May 27, 2012

Farewell Fred Royal

The forthcoming Daceyville 100th birthday celebrations will be touched with a lot of sadness for me and many others due to the passing of a very very special man.

Fred Royal was his name and he left a legacy that will be part of this City for decades – indeed generations to come. 

I first met Fred, and he was definitely Mr Royal to me, when I went to school at Daceyville. He was a teacher there in the early sixties and in 1965 the school Principal Jim Russell created the Daceyville School Military Band, as it was then called. On Mr Russell’s retirement, the band was taken over by Fred Royal and within a few years it became the best school band in the country.

In 1971, the Daceyville Public School Military Band under the leadership of Fred Royal achieved something that was beyond imagination. The school having won the state title for Primary School Bands was invited to compete in the State Championship for the New South Wales high schools. With an average age of only 9 or 10 years old, Daceyville School Band entered – and they won. The piece they played was “The Westerners Overture” and is actually found on You Tube as well as a 1974 performance of “A Walk In The Black Forest”. Bearing in mind the then members of the Daceyville Public School Military Band were in effect only really babies, and bearing in mind the recording ability of those years, the sound even today of those babies is just remarkable.

Fred Royal just had this ability to teach very young children to play and create the sound from the school band that was just unbelievable. Because Fred was a legend and no successor had Fred’s ability, no school band could ever perform to the level it could for all those decades when Fred was at Daceyville Public School. Nevertheless, the Daceyville School Band is a band that the Council supports financially and from now on, it does so in memory of Fred Royal.

Fred Royal was a very special man and his passing means our City has lost someone who gave so much. The music Fred Royal created will live on and be a permanent reminder of this man. 

As a bandmaster it was fitting that on his final journey he was dressed he was dressed in his old band masters blazer. Fred gave us a lot and he will be missed – Fred’s memory I hope in the future will continue to inspire the Daceyville School Band to move in the directions of the heights that it once had under Fred’s leadership.

Personally I will miss him and on behalf of everyone in our City I extend our sympathies to his family.

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