Crowd gathers to hear band play in honour of ship's musicians

MOST people in Ballarat probably had no idea why a band was playing music before a crowd in Sturt Street last night. 

A bandstand in the median strip of the street might go unnoticed to many passersby, however, these musicians gather for one day each year to play one song at the location.

The Titanic Memorial Band played Nearer my God to Thee before a crowd of about 20 people last night.

The bandstand was specifically constructed in memory of the Titanic band members, who continued to play music as the ship sank into the ocean 102 years ago. 

A silhouette of the ship forms part of the weather vane on top.

Titanic Memorial Band spokesman Vincent McDonald said the band was made up of people who lived in Ballarat or had previously lived in the city.

“Ballarat has always had a really strong banding community and there are a lot of bands here and a lot of bandstands here in Ballarat and most of them don’t get used,” Mr McDonald said. 

“The Titanic bandstand is a case in point; it was built as a memorial to the band members of the Titanic and many of us just decided the bandstand needed to be used and this is a great opportunity to create a memorial day for musicians.”

The band also honour the lives of other musicians on the night. This year they selected the late Australian conductor John Hopkins.