Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Life Members - information on our 25 Life Members - part 5. Ralph Pride, Chris Woodland, Sandra Nixon, Wendy Richmond, Mike Young.

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Foundation Member John Meredith, unveils new Life Members' Board before launching his new book Duke of the Outback at the Bush Music Festival Oct 1983

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Ralph Pride - joined early 60s at the same time as Bob Bolton

Ralph Pride, born and bred in Botany, studied classical violin from an early age. In the 1960s, with encouragement from John Meredith, he managed to put all that behind him and joined the BMC concert party. These days he sings and plays a variety of instruments, features in popular school performances, and plays with over 10 different bands across a range of musical styles. His seemingly unlimited knowledge of traditional dance tunes surprises even himself.

Ralph is responsible for the song and tune books put out by Concert Party over the years, and has scanned old BMC archival material and converted recorded material to modern formats. 


Working bee, 2015 (Sandra Nixon photo)
It was Ralph’s long-time friend from school days who introduced him to the BMC. That friend was, and is, Bob Bolton. He was working with me and another BMC member at the time at CSIRO, the other member being Morris Matthias, who later married another BMC member Caroline Purser, one of the ‘Marrickville Girls’. (Chris Woodland, Nov 18) 

Pete Seeger ... called Duke on stage to join him at a concert, a call not appreciated by a teenage folkie who wanted to hear Pete, not an old Australian bloke.  Soon after the teenage folkie (Ralph Pride) became a convert to bush music & an admirer of Duke. (source - Ralph, 2020)
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Chris Woodland - joined early 60s  (created Life Member in 2014)
Singabout 6(2), 1967 (BMC Archives, photo by John Meredith)


Citation for Chris's Life Membership -

Chris is a folklorist and historian and has been a member of the Bush Music Club since the early 60s, was MC from 1965 - late 1967. He left Sydney in January 1968 and has always stood up for Club ideals.

He accompanied John Meredith on many collecting trips over the years, and did a lot of collecting on his own. His Oral History interviews are held by the National Library, and artifacts owned and collected by him are in Regional museums. He has recorded the more recent songs of John Dengate, taking up where John Meredith left off. For many years he has shared his knowledge by giving talks and lectures and is a repository of club history.


Woody & Merro on Mt Oxley, October 1993 (Woodland Collection)
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Mike Young  (created Life Member in 2014)

*Member of BMC for over 20 yrs, (dancer not musician) and has been involved
in the occasional dance demonstration for the club, regularly attending
Balls, and dances. Also attending most Mulga Wire folding sessions over the
last few (10 or more??) years
*Committee member for around 13 or 14 yrs (rarely misses meeting)
*Religiously provided and sold soft drinks at 2 dances/month from the 1990s
to 2013 when it was no longer viable
*Web site management - initially keeping Valda Low up to date with BMC activities to now being sole manager of BMC web site ~ 1999 to current
*Assisting with Mulga Wire production (initially minor role) for a few years
to now almost full editing & production responsibility

Mike has not taken on all these roles by choice - particularly Mulga Wire, but found he has the ability to be able to perform the task/s and fill a gap/need where nobody else was putting up their hand/s thus gradually taking on full responsibility for the tasks and performs them competently & reliably - even religiously in his approach.
He has never once sought acclamation for these jobs but just got on with the task at hand, often with very little acknowledgement. …until today !

Editor at work, 2013 (Sandra Nixon photo)
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Wendy Richmond  (created Life Member in 2014)

Wendy Richmond is well overdue for recognition for her many, many years of dedication to the Bush Music Club.  I don't think Wendy has ever held a position on the Committee but she has, since being involved from the early 80s, taken on many jobs.
She has organised dance workshops, called, taught and danced whenever needed. She has organised many events and functions including festivals, workshops and balls. She is the main person who has kept the ball "culture" alive in the past … let's say 15 years! Wendy of course has been the BMC "voice" for many years now having her phone number as the BMC contact number.
Wendy is always supportive and ever so patient with those learning bush dancing and gives willingly of her time at various venues
Every now and then Wendy has a bit of luck such as the time she was leading the Heritage dancers for the 200th anniversary of the crossing of the Blue Mountains at Flogging Samuel Marsden’s old homestead Mamre Rd St Marys using tapes or CDs.
When along came the Three BMC Amigos Eric Eisler, Bob Foggin and Allen Davis (to perform after her troupe). Suddenly Wendy had a live (well almost live) Bush Music Club band and a good time was had by all.

Wendy has more than deserved her life membership. 



Wendy & Don receiving their Life Member badges at 60th Anniversary Concert, 2014 (Sandra Nixon photo)
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Sandra Nixon  (
created Life Member in 2014)



(Wayne Richmond photo)

Sandra Nixon has been Secretary for many years now and her dedication to the tasks of a Secretary are worthy in itself but Sandra’s efforts go well beyond being a member of the BMC Committee and doing her job.
Sandra is always thinking about the Club and introducing innovative ways of doing things and doing promotion. She is a wonderful ambassador for the Bush Music Club.
Sandra regularly attends Festivals and has an amazing ability to sell our books, records and even old Tee Shirts!
Sandra has been instrumental in promoting the BMC by liaising with folk festival organisers for the BMC music, dance, songs to be included in the programs. Festivals such as the NFF, Kangaroo Valley, Illawarra FF, Cobargo, Turning Wave Yass and Bush Traditions are ones that come to mind.
She has been on the BMC Committee since 1997, and Secretary since 2000.

Self appointed Librarian, Archivist & Photographer since Bob Bolton's retirement.

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