Many bands form during their school days and by the time band members reach their 70s, they are retired or thinking of retiring – some, of course, haven’t made it. But four Queensland classmates from the 1960s prove that it’s never too late to satisfy old dreams. 

Terrence Bryne tells the story of his band and its adventures. He reckons their next song will feature the piano at Bunyapa Park.

Where did it begin?

Three of us from the class of 1964 decided to host a mystery guest lunch each month. We would take turns inviting a fellow classmate of our year. Only the inviter would know the identity of the guest until 12 noon on the first Wednesday of the month.

We have now held 24 lunches.

The invitees have been only too eager to impart details of their lives pre and post school.

For many it has been like they have been waiting for years for someone to ask them about their live(s). For us it has been a revelation of sorts.

The notion of forming a band grew from the lunches.

Since I was about 14, I had dreamed of playing in a band. I had dabbled with guitar over the years, in spurts. Only one member had played guitar and sung semi-professionally. Another had a brief exposure to a band in the 1960’s but it failed shortly after it was formed and nothing since. The other member had dabbled like me.

So we went through the throes of practice and more practice. At times we did question where we were heading.

But eventually things started to sync. We started to write our own songs and gave ourselves a name, Class Act.

The next step was to be able to remember the words and chords to a collection of songs without reference to copy. With that in hand do we perform only “in house” or look to outside performances, remembering that we were all 70 years plus.

One of the group went to a primary boarding school at a little place called Yarraman. So we set about writing a song called Yarraman and this led to three impromptu performances at the town’s two hotels and the heritage centre. (The former school now forms the heritage centre).

Buoyed by this response, we looked to another target. A town of similar size, and Mitchell came to mind. Mitchell also had direct connections to two members of the band. My mother was born in Mitchell and another members’ father was born there in the early 1900s’.

A line in the song MITCHELL4465 goes like this:

“Our parents were born here many years ago. Now we are back, you are never too old”.

When we arrived in Mitchell on a Monday afternoon, we were under-whelmed. The prevailing economic conditions for the small western town had led to population drift. Of the five standing hotels only one was operating.

We did give a performance in the hotel bar that evening and sang our song MITCHELL4465. It left us all fairly flat. The next morning, we were looking to escape to our next target, Dalby, when we were called out by the hotel owner.

He wanted to know our names, our parents’ names and when they lived in Mitchell.

The owner had taken a video of our performance and placed it on Facebook. The Facebook page had lit up and by 8.00am on the Tuesday had over 800 hits, remembering the town only has 1000 residents.

The Facebook hits have now risen to over 2.8K.

Amazing! We love you Mitchell. Class Act lives!

Cover image: Terry Drapes, Paul Molony, Damian Gaffney, Terry Bryne.