GEM-TONES STAGEBAND Community Music Play for Life
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(Latest developments 2006- New page back on this site - Thanks Fossickers for the short term help with space.)

20-5-05   Thank you to the TIMES for you continuing support of community innovations and arts in general.

The response, on the day of printing, to the article on the launch of the GEM-TONES has been wonderful. Members of the community were phoning throughout the day seeking assistance in connecting with instrumental teachers, enquiring about the plans for future growth in schools and community music, and making offers of moral support. Local business operators too have been generous with offers and suggestions for performance venues.

Inverell appears to be rediscovering their appreciation of the arts and embracing the possibilities associated with these 'creative industries'. Keeping projects such as the GEM-TONES accessible to as wider cross section of the community as possible is essential, and community spirit such as shown here is the key to that continued access.

With the door open, such as it is, we can all look forward to a great festival season later in the year. I imagine plenty of musical groups, both established and new providing enough local entertainment to satisfy all appetites. With the pending security of a local conservatorium these groups will then have the support structures in place to let their roots take hold. Once they have that stability they can only become stronger, and again, so too does Inverell as a community.

News clip 1 1in


A great website! What a fantastic opportunity for young musicians. Melanie would love to be part of it, I'll bring her along to listen in on rehearsals some time if thats ok. Cheers Cathy .




We would like to extend an invitation to ‘sit in on some charts’ over the next few weeks with the GEM TONES. (Thursday nights 28-7-05, 4-8-05, 11-8-05, 7pm till 9pm)

The GEM TONES aims to bring to the community a fun, accessible performing group presenting both classic and popular tunes across all the main STAGEBAND styles.

Features of the GEM TONES include the opportunity to develop ensemble musicianship skills in a variety of combo formats through Jazz, Rock, Swing, Latin (including reggae), Funk, and Classic Standard pieces. Some opportunities exist for those that wish to develop their ability to improvise. Vocalists will have the opportunity to perform backed by a real band, with the list of charts covering 60 years of great songs. All this takes place in a supportive environment and with skilled advice, on all aspects, available.

The group hopes to cover all instrumental parts by the beginning of the festival season. The rhythm section is almost complete, but the combo still needs to be fleshed out. Each player can quickly pick up the pieces through the available recordings and the part folders provided. Our regular rehearsals develop the arrangements as well as the skills of the players and are fee free.

The current GEM TONES’ look forward to having you ‘sit in’ and hope you find the experience interesting and rewarding. In the future, it is hoped that even more ensembles, large and small, can be formed through associations such as this. Many local opportunities exist for flexible performing groups.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us through the site. As you browse you are sure to find additional links to local and national groups that support this schools and community initiative. E-mail is available, as well phoning C/- MHS music department. (You may find the links to ‘Play Today – Music Rentals’ particularly useful if you would like to try a different instrument.[available soon])

The more the merrier. More musical opportunities make musicians much happier.


7 extra potential members took up the offer to 'sit-in'  tonight. Altos quota full at the present time, but plenty of potential for sax players who would like to double/switch to Tenor (one instrument available - others available through 'Play Today'.). Keyboard as yet unfilled...  

Looking forward to the second 'invitation' night and potentially more Trumpets (or sop-sax).


More Trombones presented, YAY!   Vocals doubled.  Still need some Tenor Saxes and a keyboard...   Trumpets could do with at least one more to fill the section.


Thanks to all the additional supporters that arrived after the SRC induction. An appreciative audience spices up the rehearsal!

Third invitation night coming up. Photo op and more publicity ready to go in the paper. Come along and join in the fun!


Trialing backing vocals. Most parts are now covered. Still a need for (reading) Tenor Sax players and Keys. Sets decided for the upcoming premieres (see Performances).


Armidale's Kimberly Saunders will be 'guesting' on Keys - the group is sounding very 'phat'. Info Sheet 1 passed out and administrative decisions pending. We are almost ready to play publicly.


Letter from the NECU regarding (short term) sponsorship indicates we now hav enough to purchase additional music stands. YAY! Many thanks to 'Ollie' Cabitza for attending to the sumbission. Thanks also to Debbie Shephard for 'going to bat' for our fledgling group.

Thanks to Deb from the NECU

(see sponsors page)


Last practice prior to the Inverell Eisteddfod, and the Gem-Tones first public performance. (Different night due to the pending HSC music exams at MHS, and rehearsal clashes. Thanks to those that turned out for the rehearsal. Vests sized and ready for the 16th - at the Inverell Town Hall.

(Note to self: Gotta make sure my music stand is fully charged...)


