Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 30, September 1986
By Bruce Roberts
In the late 1920's the late Mr Geo Fallon was conductor of the Paeroa Band of which I was a member. The members were mostly young men and practices were held weekly in the workshop at the back of Mr Fallon's tailors' business. Mr Fallon's shop was next to Mr Wells, the butcher, on the corner of Belmont Road and William Street. Mrs Fallon had a bookshop next door to the Tailors shop. This site is now the carpark for Woolworths Supermarket. On the opposite corner was Dave McWatters Menswear shop.
As the membership increased we held our practices in the drill hall. One member I recall was Rangi Campbell who was a very accomplished trumpet player and who played in the Kiwi Concert Party overseas in the War Years. He was killed while serving overseas. He lived in Wharf Street, by the old wharf, with his parents. With the death of Mr Fallon, the band went into recess.
In 1937 a meeting was called to form another band and the response was very gratifying. The Borough Council called for nominations for conductor and the late Mr Eddie Beilby was appointed. A group of very enthusiastic men formed a band which was called the "King's Silver Jubilee Band". Uniforms were then procured and our first Official engagement was to play at a ceremony of the turning of the sod by the Honourable Mr Bob Semple, at the start of the work on the Paeroa - Pokeno Railway. After a few months, the name was changed to the "Paeroa Municipal Band". After 5 months of hard practice, Mr Beilby decided that we should enter for the South Auckland Brass Band Easter Contest at Thames in 1938. We played very well and were delighted to win the Selection, 3rd in the Hymn test and 2nd in the Quickstep and 2nd Aggregate. Feeling pleased with our success, we gave a lot of time to practice and then in 1940 we entered the Easter Contest which was held in Te Aroha and were successful in winning the Quickstep. We played in many Contests and then in 1947 we again won the Quickstep at Te Aroha.
With the failing of Mr Beilby's health he retired and Mr Percy Bygrave was then appointed Conductor. The Band was asked to play at Cambridge in 1953 on the occasion of the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2nd. This was a great honour.
The Band played at many Civic functions and at many Girl's marching teams competitions and displays. Many Sunday afternoon concerts were held in the Band Rotunda in the Paeroa Domain.
During the War years many bandsmen were sent overseas, some played in different military bands while away. After the War, when bandsmen returned home, interest was again increased and we organised the first community Bonfire in Paeroa. This was held on the property of the late Mr Ernie Fathers in Junction Road. After a few years this function became so popular we moved the venue to the Paeroa Domain. As the numbers attending became so many, and more competitions and stalls were needed, the Paeroa Fire Brigade joined us in organising this event which is now one of Paeroa's highlights on November 5th, now organised by the Paeroa Jaycees. In the early 1950s we approached the Paeroa Borough Council for a Band Hall, which we were given permission to build, with its' assistance, and the hall was built in 1953. The builders were Roberts Bros Ltd., both of whom were members of the Band, and the contract price was one thousand three hundred and thirteen pounds six shillings. The Band hall is now the property of the Paeroa Bridge Club.
Through lack of interest and public support the Band was forced to go into recess about 1957.
The drum from the Band was presented to the Paeroa Historical Museum by the Paeroa Borough Council in February 1981 and is on display.