AFTER dedicating 60 years of continuous service to community banding, Paul Brill was last week awarded life membership of the South Australian Band Association during the Australia Day festivities at Tarpeena.
Starting his community band career with the Mount Gambier City Band in 1957 on tenor horn, Mr Brill has moved through all instruments and served in every role from president to property steward over the years.
In deciding to bestow life membership, the state band association stated Mr Brill’s record was inspirational and a shining example to others in the band community.
Grateful for the recognition, Mr Brill said it was a real honour and surprise to receive the award.
“I did not expect to receive the award, like most things in life you do it because you love it – music is a big part of my life,” he said.
Following his family into the band with the connection going back to 1907 with his grandfather Clarrie Bill, Mr Brill was destined for a life of music.
His late father, Jim Brill was an award winning Australian Championship drum major and his sister Carol who recently retired from band duties, was one of the first female drum majors in Australia, performing in the role for 25 years.
Covering all areas in the band from conducting to teaching learners and leading the band as drum major in numerous parades and drills, Mr Brill said the main highlights of his time have been performing in concerts and gaining new friends.
“It is the people you meet that really make it special, whether they are in the band you play for or in other bands across the country that you meet at concerts,” he said.
“Performing for others is a great experience and the local city band has done really well over the years.”
Hoping to encourage young people to take on an instrument, Mr Brill said schools should make it compulsory for students to join a band.
“I have taught a few kids over the years and have always told them they are not going to get anywhere unless they join a band,” he said.
“It is a great experience and they have the opportunity to learn so much more.”
Despite a two year period when he played with Marion City Band in Adelaide during his early adulthood, Mr Brill has enjoyed a continued membership with the Mount Gambier City Band.
Eager to continue on with music for as long as he can, the passionate musician said he still helps out wherever he can.
“As well as the Mount Gambier City Band, I also play for the local concert band and the Limestone Coast Symphony Orchestra,” he said.
“I hope to continue to do so until I’m 80.”