Inverell Eisteddfod performance. Fabulous response from all Gem-Tones present. The level of musicianship and quality of presentation was a joy to be present for. The appreciative audience joined in as is customary and helped to lift the performance still further.

Many thanks to Ollie and Alex who worked like seasoned pros as both sound engineers and rhythm section, and to all the Gem-Tones that worked like seasoned pros in setting up and bumping out so efficiently. No need for 'roadies'!

Thanks also to Geoff Croft and the SCB for the use of stands on the night. We have funds for ours but they were never going to arrive on time.

Meg lead from the front and her performance was a real highlight, as were the solos and great sectional 'comping'.

The results and adjudicators comments matched the perception of the audience (marks of 95 in the 10min concert selection and 97 in the single piece-vocal sections). "A good debute" was the understated response from 'beaming' audience members after the event.

The "FOSSICKERS" (new - performance training combo) was announced during the performance, with 15 flyers handed out on the spot.

eisteddfod 1 3in eisteddfod 2 3in

eisteddfod 3 5in c

24-9-05  Confirmed today. 97 was the highest mark awarded at the whole eisteddfod. Lets see if we can maintain this as our minimum concert standard...?

Thankyou to those community members whom have felt compelled to mention their impressions of the Gem-Tones, and are generating still further interest in the group. We are almost at full compliment (all parts covered). Phone calls are beginning to come through with requests for the services of the Gem-Tones at functions and festival events. Time permitting, we hope to appear more regularly in response to the interest. Thanks Inverell.


Sapphire Tea Gardens. A great day all round. An appreciative audience were treated to a combination performance and live rehearsal as we ran through our repertoire. Solos and experiments the order of the day. The band was then treated to a BBQ lunch, with tea and coffee, as well as a voucher for each member to use in the Gem area. Thankyou, so much, to John and all concerned with the Sapphire Tea Gardens. It is amazing to think such an enterprise can be so close to the town ship of Inverell and remain largely undiscovered by the towns folk. The Tea Gardens are a high point for tours and bus trips, and will be remembered as a great day by band and audience alike.

Sapphire teagardens The generous donation to the band will immediatly buy a new chart, thank you. Happy first anniversary 'Sapphire Tea Gardens'.


CALLING ANY AND ALL POTENTIAL SPONSORS. If there are any organisations in a position to sponsor the early development of the GEM-TONES and the FOSSICKERS, we could do with a hand. The latest quote for the music stands we require is $150.00 each (best discount $120.00). Thanks to the NECU for their inital assistance, we can purchase 4 of the 20 required and cover the freight.

I suppose we (Gem-Tones) just have to put in the 'hard-yards' (just like all those that came before) and prove our worth to the community before we can attract secure funds. Thanks to the public education system (MHS) and those that appreciate the potential of the group, helping us get established with some funds through our first few performances.

There is a lot of satisfaction in the effort taken to soundly establish a project such as this.

See you all at the proposed Campbell Park (Rotary Rotunda) 'Family evenings'. Enjoy the music, and the BBQ, and know that the funds raised are well directed to promoting community music projects.

MUSIC-Play For Life.


Looking forward to the "KOTTAGE KIYA GALLERY" performance. Saddly the weather dealt a shocking hand and it was decided better to 'fold rather than hold'. Thanks to Louise and Rusty for their continued support of local artists and musicians. We all hope the festival season (and all its typical rain and hail...) is more like the spring/summer postcards people all imagine - next year...


An enjoyable evening at the Inverell Transport Museum. A truly unique venue to perform in. A wonderfull collection of vehicles. (Check out the 'new' Valiant...). Many thanks for the contribution to our music stand fund, and we hope to become more closely linked with future proposals to promote the Museum as a possible 'light' function venue. Keep us in mind for next year, and possibly the FOSSICKERS as well.

Nick's Valiant - new GT mobile (Just the right colour to surpass the 'Blues-Mobile' and give birth to the Gem-Tones 'GT Mobile'.) Nick's machine will be on display at the INVERELL TRANSPORT MUSEUM when you next visit.


Inverell RSM performance was short, but quite sweet. Thanks Olly for the work involved in providing P.A. for all-comers including our 25min set (7 'punchy' numbers). It was good to be part of a strong display of the growth in community music, with many performers playing in 3 or more groups in turn. Great to have the younger folk dancing, both the formal (choreographed) and spontaneous ventures onto the floor aptly demonstrated the enjoyment and enthusiasm for the event. Such a large scale event, covering so many styles could become a permanent feature of the festival. Well done Peter (L). Lets hope all the group and individual contributions are acknowledged appropriately, and constructive feed-back acted upon, to help refine it in future years. (Pictures up soon. Including "The Reason You Came"...)


