Eltham Concert Band was formed in 1975, originally being known as the Shire of Eltham Concert Band. The Band was formed from an amalgamation of the Eltham Brass Band and woodwind group the Darebin Players. The late Ern Shade was the founding Music Director and under his leadership the Band progressed from a B Grade band to A Grade. Ern and Beattie Shade invested enormous energy in supporting the Band for over 15 years. This included managing the Band’s library.
Ern Shade retired as Music Director in 1990, to be followed by Major Malcolm Bell of the Australian Army Band Melbourne. After retiring from the Australian Army in 1993, Malcolm moved to Brisbane and was replaced as Music Director of the Band by Colin Harris, who continued until 1996. Captain Peter Grant, also of the Australian Army Band Melbourne, became Music Director from early 1997 until mid 1998. Barry McKimm joined us later in 1998 and devoted seven years to bringing new music and musical styles to the Band. Barry was not just the Band’s Music Director. He also provided many original compositions and arrangements for the Band to play. Mike Fitzpatrick took over as Music Director in 2006, but commitments with the Australian Army meant that he could not continue as full time Music Director. Eric Klay took over at the end of August 2006, and continued until March 2010 when Stephen Deakes assumed the role. Stephen stood down at the end of 2014 and handed over the directorship to another member of the Australian Army Band – Richard Mason. By mid 2016, Richard’s commitments to the Australian Army have seen him unable to continue as Music Director and this sees Stephen Deakes returning to the position.
In 2007 Eltham Concert Band gained two patrons. These two patrons emphasise two important links for the Band: the Shire of Nillumbik, and the Shade family. We were therefore enormously pleased when the Mayor of Nillumbik Shire and Fred Shade (son of Ern) agreed to take on the role of Patron of Eltham Concert Band.