ARARAT - The Ararat City Band is enjoying a growth in members as it looks forward to another bumper line-up of events in the New Year.
Ararat City Band conductor Wally Pope said the large number of recent awards handed out showed the improvement and success of the group across all age brackets.
Mr Pope spent 17 and a half years as a senior instructor with the Australian Army Band before relocating with his family to Ararat and taking up the position as conductor in August.
"The band is working together really well, the committee are doing a great job, it's all working," he said.
The size of the band has grown markedly with rehearsals on average getting close to 25 attendees - a big increase on previous levels.
The band was well received at the Alexandra Gardens carols by candlelight and brought festive cheer to shoppers in the lead up to Christmas with music in Barkly Street.
They also belted out a tune at the annual Lowe Street carols.
2014 will be no less busy for the team with its schedule already taking shape. The band will be a pivotal part of Ararat's Australia Day celebrations, perform at 'Brass on the Grass' at Chalambar on February 14 and take part in a state competition towards the middle of the year.
"We've recruited a lot of children, the youngest are five right through to the oldest who is in his eighties," Mr Pope said.
"We're still picking up more players and more are welcome.
"Being a part of the band is a team activity, a team game that you won't come away from with any injuries.
"Playing music is one of the few things that activates all parts of your brain, it uses motor skills and you enjoy doing it.
"We also try to push the members to challenge themselves and by May and June next year the competition will be a good test to see how they compare against other bands."
Mr Pope thanked local organisations for their investment in the band which consists of brass instruments and has four highly skilled percussionists.
Grants from the Ararat RSL Sub Branch made the purchase of a new set of banners possible, while a Pacific Hydro grant provided the band with a complete new set of mutes - which helps them to provide a different timbre (type of sound).
"We are very privileged to get the support of these organisations for what we do," Mr Pope said.
Band practice resumes on Monday January 20 with seniors taking to the instruments from 7-9pm in the upstairs room at the Ararat Town Hall.
Rehearsals for the five year olds is held at 5.30pm while learners and a junior group are the focus of training between 6pm and 7pm.
If you would like to join the Ararat City Band please contact coordinator Sandra Pope 0413 624 175.