Thanks, to the organisers of the RSM 'spectacular', the contribution directed to the Gem-Tones, from the funds raised, will help to purchase a music stand and keep us on track in our development stages. Thanks for the support of our cause. We were happy to find out that we were part of an evening that could direct $1000.00 to the Rescue Hellicopter.


Thanks, to the Inverell Eisteddfod Society. We recieved the envelope today containing the prize for the recent eisteddfod's 'Community Band' section. As with the other recent performances the funds are being directed to our purchase of some quality music stands. The Eisteddfod has proven to be a wonderful point of debute for the Gem-Tones. I'm sure it will continue to do so for many other local and regional musicians and groups. The important roll the Inverell Eisteddfod fills for the community will be all the more prominent when the Inverell Campus of NECOM is fully up and running.

Inverell certainly is experiencing a stage of growth in musical endeavours. Lets see what other community groups decide to get behind this growth and build the kind of support networks that will ensure this growth is sustained...

The Gem Tones RSM 3in More from the RSM in 'Profiles and Pics'.

The Reason You Came 1 75in Who's support for whom? I'm sure there is a market for 'The Reason You Came'. The more we can support each other the better for all, particularly the audience! (need any brass guys - check out the infamous 'GILGAI HORNS' at the next show 'MAHOGANY FROGS' play in Inverell.)

 Mahogany Frogs Giraffe 2inThe MAHOGANY FROGS.


There is a strong chance the infamous 'GILGAI HORNS' will guest with the Gem-Tones at The Campbell Park Rotunda.

Gilgai Horns Gilgai Horns Logo


Just confirmed: The GILGAI HORNS are performing at a wedding with the MAHOGANY FROGS on Saturday. Saddly this means they are unable to sit in with the GEM-TONES tomorrow in the park. They send their best and look forward to another opportunity in the near future.


Rotunda clip The Gem-Tones played in the Rotary Campbell Park Rotunda, this evening, to about 250 relaxed Inverellians. We performed, without a break, for just over 1 1/2 hours and enjoyed it quite a bit. Solos galore! Thanks must go to Olly for the setup (note the pretty as a gem lights in the pic) and to Alex and family. Both our thoughts and thanks are with you.

Young and old alike were able to sit back with their friends, food and refreshments, and listen to the music whilst carrying on their conversations and unwind for the beginning of the weekend. It was particularly pleasant to have some of the children present come up to the stage and help with the percussion section/solo feature in our version of 'Rhythm of the Night'. The conga line that formed mirrored the slick moves of the Gem-Tones brass, and the last few numbers saw the kids continue to enjoy the dance space, to the delight of all.

Good to see some FOSSICKERS in the crowd as well. Equally good to have a solo on debute from Gavin and his new eBAY Tenor Sax.

We will all welcome Meg back at our next concert. While I did appreciated the 'Touchdown' (thanks Galen) our vocal charts deserve more than my cameo. All a bit of fun though, and it hasn't stopped folk from Glen Innes making booking enquiries... Lets see what pans out for the rest of the regions festival season. 

It certainly appears that the 'Growing Inverell' Committee has hit upon a format for an entertaining and relaxing evening. Something on which to build and inspire others (groups, sponsors and individuals) to develop. The area about the rotunda will evolve quite well with a little more lighting and access to amenities.

There will be a concert by the New England Guitar Ensemble at Macintyre High School this weekend (Sunday 6-11-05) that will sound beautiful in the intimate setting of the school's drama room. I wonder if a concert such as this would be possible in the rotunda, and indeed if the sound would carry to an audience seated under the trees. I look forward to the Clarion Singers as a comparison...


17 new charts ready to go! One month till our next public performance, so, time to work up some more vocal numbers and 2 special 'Gem-Tones only' commisioned songs. Hi De Hi De Hi De Ho!


Great to have Andrew come along and 'sit-in' on Keys. We all look forward to the possibility of the 'HAMMOND' sound radiating from the rhythm section in the near future. With the options to mix and match parts and players in our Rhythm Section we should be a little less 'brittle' should some folk be un- available for a performance. What a huge tonal pallet when we have full percussion, organ, piano, guitars, bass and kit drums, though!

Still on the look out for 1 more trumpet, 1 more trombone, and 1 more tenor sax...

The 'stands' choices are down to three - Manhasset 'Voyager', Petersen, and Platinum.

We should also have our credit union account up and running this week. Gem-Tones has almost achieved its second developmental goal! Thanks to all that have assisted to get us this far, in such a short space of time. We are here for the long haul now. "We may not be a house-hold name in Inverell just yet - but that will (is) change(ing)".

