Cessnock District Pipes and Drums Band performs to commemorate 75th anniversary of end of World War II

HONOUR: Cessnock District Pipes and Drums Band members John Edwards, Garth Thompson, Len Stoker, Ron Watkins, Michael Steele, Paul Wilson and Malcolm McLennan performed at the war memorial on Saturday for the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Pacific. Picture: Krystal Sellars
HONOUR: Cessnock District Pipes and Drums Band members John Edwards, Garth Thompson, Len Stoker, Ron Watkins, Michael Steele, Paul Wilson and Malcolm McLennan performed at the war memorial on Saturday for the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Pacific. Picture: Krystal Sellars

The spine-tingling sound of pipes and drums echoed throughout the Cessnock CBD on Saturday to signal the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The Cessnock District Pipes and Drums Band was among hundreds of bands worldwide that performed a specially-commissioned tune at 10am AEST as part of the global acknowledgement of the Victory in the Pacific (VP Day, or also known as VJ Day).

On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's "unconditional surrender" and acceptance of the Allies' terms, bringing the war to an end.

At the time, Australian forces were engaged in campaigns across the Pacific - in New Guinea, Bougainville, New Britain, Borneo, and in the Philippines - and Australian prisoners of the Japanese were spread throughout Asia.

VP Day pays tribute to all Australians who served at home and abroad during World War II.

The Cessnock band was honoured to be part of the commemorations at the memorial where the names of hundreds of local residents who served in the war are listed.

Secretary-treasurer John Edwards said while the band performs at many local events, its primary objective is to provide a service to the RSL.

Saturday was the first time the band had performed in public since COVID-19 crowd restrictions were introduced in March.

These restrictions have forced the cancellations of all of the band's regular events, including Anzac Day, the Cessnock netball march past and visits to retirement villages, among others.

As outdoor public gatherings are still limited to 20 in New South Wales, a ceremony was not held at the cenotaph on Saturday, but a few interested passersby stopped to watch the band's performance.

Mr Edwards said the band is also hoping to boost its membership after a recent downturn in numbers.

"Cessnock was settled by Celtic people; the pipe band is a tradition that should be maintained," he said.

"Perhaps there's someone out there who wants to learn and be part of maintaining that heritage."

The band meets at Cessnock Showground on Tuesday nights at 6.30pm. Anyone who is interested in joining can contact Mr Edwards on 0418 239 970.

See the video of the band's VP Day performance in the post below.

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