About Us


Our Approach

The Eltham Concert Band is a community band based in Eltham in the Shire of Nillumbik in the North Eastern suburbs of Melbourne (Australia). We are generously supported by the Shire Council and, prior to Covid we performed for a wide range of community service groups and in various community functions such as: The Nillumbik, Warrandyte and Banyule Festivals; Council functions and various market events. We hope to resume these functions as soon as possible. We also perform two concerts a year in the Eltham Community and Reception Centre.
Eltham Concert Band has a proud history of providing enjoyable music making for the players as well as exciting entertainment for the community. The Band celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015. Several of the members have been with the Band for most of that time.


Our Story

As a large wind ensemble, Eltham Concert Band includes Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion instruments, supplemented by String Bass. New players are always welcome.

The Band can perform in a variety of venues such as performing arts centres, halls, reception centres or clubs or in outdoors venues such as at community festivals or carols by candlelight.

Program selection varies according to context and audience - Music for all occasions. The Band is available for hire. Contact Committee members for information.

In the past, band members have ranged in age from 15 to 80+. While most of us just enjoy playing and performing to as high a standard possible, some of our players have a professional background in music. Members are encouraged to take the opportunity to perform solo items with the Band.


Hiring Information

Eltham Concert Band is available for Hire. Contact the Band President or other Band Committee members  for information about fees, arrangements and bookings. As a community band, some performances are provided free of charge for non-profit groups and organisations such as retirement villages.


Eltham Concert Band was formed in 1975, originally being known as the Shire of Eltham Concert Band.  The Band was formed from an amalgamation of the Eltham Brass Band and woodwind group the Darebin Players.  The late Ern Shade was the founding Music Director and under his leadership the Band progressed from a B Grade band to A Grade.  Ern and Beattie Shade invested enormous energy in supporting the Band for over 15 years. This included managing the Band's library.

Ern Shade retired as Music Director in 1990, to be followed by Major Malcolm Bell of the Australian Army Band Melbourne. After retiring from the Australian Army in 1993, Malcolm moved to Brisbane and was replaced as Music Director of the Band by Colin Harris, who continued until 1996.  Captain Peter Grant, also of the Australian Army Band Melbourne, became Music Director from early 1997 until mid 1998.  Barry McKimm joined us later in 1998 and devoted seven years to bringing new music and musical styles to the Band.  Barry was not just the Band's Music Director.  He also provided many original compositions and arrangements for the Band to play.  Mike Fitzpatrick took over as Music Director in 2006, but commitments with the Australian Army meant that he could not continue as full time Music Director.  Eric Klay took over at the end of August 2006, and continued until March 2010 when Stephen Deakes assumed the role.  Stephen stood down at the end of 2014 and handed over the directorship to another member of the Australian Army Band - Richard Mason. By mid 2016, Richard's commitments to the Australian Army have seen him unable to continue as Music Director and this sees Stephen Deakes returning to the position.

In 2007 Eltham Concert Band gained two patrons.  These two patrons emphasise two important links for the Band: the Shire of Nillumbik, and the Shade family.  We were therefore enormously pleased when the Mayor of Nillumbik Shire and Fred Shade (son of Ern) agreed to take on the role of Patron of Eltham Concert Band.


Music Director -

     Phil Johansen

Phil was first introduced to the joy of ensemble playing in the NT where he played with the Darwin Youth jazz Big Band, the Darwin City Brass Band, and the Palmerston Town Council Band. He later enlisted and joined the Band of the 7th Military District as an Army Reserve Musician.
The opportunity to create a career out of musical performance was offered in the form of a musical traineeship with the Australian Army Band Corps (AABC) and Phil joined as a trombonist in 1999. His introduction to and interest in conducting began through promotion courses in the AABC. He is now an instructor at the Defence Force School of Music.
Throughout his musical and military journey, Phil has gravitated back to community music wherever he has been able. Joining groups in Townsville, Canberra, Albury, Adelaide and Wagga Wagga. In Wagga Wagga, he took up the baton and the first MD position with the Riverina Concert Band and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of leading an ensemble and the challenges it presented.
Phil joined the Eltham Concert Band (ECB) in 2024 to take on the MD position. It will be an exciting journey, exploring challenging repertoire and growing with the talented group of instrumentalists that are the ECB.

Friends of ECB

There are several other bands in the area; all of the following are lucky enough to have Eltham players in their ranks

  • The Manningham Concert Band & Preston Symphony Orchestra rehearse on a Tuesday
  • The Eltham Orchestra, Croydon Concert Band, Croydon Wind Symphony and Melbourne Tramways Big Band rehearse on a Wednesday
  • The Monash Concert Band rehearses on a Thursday
  • The Booroondara Symphonic Band rehearses on a Friday
  • The Whitehorse Orchestra rehearses on a Saturday morning
  • The Clarinet and Saxophone Society have ensembles that rehearse on a Sunday Afternoon

The Band's Repertoire

The Band performs in an exciting range of styles ranging from serious works written for concert band and orchestra through medleys from Broadway shows to jazz standards. Smaller groups within the band also perform as wind quintets, brass quintets, flute choirs, clarinet choirs etc..
In our major performances the Band has recently performed music by composers such as Alfred Reed, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Clare Grundman, Gustav Holst, George Gershwin, Vaclav Nelhybel and Australia’s Percy Grainger, Brian Hogg. All of these composers have made major contributiions to the repertoire for concert band.

The band has an extensive library of music which it has aquired over the last 35 years. We continue to expand this library. Much of the music is now acquired through "Sheetmusicplus.com" who offer an extensive range at very competitive prices. The band receives a small commission for any items that you purchase from "sheetmusicplus.com" through the following link. The commision is in the form of further music that we will add to our library. If you're looking for sheet music, we recommend Sheet Music Plus. They have the world's largest selection, guaranteed low prices, and great customer service.