Don't forget the FOSSICKERS. Dot, Dot, bah, doo Bah doo Bah doo dit...

Utb Jazz sim


Gem-Tones Stageband opened it's NECU account today. Cross off another goal!! Just in time for a little christmas shopping - some long overdue stands and a little icing in the form of some new 'Pop' charts and vocal features. Hope to see many new 'friends' at the rotunda this week. FOSSICKERS may have a tune to play as well, but its a bit up in the air just yet. COCO LOCO (?) Come along to the park and find out...


Flame Cert 4in

One of the main 'sponsors' of the Gem-Tones, Macintyre High School, was recently named as a finalist in the ABC classic FM - Music Council of Australia FLAME awards. This places Macintyre High School's internal music program as one of the top 40 in the whole country. The Macintyre High Music Department and its resources have been generously made available, by the school, to the Gem-Tones providing a well resourced and supportive home from which to develop into a strong Schools and Community Project - serving the needs of all Inverell and District residents, regardless of their school or circumstances. FOSSICKERS enjoys the same support.

If this is to develop the same way as the last project instigated for Inverell and District through the expertise and support at Macintyre High (the 'Sapphire Concert Bands' - enjoying its 10th year in Inverell in 2005), Gem-Tones may begin to work in a symbiotic fashion with a diverse array of community based groups. One such group may prove to be the New England Conservatorium of Music - Inverell Campus.

The Inverell Campus of NECOM Steering committee will be running a fundraising BBQ during the next performance of the Gem-Tones (supported by some FOSSICKERS!) taking place at Campbell Park in the Rotary rotunda, as part of the 'Growing Inverell' committee's evening performances project. (2nd of Dec.)

The Inverell Campus hopes to be in a position to support the development of all Inverell and District musical endeavours in the near future. As it grows, and hopefully achieves its goals quickly, I'm sure the wider community can appreciate just how interrelated all these activities become. The source of the initial support for these 'grander' plans has to come from some where and be developed by those with a wider vision.

Its good to see that Macintyre High School and its community of willing supporters has been recognised, nationally, as one of these sources and resources.

Don't forget tomorrow...

mpfl website link graphic

1-12-05 (evening rehearsal)

The infamous 'GILGAI HORNS' sat in tonight. Gem-Tones Ellie and Jake are unavailable for the rotunda so, with UNE on vacation and degrees sorted, the 'Gilgai Horns' are going to sit in again at the park.

Meg will feature with 2-3 new tunes. Audience most welcome to fill in the harmonies.

Lets hope the weather holds...


A BIG NIGHT in all respects...

We were a little concerned with the weather forecast today. With light showers during the day there was always a possibility 'both ways' (performing or cancelling).

Approaching 4:00pm the weather cleared after a brief shower, so it was decided that we should try to confirm intentions with the 'promoters' of the rotunda performances - the Growing Inverell Committee - Unfortunatly the committee's Council representative was uncontactable (all 4 numbers...). So, we resolved (5:45pm) to set up and make the best of what time was available.

The Inverell Campus - NECOM 'sausage sizzle' set up and began to serve as the crowd grew, raising funds for the proposed early childhood music prg 'Mini Minstrels'.

Thanks Nick, for confirming with 2NZ that the Gem-Tones were indeed setting up to play. (Some mild confusion- understandable with the state of the weather and comunications channels - after the NECOM 'sausage sizzle' operators contacted 2NZ, confirming their activity.)

6:30pm, and the FOSSICKERS arrive for a run though and to survey the stage. Gem-Tones taking places as the finishing touches are put on the P.A and lights. Clear skies and on time. All set - time for a warm up. Blues scale patterns and rhythm section style 'games'. (Hit me 1 - 5 times!). Line solos and trading 8's. Great to have the infamous 'Gilgai Horns' siting in. Stopping off on the way to 'Echidna Gully' and a corporate christmas party on Dec 3rd to give us a hand with Ellie and Jake at State sport championships. Keep the Gem-Tones in mind - there is always a seat available as you tour. Enjoy Canberra.

7:00pm is 'kick off' - 2 smooth openers (Springs Awakening, Jammin' with Charlie) then on to the FOSSICKERS.

The FOSSICKERS performed 'Charlie Jams Again' with 3 solos. (Some what absent mindedly, I over-looked Brian. No matter, the FOSSICKERS rhythm section didn't bat an eyelid and followed my count-in for a reprise and easily accomodated the 'lost' solo - jump to CODA - all is sweet!)

World premiere 'Mikaelas 3 step', (Alto Sax duet). Great debute for a fledgling composer.

