Above: Contemporary Mike.
Above: Mike with debutante Tracey Gray in the 70's.
Above: Enfield Band early 80's with Mike in the middle wearing his special disco glasses!
Above: Enfield Band mid 70's, Mike 4th from left middle row.
Above: Jean Magin and Mike.
Above: Left to right Stuart Mac Pherson, Barbara Magin, Mary Magin, Mike and Jean Magin.
Above: Marching Mike.
Above: Mike and Phil Benger ready to march.
Above: Mike third from right middle row between Shelley Spencer and David Polain.
Above: Mike with fellow party animals David Polain, Kathy Cameron and Darren Cameron.
Above: Mike, Darren Cameron and Phil Benger.
Above: Mke in the mid 90's, his prison officer look!
Mikey Magin knows how to live life to the full. He has strutted his stuff during Mardi-Gras in Wudinna and marched in Manchester on Whit Friday! When he marched in Manchester he proudly wore the uniform of Tanunda Town Band. I’m unsure about what he wore during Mardi-Gras in Wudinna but I’m guessing that it probably didn’t involve crop tops or fishnet stockings!
These days he is one of Tanunda Band’s cornerstone voices, a seasoned veteran of the contest and concert stage. The almost sixty-year old still produces the goods. His sound, technique and musicality are the real thing. He is the real thing actually, a high achiever in the workplace as well as a good husband and father. His personal qualities are pretty typical of people who have been part of a large family and know how to share. He is also, yet another, product of the Ron Arthur era at Enfield.
There’s a lot to like about the resilient former redhead, his banding story is complete, comforting and makes for very interesting reading.
Geoff Meikle, 2020
Brass Band Profile - MIKE MAGIN
In the footsteps of my 3 older brothers and sister I joined the Klemzig Junior Band in 1969 at the age of 7 nearly 8. I was a member of Ron Arthur’s first learners class with the band and after some simple introductions was given an old baritone as my first instrument. It was a bit beaten up and had no case but was the most valuable thing ever to be in my care.
Mum would walk me the 4 mile round trip to the Klemzig Band Hall to attend the learners class each week until at some stage I was able to catch a lift. Ron’s teaching methods meant that we would progress quickly and it wasn’t long before I progressed to the 2nd junior band as well as a change of instrument to a tenor horn. In this band we soon learnt how to play basic tunes in an ensemble and it was something I looked forward to immensely each week.
Thankfully the band allowed for the less well-off families otherwise I would never had experienced the amazing adventure brass banding gave to me. I think it was only 5 or 10 cents a week which was about all we could afford really.
I was given a uniform and soon competed in my first State band competition in Tanunda but from memory it was only on the street march where I was told to not worry to play but just watch my marching. The piece was Our Director and like all early initiates to marching ended up banging my teeth on the mouthpiece and drawing some blood but I couldn’t have been prouder.
It wasn’t long before I was elevated to the first junior band and also competed in my first junior solos winning the gold medal in the under 10’s section playing the The Sweet Bye and Bye. It was here that mum first started accompanying me on the piano. I really took her piano playing for granted but it was great to hear her play from the other end of the house and it was common for many of the band members to visit us to rehearse their solos with her as the band’s accompanist as well as often being in the position of Official Accompanist at solo events.
I was incredibly lucky to play alongside my siblings Geoffrey (Chip) on cornet, John on Euphonium and Barbara (Babs) on trombone. All were accomplished players in their own right and Chip still plays and conducts with the Enfield Band.
It wasn’t long before the band went on a trip to Western Australia and from our family only Babs and I went along. We were given new Regent instruments and we spent ages getting our music folders prepared for the two week journey. We took the Indian Pacific across the Nullarbor and the older boys seemed to have fun with Miss Enfield and Miss Klemzig who joined us for the journey. We were billeted to families in Perth, Collie, Manjimup and Denmark and performed on a daily basis somewhere. It was a great trip and a great experience for a 10 year old.
The band performed at many shopping centres, fetes, community events, concerts and competitions. The junior band also went on a good trip every year, whether just for fun, like a few days on farm in Bordertown, an event like the Mardi-Gras in Wudinna or a competition somewhere. They were great days that kept kids busy and probably provided some relief for my parents from some of the eight kids.
We became much better players as time went on through the tireless work and encouragement from Ron Arthur. He knew the strengths and weaknesses of each player and we were always competing in solo and party competitions with more complex pieces that Ron selected for us. I was able to win a State title on one occasion but was always facing stiff competition from those girls from the Tanunda band including the 11 year old superstar, Alicia Schultz. A memorable highlight for me as a soloist was not winning but coming 7th in a field of 26 incredible players at a Nationals competition.
Ron went on to take over the Enfield Senior Band and whilst still a young teenager he asked if I would be interested in stepping-up. It was only one more night a week, a Thursday, and what harm could that do. Ron also picked me up and dropped me home along with about a good third of the band piled into his green Zephyr.
We were a good band and over time progressed from a D grade band to a good B grade band. We competed at all State competitions and often went interstate to compete at the Nationals. Ron also created the Klemzig Oompah band, playing primarily German or Austrian style music, dressing in traditional costume and playing at events like the Shutzenfest, Oompahfest, Melbourne Oktoberfest and countless other gigs.
Ron started a learner’s class for parents which allowed our parents to give it a go. Many did and Mum, an already talented pianist, soon began to play the Tenor Horn and throughout our musical journeys we have experienced priceless times playing alongside one another.
