Entertainment

Veteran drum major marches on

The Lismore City Pipe band has lead Lismore’s Anzac Day march since 1948.
The Lismore City Pipe band has lead Lismore’s Anzac Day march since 1948. Jacklyn Wagner

DRUM Major John Ryan has been with the Lismore City Pipe Band for the Past 58 years and has no plans to hang up his mace as he prepares to lead the band again at this year's Anzac Day parade.

Lismore's annual march wouldn't be the same without the pipe band, nor would the after-parade celebrations at the Civic Hotel, and Mr Ryan wouldn't have it any other way.

He joined the band in 1954 just six years after the group participated in its first Anzac Day march.

That was the year Queen Eliza- beth visited Lismore, he said.

"I was part of this band, but I played with the Army Band as they were getting paid," he said.

Mr Ryan played the bagpipes for seven years but has spent 51 years at the front of the band signalling with his mace. He keeps the musical unit well-drilled and marching in time, he said.

The band has only missed two Anzac Day parades since it was formed and that was to attend the National Pipe Band Championships, he said.

despite a triple bypass operation, a mechanical valve in his heart and a knee replacement, Mr Ryan said he was raring to go.

"Nothing is going to stop me, I'll use a wheel chair if I have to," he said.

Pipe bands are very traditional and there have not been a lot of changes over the years in the style and type of music the band plays.

The big change was that women were now able to join the band, he said.

This was a practice that wasn't allowed by Scotsman Alis- tair MacSween who founded the band back in 1947.

"The band wouldn't be the same today without women; they are some of our best pipers and drummers," Mr Ryan said.

While there is a steady inflow of young players into the band, some new recruits underestimated the work required.

"They turn up one day and expect a uniform the next, but it takes about 18 months before you can play a decent tune on the pipes," he said.

"It is not like other bands where you can read music, you have to learn it all by heart in a pipe band."

Mr Ryan was born and bred in Lismore but his roots go back to Scottish emigrant Joseph Atkins (1859-1941) who was a member of a Dunoon-based pipe band, and later the First Lismore Scottish Band.

The Lismore Pipe Band can also trace its success to the work of the Ladies Auxiliary that has helped raise funds since its foundation, vice president Barbara Ryan said.

Topics:  anzac day, music, scotland




Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Lismore rockfest Mazstock will explode hearts

Maz Scofield the North Coast Queen of Rock annd roll and contact for the third  MAZSTOCK 2011 event on the Italo Australian Club. picture Jacklyn Wagner

Rockers converge on Lismore in June

Don’t be a statistic in dangerous surf conditions

Surf Life Savers are warning swimmers, surfers and boaties to be aware of dangerous surf conditions this weekend. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Surf Life Savers are warning of big surf

Mears leaves a large literary legacy in her local area

REMEMBERED IN PRINT: Author Gillian Mears, at her home with one of her cats, publicising her book The Cat With the Coloured Tail. She died last week.

“She writes like an angel.” Review of Gillian Mears

Latest deals and offers

IBAC Evidence Police Bashing 5

Officers drag the woman back to her cell

In this video the woman drinks water from the toilet.

IBAC Evidence Police Bashing 4

In this video the woman asks for water as the tap in the room is broken

IBAC Evidence Police Bashing 3

In this video police continue their search and male officers are present despite...

Coastal development keeps young people on Northern Rivers

Wes Bale is a 27-year-old born and bred Lennox Head local who is an example of the demographic shift in the region.

Young Northern Rivers residents are looking closer to home

We’ve found 8 rentals available on the Northern Rivers

2/22 Sunnybank Drive, Ballina

It's obvious there is a rental shortage on the Northern Rivers