Gem-Tones assume 'concert formation' and we're away in style. (The Impression That I Get, Buffalo Head) Solos from Tom, Calum, Emily, and Alex (featuring the full force of the eBAY 'funk-master' Bass and built in wah!).

Welcome to the stage MEG, and 3 vocal numbers. (Dancing in the street, I Feel The Earth Move, a taste of Don't Get Around Much Anymore.)

On with the instrumentals: (I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Low Rider, Crusin', Quiet Little Town) Solos from Tom, Tim, Ollie, Andrew, James, Geoff and 'tasty' morsels they all were too!

*Hindsight would reveal that the power spike that turned off the rotunda's main light, in the middle of 'Quiet little Town', might have been the signal to have begun to packup. Thanks to Ollie's lighting we were able to continue without any real issue. By the time the full storm hit, thankfully, the rotunda's main light had reset and come back to full strength.*

Time for COCO LOCO, a new latin number. Held it together with the finger tips! A great debute.

First of the planned 'audience participation' numbers (Silent Night). A great 3/4 jazz waltz arrangement, beautifully led by Meg and well received by those enjoying the show from their deck chairs and blankets.


Time to pump it up again (California Dreamin') 2/3rds of the way in and the wind begins to howl, folders are blowing. John is about to launch into his solo but It has to be cut off as the rain is starting. (From now on we will always look to John to 'blow up a storm' in this particular solo!)

"In the interests of public safety, we will have to stop the concert there. Thanks for your support. See you next time.." the crowd moves VERY FAST as it begins to pelt down. Thunder and lightning and a few of us are thinking about the tree blown appart by a lightning stike across from the school - yesterday!

Power off! P.A turned in and instruments away! It is 'hammering'. The rotunda is an adequate shield from the torrent, but it is open (by design) at the top and the sides have a very small eave so the wind brings in the spray. and we are all 'soggy but smiling'. (38ml in the home rain guage when checked after the show!)

A most heart felt thanks to all the Gem-Tones and supporters who worked so effectively in the midst of the circumstances. It took us 45+ mins of solid activity to set up for the performance, and through the superb co-operation and 'see a need- fill a need' comon sense assistance from audience and performers alike, the whole 'show' was secured - saved from water damage in 5 mins - all packed away in 15/20 mins.

soggy but smiling

john storm solo 4in pa pack 4in

One week to dry out all the music, instruments and equipment ready for our last booked show for 2005 at the Inverell Golf Club. Its indoors, so we should get through the rest of the show. Surely the only thunder encountered this time will be from the audience and their applause... Music: Play For Life.


Setting up for our last engagement for 2005 was great. Most in and out from 1:30pm till 2:00pm.

Great to catch up with Nathan 'Macca' Blacklock just finishing his round of golf. It'd be good to have a hit at some stage as the course and local company is all in good condition... but we have a show to provide.

It always takes a little longer to 'tune' the P.A when indoors, and systematically hitting every contact and component inside the Hammond B1 to get it to work is an art worth savouring (rollout the Ensonique backup keyboard...). We take up a lot of space, now that we are almost a full stageband. 20 people and equipment! At least we have the magic 'forcefield' (Ollies new 'rope lights') and that marks out where the dancing can commence!

8:00pm and we're all back ready to go.

Where's Ollie 4in

After a quick photo session and comments on the 5-1/2 months just passed we're on!

The crowd of 80+ all warm up with us and then its into the show, dancing, singing and all.

A short break after an hour and a quarter. Thanks to the social club and the organisers for the fruit, cheese and drinks. We are being so well looked after its like its our christmas party as well.

Party games are an interesting diversion, but its time to get back into the swing of it all. We field some requests from the crowd to replay some of our earlier vocal numbers, so of course we oblige (we have plans to expand the repertoire here, a major goal for 2006!) and notice that the dancing to 'Flash Dance' is decidedly adventurous!

Oh dear! the magic forcefield can't diflect the giant beach-ball surfing in from the dancing crowd. Good thing Jake (alto sax) is so good at sport and can take the 'header' without losing a beat!

11:00pm comes and goes, and its time to wind back. A great night all round. I'm sure the Gem-Tones enjoyed the event equally as much as the revellers from Mclean. We are all exhausted after our first full nights entertainment. We'll work on our 'match - fitness' as most would tell you, it's a great sensation...

Thanks to the organisers for having 'faith' in the Gem-Tones. We are certainly available for next year. More co-operate functions in 2006 seem quite possible. Our next big event has been confirmed as a 3 hour slot in the Marquee at the 'TOM ROBERTS' festival.


The last GEM-TONES rehearsal for 2005. The GEM-TONES will be in recess until late January 2006, but can still be recalled for shows quite easily in the meantime.

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