Cessnock pipe band members to perform at centenary observances for Western Front battles

PERFORMANCE: John Edwards, Christine Wyborn, Claudette Dufresne and Marilyn Edwards will travel to France and Belgium in July with the Combined RSL Centenary of ANZAC Pipes and Drums band.
PERFORMANCE: John Edwards, Christine Wyborn, Claudette Dufresne and Marilyn Edwards will travel to France and Belgium in July with the Combined RSL Centenary of ANZAC Pipes and Drums band.

Cessnock will be represented in a travelling contingent of musicians who will perform at services in Belgium and France to commemorate the centenary of World War I’s Western Front battles in July.

Pipers John Edwards and Claudette Dufresne, drummer Christine Wyborn and support person Marilyn Edwards are taking part in the Combined RSL Centenary of ANZAC Pipes and Drums band tour.

The combined band comprises more than 30 members and is drawn from the RSL pipe bands of Burwood, Castle Hill, Ingleburn, Newcastle and Cessnock.

The local quartet belongs to to the Cessnock City RSL Pipes and Drums Band.

They have learned about 10 new tunes for the European engagement, and performed with their new band mates at the Bundanoon Highland Gathering in April.

Mr Edwards says they are proud to be representing Cessnock and those who fought in the World War I battles.

His grandfather, Private Andrew Clarence Mitchell fought at the Somme with the 35th Battalion.

“A lot of people from Cessnock joined World War I and went through that area,” he said.

Many of the combined band’s members are descended from those who fought in the formidable battles of the Western Front.

The band has been rehearsing together since last year for the series of engagements in Belgium and France.

They will perform over 10 days at places including the Menin Gate in Ypres, Fromelles (where Australian mass graves were recently uncovered), Pozieres, Amiens Cathedral, and other villages and memorials.

As all members are volunteers it is a self-funded trip, and the band welcomes assistance from the community to cover its costs (which includes accommodation, travel and freight of their equipment).

Donations can be made via the Cessnock RSL Sub-branch or at the Cessnock branch of the ANZ Bank.

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