Sounds of the New Zealand Veterans Brass Band will usher in the dawn on Anzac Day in Wanaka. Band member and Wanaka local David Leslie said the band was formed in 2012 to attend Anzac Day commemorations in Ypres, Belgium. Since then, it had travelled twice to Australia to perform at Anzac Day services and returned to Belgium in 2017 for the centenary of the major battles of October 1917. The band was formed of about 25 players who were retired regular force and territorial personnel, with members from Whangarei to Wanaka, Mr Leslie said. All its concerts were not for profit. ‘‘We do it because of the fellowship of the players’’. Many of the members, in particular ex-army personnel, had spent extended periods overseas on deployment. ‘‘To get back to together is just like a reunion for us — we get just as much enjoyment sitting in the practice room playing for ourselves as we do for the public.’’ The average age of players was about
64. ‘‘We’ve got guys in their 80s. I’m 77, for example, so we are getting on.’’ But there was a ‘‘pool of ex-army guys’’ who were being added on a regular basis. ‘‘We keep doing it every few years and we have no problem getting a full complement of players.’’ The band, conducted by Chris Campbell, of Christchurch, has several performances planned in the region. It will begin on Anzac Day with the Wanaka dawn service, then take part in the civic service. On Anzac day afternoon, it will perform atAspiring Lifestyle Retirement Village. On Friday after Anzac Day the band will perform in the Wanaka town centre at 1.30pm, then go to Alexandra for a concert at the District Club at 5.30pm. Last will be a concert in Queenstown by the steamer terminal on Saturday at 10.30am.