Above: Newspaper clipping of Neville, 1994.
Above: Cover of Australia's Band World October 1999, featuring the Alderslades.
Above: Adelaide City Jazzmen, Neville on trumpet. Christchurch Square 1990
Above: Tanunda Junior Band, late 50's or early 60's
Above: Newspaper clipping of Edna Alderslade, early 2000's
Above: Mildura Brass Band in the 1950s, Neville, wearing tie, 3rd from left in the back row.
Above: Neville and Ernie Alderslade during Nevilles' days with the CMF in the early 70's.
Above: Neville conducting a Tanunda Band Melodienacht performance in the early 80's.
The Post Horn Gallop was Neville Alderslade’s party piece. He played it on a fully operational .303 rifle for years, in a wide variety of locations from Singapore to Seppeltsfield. His rousing and rollicking renditions have delighted audiences and always finished with a bang!
Neville has stared down the barrel, blown down the barrel, rolled out the barrel as well as giving us a barrel of laughs and joyous musical moments. He is humble, generous and typifies a generation whose first instinct is for giving. After family and health, time is our most precious commodity. Neville has given his time to bands, his family, his community and young people with musical inclinations. His work with the Tanunda Junior Band was legendary.
He has been awarded life membership of both the Tanunda Town Band and the Marananga Brass Band as well as an Order of Australia medal for his services to community music, and, he can tell you all about it in German! Not bad for a bloke who finished his formal education at the end of first year high school.
It would be impossible to talk about Neville without talking about a certain young lady called Edna Johns, who crossed his line of sight in the days before he turned a firearm into a figure of fun.
The following is an extract from an article written about Neville for the Lutheran Homes newsletter in July 2016
“It so happened that the Mildura band arranged a long weekend trip to Broken Hill, staying at the Grand Hotel. Little did Neville realise that this trip was to change his life for the better and bring much happiness. A gorgeous young waitress, Edna Johns, was working at this hotel. Neville was quick off the mark and beat his fellow young musicians to chat up this young lady. As a result, the enterprising would-be suitor took Edna to the Saturday night dance at South Broken Hill by local bus! But Neville didn’t dance, because he was always playing FOR the dancers! Nevertheless, this was the beginning of a lifelong romance. Edna had to start work back at the hotel early next morning so Neville walked her home from the bus stop in Argent St. Edna kissed him goodnight - and Neville never remembered walking back to the hotel! He wrote her a letter every day from Mildura where he was a painter in the railways. He drove a Singer sports car and visited Edna once a month. Neville still has the crystal wine glasses he gave Edna for her 21st birthday. They were married in the Presbyterian Church in Mildura at the time of the record 1956 flood.”
The contribution of people like Edna Alderslade cannot be over-estimated. Her rock-solid support for Neville and her three sons’ musical endeavours has been a joy to behold. I spent about a dozen years from the mid-nineties on as a casual player with Tanunda. Every single interaction I had with Edna was completely positive. She was an excellent judge of character and was able to handle every situation, good and bad, with the seasoned judgement of a good old-fashioned mum. Edna could put you in your place, no matter if it was lower or higher than you had already placed yourself!
I particularly remember a Melodienacht season that hadn’t gone very well. The Melodienacht shows are very important events for Tanunda, and not to be taken lightly. I had exerted some influence on programming which, on reflection, was badly conceived and not properly thought out. I was feeling guilty and slightly unworthy of the trust that was placed in me. I mentioned to Edna that I felt like I would have to “Take a hit on this one”. Her response to me was along the lines of “No you won’t, we’re all in this together and we’ll just have keep working together”. My spirits lifted and, to this day think of that wonderful lady, who departed this world in 2015, with a great deal fondness and respect.
Neville got it right and it seems fitting that a bloke who, at times, played a ”high calibre” instrument should also have a high calibre life partner.
I invite you to read the musical story of Neville Alderslade.
Geoff Meikle, 2019.
Name: Neville Alderslade
Born: 14th May 1934
Instruments: Baritone, cornet, trumpet, soprano cornet.
I started playing at 8 years old on baritone with the Malvern Municipal Band learners class, under the instruction of Dave Roach. My Dad bought me an old cornet at the age of 12, but then went to Bendigo with the Eaglehawk Bands learners class. At age 14 we shifted to Rosebud, which didn't have a band, although I continued to practise. When I was 17 we shifted to Gardiner and I played with the Preston A grade band under Billy May and also with the Preston Orchestra.
I spent a year in Hospital with mastoid ear problems which have been with me for life. My younger brother Ernie and I would play with any band that needed help, this included the Collingwood Band who paid us for helping at gigs. We also helped the Essendon Band.
We moved to Mildura in 1950 and I played with the Mildura Brass Band. We also formed a jazz band called the Sunraysia Stompers and played many gigs all around Northern Victoria.
In 1957 we shifted to the Barossa Valley and started playing for Tanunda. I played with Tanunda's winning Australasian Championship Band!
Over the years in Tanunda, I continued to play with the Band, but also with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and various dance bands throughout the state. Most importantly with the Rod Miller Dance Band which played all over S.A. I was invited to play with Dick Frankel's Jazz Disciples, which I enjoyed for many years. I also started a Jazz Band called the Adelaide City Jazzmen for a state government sister city arrangement. We travelled to Christchurch, Auckland, Penang, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.
I believe the band is still going today but with all new members.
I was Musical Director of the 10/27 CMF Battalion Band and became Musical Director for Tanunda in 1977. I also conducted the Marananga Brass Band for many years.
I'm still playing today, in church every Sunday at the Tanunda Lutheran Homes.
Neville Alderslade, 2019