Later on, when girlfriends and boyfriends came onto the scene a learners’ class was started for the partners as well. My then girlfriend, Mary, joined up and it wasn’t long before she was playing along side of me. Although Mary pretty much stopped playing after we married and started a family some students from that class, the likes of Darren Cameron and Melinda Gregor are still playing today. On the topic of Mary I should also mention that the band played at our wedding which was a real treat for our guests.
Another skill of a bandsperson is marching and the Klemzig and Enfield bands took this seriously. I remember as a young boy climbing up the rise behind the band hall on O.G. Rd, crossing the trotting track, avoiding the horses of course, and running through the various moves and drills required for competition. We were lucky to have an amazing Drum Major, the late John Goff, to teach the basic skills and then later on have the incredibly dedicated Phil Benger take us through complex diagram marches and lead us to Australian champions. I can’t imagine how many competitions, parades, pageants and the like I’ve participated in.
In 1988 I had a work transfer to Barmera in the Riverland but remained a member of the Enfield band and attended rehearsals on an ad-hoc basis mainly for larger concert and competition purposes. As is the case with banding, you have a group of friends waiting to welcome you wherever you go and it was no different in Barmera where I played with the Renmark Citizens Silver Band, which later became Riverland Brass. They were a great group of fun, friendly people who I remember fondly. Ray Kleinig was the MD and as well as being the publican at the Wunkar Hotel I knew him as a cornet player for the Tanunda Town Band (TTB). One of the memorable moments in this band was having water bombs thrown at you in the Christmas parades by some ratbag kids which seemed slightly outrageous at the time but it was a recognised tradition and fully expected.
It was only a couple of years before I returned to Adelaide and settled back into the Enfield band but now under the direction of David Polain, a young MD who had risen through the ranks, first as one of Ron Arthur’s students, to a super trombonist and first class musician.
After 26 years in the Klemzig and Enfield bands I decided to join the TTB, an A grade band and now being led by David Polain. I had sat in this band before at both competitions and a couple of their famous Melodienachts and enjoyed it immensely. Melodienacht is held every year on the last Friday and Saturday nights in May and has been going for over 60 years. They are just the best nights a brass band can hope for, playing terrific music, accompanying amazing guest artists, playing to audiences in excess of 1000 people each night and having a lot of fun doing so.
After a couple of years playing horn in the band I transferred to the 2nd Euphonium for a while and then the principal Euphonium where I have been ever since. David Polain took us on an amazing musical journey for a brass band which challenged everyone’s musical ability especially with his own arrangements which were terrific to play. We entered State and National competitions, did many concerts and travelled to a lot of places.
After David left the band he was replaced by Jim Dempsey who was a fine trumpet player and a member of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. He was a also a terrific conductor who I learnt a lot from. His forte was classical music and it was in his era that we started our famous Classics nights which are held each year to highlight the band’s performances of mostly classical style music. Under Jim’s reign we performed admirably at State and National competitions and had many a fun time at our usual concerts and gigs. A memorable gig was at Manna Hill where we played to the area’s farming families to provide respite from the drought. Staying in Shearer’s quarters on a farm was a lot of fun and I recall having a conversation with Kylie in the toilets which were only separated by a shortish bit of iron sheeting.
Following Jim’s reign of about 7 years, the late Bob Hower became our MD for a couple of years and we generally went about our same yearly business of contests and concerts. David Polain came back to us after Bob and we followed the same routines through the the then years until Dave was able to secure a gig in Darwin to celebrate Oktoberfest at the Darwin Casino. We have since done this event in various forms about 8 times with a focus on German style music interweaved with dance numbers and crowd classics.
Having a previous cruise ship muso in the band in Paul van der Koogh was also a bonus as with his contacts we have been able to play on many cruise ships whilst in port for the day at Outer Harbour. These have always been packed out and we have also played multiple concerts to suit the ship’s audiences.
After Dave’s departure as MD we secured Bruce Raymond as the new MD. He had been playing 2nd Euphonium next to me but has an incredible wealth of musical and banding experience particularly with the highly successful Kensington and Norwood Band. He also has some great contacts including in the UK. With a bit of inspiration from him, our President Eric Molenaar and work by our committee in 2017 we travelled to the UK to do a number of concerts in the Yorkshire area but we were primarily focussed on participating in the Whit Friday Marches. This was a massive highlight of my banding career and having now done it is something all bands should aspire to do. From memory we placed a very respectable 35th in a field of 130ish bands ranging from Championship down. We also made some new banding acquaintances at their respective band clubs and joined a number of other bands in a combined concert with the famous Black Dyke Band with Peter Moore as a guest soloist. I’d do the whole trip all over again in a heartbeat.
After returning home on a high the band continued its success in the usual contests and concerts and it was in 2019 after playing for 50 years that during our Friday night Melodienacht performance that the President, Eric, called me up to the front to accept an award of Life Membership to the Tanunda Town Band. I was beaming and felt very proud as these are rarely offered. The occasion was made even more special by my long time friends Kathy and Darren Cameron being presented the same award.
I can’t begin to think what life would have been like without banding but thinking of the people, community, places and experiences it seems like life may have been much less fulfilling. At nearly 60 I think I actually play better than I ever have and continue to strive for improvement and feel that I still have a lot left in me so can only see a positive future. Mum’s still playing at nearly 90 years of age so I hope that I can follow in her tracks to play the music she introduced to me as a young boy.
Mike Magin, 2020