Band, helping other bands (St John and Para Hills, both for many years). I spent a lot of time playing. Just to fill in time, I was librarian for Enfield for 20 or so years, also the Fun Band. A Life of Music.
How has this affected my life?
There was always something to look forward to. My aunt told me it kept me alive. My grandchildren have many times “disowned me”, but are always interested in what I do, especially the “Can-Can” and the “Stripper” etc, amongst other silly things I’ve done. Everyone has encouraged me to keep going, despite medical problems, so I’m still here and playing (not terribly well).
Still it was always music that interested me and my siblings. My brother played euphonium, two sisters were pianists, organists and singers, another brother played guitar etc. The only thing I’ve ever regretted is not being able to play better. The piano I could always play, but not well, tenor horn or other brass for fifty years, ok I suppose for 2nd Horn.
I love entertaining, but now the limitations of age………
I am a life member of SABA and Enfield and have been in the Fun Band for 25 years, but the best medal was a gold medal, back in 1974, for piano accompaniments. Someone said “She deserves a gold medal”, so they gave me one. Remember?, the Junior competitions began Friday night, then all day Saturday and Sunday.
I suppose the biggest disappointment for me is the loss of interest in brass playing these days, but I suppose it is always a good thing to play music of some kind, even guitars.
With the band we have travelled interstate to places I would not have gone to otherwise, played for cricket, football, rugby and many other things, city and country.
There have been many happy memories also some very sad times, but after all, that’s life.
Jean Magin, 2019.