The Western Australia Fire and Emergency Services Concert Band, formerly known as Perth Concert Band, is a community band in Perth, Western Australia. Our members encompass all walks of life and levels of musical achievement. We range in age from high school students to retirees, and our members include public servants, engineers, students, teachers and town planners among others. We are sponsored by the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services and represent the department, its staff and volunteers at official and community events. The band aims to promote music as an enjoyable endeavour for all, giving citizens of Perth an opportunity to take an active part in the local music scene. The band consists of brass, percussion and woodwind players, rehearses every Tuesday evening, and new members are always welcomed. We play music from many styles, including classical, light entertainment, popular, big band, movie themes, marches, musicals and hymns. This variety and flexibility is one of the band’s major strengths. The band performs in public regularly. As well as organising several of our own concerts each year, we perform at many Department of Fire and Emergency Services Events which include Firefighter Graduations, Police Graduations, International Firefighters’ Memorial Service, Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service State Championships and The WA Fire and Emergency Services Conference. We also march in Perth’s annual ANZAC Day parades and Christmas pageants, compete in the WA state band championships, and take on other performance opportunities as they arise. We are available to hire for events. The Western Australia Fire and Emergency Services Concert Band is affiliated with the Western Australia Band Association.
WAFES Concert Band has a long history. The band was formed in 1920 as a brass band, the 44th Battalion Band, by returned servicemen from World War I. It was founded to contribute to the welcoming party for the Prince of Wales’ visit to Perth in that year. In 1930 it was renamed to the RSL Memorial Band, and 1951 saw the band attending the Ballarat Band Championship. Sponsorship from the BP Refinery (Kwinana) Ltd in 1958 resulted in a name change to BP Brass Band. In 1960 the band took part in the South Australian Band Championship. BP sponsorship ended in 1972 and the band changed its name to the 10th Light Horse RSL Memorial Band. The following year, 1973, the band secured sponsorship from TV Channel 7 and became the TVW Channel 7 Brass Band. In 1979 the band added woodwind instrumentation, changing from a British-style brass band to an American-style concert band. There was a corresponding name change, becoming the TVW Channel 7 Concert Band. In 1986 the band attended the national band championships in Adelaide. In 1990 the long association with Channel 7 ended and the band adopted a new identity — Perth Concert Band. The band thrived for more than two decades, supported primarily by its own members and concert income with no significant on-going funding from outside parties. A new chapter in the band’s history began in 2015, with the band receiving sponsorship from the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES). We now perform as the Western Australia Fire and Emergency Services Concert Band, and our role has broadened to include performances at DFES official functions such as the annual volunteer firefighter championships, International Firefighter Memorial Day services, and firefighter graduation ceremonies. We continue to take part in Perth’s annual ANZAC Day and Christmas Pageant parades, but we now represent DFES at those events. Throughout its colourful history the band has remained one of Western Australia’s premier bands, winning the A Grade Concert Band division of the Western Australia Band Association state band championships a dozen times within the past 20 years and becoming the national champion B Grade Concert Band in 2013.
Musical Director – Matt Klohs
Matt Klohs is an Australian conductor, composer, clinician and adjudicator whose career has spanned over 3 decades. He spent 17 years as a professional woodwind musician in the Royal Australian Navy Band before becoming a Band Officer and conductor in 2007. Since then, he has conducted professionally throughout Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Asia and Spain and continues to be in high demand. He has led performances by ensembles from world-renowned professional military bands to school ensembles, US college ensembles to beginner bands, and community bands of all levels. Matt has been Music Director of both the Melbourne and Sydney RAN Bands, as well as Senior Instructor at the Defence Force School of Music.
His passion for the life-long journey of learning and teaching sees him maintain a busy schedule as a clinician and mentor working with musicians of all ages and experience levels. He teaches from his home studio with private students here in Perth, and he is an alumnus of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music holding a Graduate Diploma of Music (Performance). His informative and positive adjudication style is regularly sought out with engagements at Festivals, Eisteddfodau and Contests throughout each year. He has adjudicated at Regional, State and National levels in Australia and more recently in New Zealand.
Matt is proud to serve community bands and musicians as a former member of the Bands Association of New South Wales Management Committee and until last year as the NSW Delegate to the National Bands Council of Australia. He is a member of Music Advisory Boards in NSW and QLD and regularly provides repertoire advice to other groups around Australia including the National Music Consultative Committee for the NBCA.
Matt is a co-founder and Director of Maestros With A Mission Pty Ltd, a unique Australian company offering Professional Development, Print Music Publishing, Conducting Services, Adjudication and Consultancy to groups and individuals. He is also a published composer with numerous works available in Australia, the US and Europe. His wind ensemble works are carried by Murphy Music Press LLC and MWAM as well as his own website: www.mattklohs.com
Recently relocating with his family to Perth, Matt is already heavily engaged in music here in WA, with involvement at leading schools, WA ABODA Winds and most recently, his appointment to the position of Music Director of the WA Fire and Emergency Services Band. He looks forward to leading this fine community ensemble into the future and building on the fine work done by those who came before him.