The 2012 Heritage Ensemble
The Heritage Ensemble was initiated in 1983 to perform for the inaugural Heritage Ball held in the Sydney Town Hall in 1983. This event was held by the Bush Music Club, in conjunction with the National Trust and the Royal Historical Society of NSW, with sponsorship provided by Caltex Australia. Musicians from a number of Sydney based bush bands were invited to perform with David Johnson as the Musical Director.
Since then the band has gathered to rehearse and perform annually. It has served as a musical forum for established musicians to perform together and maintain friendships and for newer musicians to be introduced to the joys of playing with experienced players for a major dance function. At the last ball there were about 25 musicians who contributed to the evening.
It is a long list of players who have contributed their talents over the years to the ensemble. Some have arranged sets of tunes, composed harmonies, written out music, researched suitable dances and tunes, liaised with committees, or organised PA. All have played in the spirit of musical cooperation. The list is as complete as memory has allowed.
The task of keeping up to 25 musicians in some semblance of order has been cheerfully undertaken by David Johnson. As MD he has coordinated the music arrangements and conducted the rehearsals and performances. For this and other services he was awarded a Life Membership of the Bush Music Club.
The National Folk Festival 2004 saw the Ensemble presenting a programme of dances from the annual Bush Music Club Dance Competition on the Saturday night as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the BMC's founding in 1954. In 2008 the Ensemble was featured as the band for the main Ball at the National Folk Festival when NSW was the featured state. 2009 - 2012 had the Ensemble providing the music for the Heritage Ball in Parramatta Town Hall and in addition in 2011 a contingent combined with the Bush Capital Band to provide music for the September Colonial Ball in the Albert Hall, ACT.
2015 will again feature The Heritage Ensemble at the National Folk Festival playing for a programme of dances at the Heritage Ball that covers dance from very early colonial times to the present.
A gallery of photos taken at rehearsals and performance is managed by Wayne Richmond at HUMPH.
Dates for 2020
National Folk Festival
Rules for Ensemble Playing