Here’s the drum – Bundy hard to beat

All ready for the Big Smoke; Bundaberg Drum Corps members Rex Webb-Pullman, Ian Waters, Liz Lye and Melita McIntyre, Trevor Ballantine and Tony Ravenhill are looking forward to representing Bundaberg in the Anzac Day Parade in Brisbane. Photo: Simon Young / NewsMail
All ready for the Big Smoke; Bundaberg Drum Corps members Rex Webb-Pullman, Ian Waters, Liz Lye and Melita McIntyre, Trevor Ballantine and Tony Ravenhill are looking forward to representing Bundaberg in the Anzac Day Parade in Brisbane. Photo: Simon Young / NewsMail Simon Young BUN210413dru1

BUNDABERG'S Drum Corp is set to do their town proud on Thursday when members march in Brisbane's annual Anzac Day parade.

Bundaberg Drum Corps president Tony Ravenhill said the band was thrilled to be chosen to be part of the important parade.

"Last year unfortunately there was a bit of fiddling about with the Bundaberg march and it was only about 150 yards so we didn't really have a chance to play," Mr Ravenhill said.

"Being a marching band we like to march and play."

And they'll certainly get their chance to do that in Brisbane on Thursday with the band set to march the route twice.

"They've given us two bites of the cherry because we'll come through once with the Navy contingent and then we'll go back around to the start and I think bring through the Army," Mr Ravenhill said.

"We'll be marching 3.4km on the day and we won't stop playing.

"We'll be up against the Navy and Army bands and lots of professionals so we'll have to do well but I'm sure we'll knock their pants off."

Mr Ravenhill said the band was well prepared for the big day.

"We're getting some past members back for it," he said.

"We've got one flying in from the Margaret River and another from Ayr.

"We've got a couple of members who moved to Brisbane who are coming too."

Mr Ravenhill said he first got the idea of the band marching in the parade when he saw it on television.

"I thought it would be magic if we could be part of it," he said.

"I approached the Brisbane organisers and they said they'd love to have us.

"It's quite an honour."

Mr Ravenhill said the band practised every Monday night and had held extra rehearsals to prepare.

"There will be 32 of us," he said.

"It's the biggest band we've fielded in a long time.

"We're all ready to go and we can't wait. I think it will be good for the people of Bundaberg to see."





The beat goes on for Bundy drummer

BANGING THE DRUM: City of Bundaberg Drum Corps band master Trevor Ballantyne is stoked about the Anzac Day reuinion march.
BANGING THE DRUM: City of Bundaberg Drum Corps band master Trevor Ballantyne is stoked about the Anzac Day reunion march. Max Fleet

IT SEEMS Kevin Ballantyne was always destined to be a drummer.

Mr Ballantyne, who was born in 1928, founded the City of Bundaberg Drum Corps in 1956.

But son Trevor said his father was drumming long before then.

Mr Ballantyne started his life in music at the age of 9, but the family found he wasn't very good as a trombone player, so he switched to drums.

He was not keen on school, and his mother Flo would let him hide in her bedroom wardrobe until his father had gone to work.

Then he would get out and practice his drumming.

"The first band he joined was the Bundaberg Boys' Band," Mr Ballantyne said.

"He later moved to the Bundaberg Caledonian Pipe Band and then moved to the Bundaberg Municipal Brass Band."

In a memoir he wrote for his family before he died in 2011, Mr Ballantyne said he remembered his father paying a shilling for him for half an hour's instruction in drumming.

When he was a pupil at East Bundaberg State School Mr Ballantyne used to play the drums for the students to march into class.

Trevor Ballantyne said during his life his father was a playing member of the Maryborough Excelsior Brass Band and the Walkers Engineering Works Brass Band.

He also played with brass bands from Townsville, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Gladstone and Mackay.

He was in the Queensland Concert Band, the Rum City Silver Band and the Coventry Brass Band UK.

Mr Ballantyne also played as a pit drummer with the Bundaberg Amateur Players for 16 years.

In 1956 he formed the City of Bundaberg Drum Corps, and the band went on to play at festivals across the country.

These included the Moomba Festival in Melbourne, the Canberra Festival in Canberra, the Ekka and Expo 88 in Brisbane and the world marching band championships in Brisbane.

ORIGINAL DRUMMERS: A photo of the original City of Bundaberg Drum Corps in 1956. Photo: Contributed
ORIGINAL DRUMMERS: A photo of the original City of Bundaberg Drum Corps in 1956. Photo: Contributed Contributed

Mr Ballantyne said while music was his father's life, he also had to earn a living.

"He started work at 13 and had his first job with Small's Pharmacy in Bourbong St," he said.

He worked there until 1958, and over the next 35 years he also worked at the Fairymead Sugar Mill and at various other jobs before retiring in 1993.

Mr Ballantyne also was a councillor in the Bundaberg City Council.

"He played drums in every dance hall, shed and shack from Tegege Hall to gala balls in the Civic Centre," he said.

Mr Ballantyne said his father's legacy lived on in the family.

All his children have been involved in the City of Bundaberg Drum Corps at some stage, and so have most of his grandchildren.

Mr Ballantyne said he had called for former members to join the drum corps in the Anzac Day March in Brisbane this year, and had been overwhelmed by the response.

The publicity had also attracted some new members who wanted to join the band.

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