Fond memories were rekindled recently at a reunion of Denmark’s John Clark Memorial Band, which ofﬁcially marked the band’s 60th anniversary.
The celebration was due in 2020 but was delayed until this year because of the COVID pandemic.
WA’s longest running public school band has undergone a resurgence in recent years and now has 70 students from the Denmark Primary and Senior High Schools.
Current bandmaster Catherine Warnock started with 20 students six years ago. ABCTV presenter Tyne Logan who played in the band as a student was the MC for the Saturday, November 11 concert in the Denmark Civic Centre.
Gail Stimpson, the daughter of original bandmaster Bill Skerman, attended the reunion and cut the celebration cake with Ms Warnock.
John Clark was an avid band member and played in a silver band in Scotland before moving to Australia in 1909.
He was keen to see a silver or brass band established in Denmark with the focus of introducing school children to wind instruments and the joys of playing in a band.
When he died in 1957 he left money in his will for the establishment of a brass band as he used to play in one in Scotland.
Mr Clark wanted a bandstand to be built in Randall Park, but the Shire convinced the family it should go on the Denmark River.
The old bandstand is now demolished. Denmark History Society chair Bev McGunness said Mr Clark also sponsored a scholarship for a Denmark student to study agriculture at the WA University. The terms of the sponsorship were changed in the early 1990s and it is no longer awarded to a Denmark student. Mrs McGuinnness said a descendant of Mr Clark was unable to contest the matter legally with UWA.
On Friday, November 10, an exhibition of photos, sound recordings and memorabilia was held at Denmark’s Community Resource Centre.
The weekend ﬁnished with a social gathering on the CRC grounds on Sunday, November 12.
See all the photos in the issue.
This article appeared in the Denmark Bulletin, 23 November 2023.