Des O’Shea had a long involvement with the Marist Brothers Band.THE Bendigo community lost a man who was wholly dedicated to his beloved Marist Brothers Band from the day he joined the band 66 years ago to the day he died on December 22, 2014.
Des O’Shea was a self-employed electrician by trade who was often in those grey overalls with a screwdriver in one hand and climbing a ladder.
I first met Des in mid-1964 when I joined the band. He was a tall, slim-built, dark-haired man who offered practical but wise counsel.
Des joined the band at age 12 in 1948. Long-time fellow bandsman Alan Gibbon joined in 1949 and they were almost inseparable throughout their banding careers.
They received their life membership awards at the same AGM in November 1985 at the conclusion of the band’s 75th anniversary celebrations and then in 1999 each was awarded their 50 years long service awards.
Des was a specialist soprano cornet and flugel horn player. His music usually sat on top of the band’s contesting test and own choice selections, making for a much fuller tone and tune from the band on stage.
Des served on the band’s 1967-68 committee of management and no fewer than 28 times in various roles including president between 1973 and 1975.
Des was also the band’s librarian, property steward and sound technician. Des had such a love of this Marist Brothers Band that he also became band master in 1982-83 following the loss of talented Wayne Bowden and before Brian McMennemin was appointed.
Des ensured both the former and current bandrooms were in tip-top shape, both acoustically and lighting-wise.
Significant awards from both the Victorian Bands League and National Bands Council for various long service achievements were bestowed upon Des during his active 62 years of banding. Ill health did not deter Des from keeping a keen interest in the band’s activities over the past four years.
Condolences are extended to his wife of the past 30 years “plus some”, Norma, and his family of Dennis, Mark, Peter and Susan and families.
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