A farm boy picked up a tuba to help out his town’s band more than 70 years ago and he’s still playing.

Story By Bruce McMahon

At 89, PERCY Iszlaub still has the puff for a deep-toned tuba and a quick march past.
It’s 72 years since he picked up the big brass instrument as a teenage farm boy to help out the town’s band, which was depleted by World War II.
Nowadays, a proud Percy is president of the Wondai and District Band, one of few left around southern Queensland, or across Australia for that matter. Once a feature of towns big and small in the South Burnett district, many traditional oompah bands dwindled and disappeared throughout the 1950s.
Nowadays Wondai has some 20 players, the youngest aged just 11. A regular 16 or 18 band members roll up every Wednesday at the RSL hall to practise some 70 songs in the repertoire, from the national anthem to Blueberry Hill, Christmas carols and marching music.
“I don’t know if we’ve got anyone in Queensland that’s played for 72 years who can still get a triple forte [a very loud note],” Percy says. “I can still pump them out.”

This Story is from Issue #105

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2016