There may have been a drop in spirits, but not in effort, when the 7th Wellington and Hawke's Bay Battalion Band practised for the last time yesterday.
The part-time military band is one of seven being scrapped by the Defence Force, in a move designed to save $520,000 a year. Only the Navy Band in Devonport, the Air Force Band in Wellington and the Army Band in Burnham will remain by the end of June.
Pat Salandanan, who has been a drummer in the 7th Battalion Band for 11 years, said there were mixed feelings when the 30-odd members gathered at Trentham Military Camp for their final rehearsal.
The mood was sombre, but band members were more focused than usual, wanting to make sure their sound was perfect before their performance at Te Papa on Anzac Day.
"You could see the mood go up and down a bit. There were mixed feelings of sadness and pride but there was definitely that little bit of extra effort.
"It will be a sad feeling when we're standing out there on Anzac Day. But you can be sure we'll be giving it 110 per cent for the people of Wellington.
"It's not going to be just any old parade, it will be a very special one."
The band has been around for about 100 years and some members have at least 25 years of experience. Not having that rich history around for Anzac Day next year was a sad thought, Mr Salandanan said.
"But who knows, the army may have a change of heart before then. We're not losing hope just yet."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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