CASP stories: Forbes Town Band commission completed

Filed : Country Arts Support Program (CASP), Local and industry news .

Forbes Town Band have had their first read-through of a new Forbes History Song, commissioned with funding from the Country Arts Support Program.

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The piece was composed by Tim Ferrier and is based on music by Harry Schaefer. Forbes Town Band will premiere it at the River Arts Festival Forbes in September 2017.

“We were delighted to read through our new Forbes History Song tonight”, Forbes Town Band posted on on March 27.

Forbes Town Band was one of six local groups across the Central West to share in $17,141 in funding for small arts projects in the 2017 round of the Country Arts Support Program (CASP). They received $3000 for this music composition project.

Forbes Town Band at Kalari Lachlan River Arts Festival in 2013. Photo: Arts OutWest.

CASP is a key regional arts funding program for NSW which provides support to employ artists in locally initiated arts and cultural projects. The aim is to provide access to arts activities for regional communities, to encourage communities to work together on cultural projects, to foster cultural diversity in the region and to ensure that regional and rural areas have an artistic voice.

Composer Tim Ferrier specialises in “exciting original works for concert or wind bands” and has been conducting band programs in Sydney’s north for over 20 years.

Tim Ferrier wrote a great blog post about his process and experience composing the new work for Forbes Town Band. Here’s part of it:

March 18, 2017
I’ve just finished writing a commissioned work for the Forbes Town & District Band (central NSW). It’s a medley of folk tunes collected by local dance musician Harry Schaefer. Harry was born in 1876 and died in 1954 and kept handwritten books of tunes he used for dances. Many of these were popular tunes of the time and traditional songs, but some were tunes he heard other bush musicians play. It’s yet to be officially named, but I’m going with ‘Schaefer’s Old Time Dances’ for now.

There was a lot of material to choose from and I spent time in January researching suitable melodies. Firstly they had to suit being played on wind and brass instruments for players around a level 2 – 2.5 standard. They had to be interesting for the player and the listener. Finally they had to be free from copyright. So, then the task was to create a medley with contrasting ideas from those tunes that fit the criteria.

I’ve used 5 tunes – first a well known Scottish Air ‘Will Ye No Come Back Again’ that introduces itself in a traditional way before being given a faster bush dance backing and a style change to a ‘strathspey’. It’s this very untraditional style that appears in Harry’s notebook. An interesting feature of his arrangement of the melody is sections have been repeated presumably to suit the steps of the dance he used it for. You certainly wouldn’t sing it this way. Next is a waltz section that uses 2 almost unknown Australian Bush tunes – ‘Echuca Waltz’ and ‘Schaefer’s Waltz’. These would have been performed very rarely since Harry played them. A 6/8 section follows to the tune ‘Going To Scotland’.

Good luck with it Forbes Town Band! I hope you enjoy it!

Arts NSW’s Country Arts Support Program is a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and local regional arts organisations on behalf of the NSW Government. Applications are assessed locally by a panel.

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