BBb Bass – Michael Donohoe

Michael Donohoe – BBb Bass

I began playing on a crushed tenor horn in 1975 @ St Pius College, Chatswood under the late Keith Kellett. After 6 months of hardly getting a noise out of this horn, they finally looked @ the instrument & realised that it was unplayable. Luckily, for me, there wasn’t another horn available, however there was a shiny new EEb Bass. “I’ll take it” I said, just relieved that I could finally get a note out.

In 1976 I changed school & attended St. Ignatius’ College, Riverview & besides getting heavily involved in sports, took myself to the college band room & asked to join the college band. To my initial shock I met the band.master, Mr Harold Kellett, the identical twin brother of my first band master, Keith Kellett. The only vacancy on Bass was on the “double b”, so I accepted & was fortunate to sit next to a former Willoughby Junior member, Dermott Thompson, who encouraged me to try out for the Willoughby Junior Band. This was in 1978 & except for a couple of years out of the band for professional reasons, I’m still here 35 years later & was honoured with Life Membership in 2005.

I’ve won numerous State & Nationnal solo awards & been a member of countless successful Willoughby Bands @ both Junior & Senior levels. Professionally, this musical development led to a professional career with the Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra, ABC Sinfonia, Sydney & Melbourne Symphony’s & numerous other professional ensembles during the 1980’s.

In 1995 I was selected in the first ever Australian National Band & was selected in every subsequent National Band until my retirement due to a severe finger injury in late 2012.

Joining the NSW Police Force in 1986, I never lost my love of the brass band, especially Willoughby. Eventually becoming Commander of the NSW Police Band in 2005, I feel privileged to have been associated with this the Willoughby organisation, which provided me the skills required to persue a professional music career.


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About the band

Willoughby Band is an A-grade brass band including both an open age and a youth band. The band draws on players from throughout the Willoughby community and beyond.