In 2017, Noel Price was named Townsville Citizen of the Year at the annual Australia Day Awards, held to celebrate members of the local community who inspire through their accomplishments and challenge us to make our own contribution to a better Australia.
We caught up with Noel to find out about his rich cultural history in Townsville, and why his win has struck a positive note with local creatives.
For those who haven’t crossed paths with you before, tell us a bit about your involvement in the Arts?
I came to Townsville in 1968 as a National Serviceman playing in the Army band, married, and after a posting to Singapore returned to Townsville. On discharge from the Army, I was employed by the Main Roads department, then later by Education Queensland on the instrumental staff. I taught children to play musical instruments; specifically Percussion instruments.
I’ve been part of the Townsville music scene since 1978, playing in many musicals at the Civic Theatre and other places. I’ve also been involved with Townsville Brass, playing in many concerts with them and keeping up standards as musicals come and go. I’ve been awarded Life Member of both the Townsville Choral Society and Townsville Brass Band.
How did you first become involved in music, and what is it that has kept you enjoying it all these years later?
I learnt and played drums from nine years old on the Sunshine Coast where I was also a member of the Maroochy and Nambour Brass Band until my conscription into the Army, when I was sent to the Army School of Music to further my music education. I’ve conducted many musicals and have since seen many of my former students taking up that role as well as following in my footsteps musically. I retired after 31 years of teaching music and have been retired for over 10 years now, but am still playing music.
Have you seen a growth in support for the Arts locally?
The Arts in Townsville is huge and going through a small transition with trying to gain more venues for more performances.
Townsville has not built or sourced any new venues since the Civic Theatre was built in 1978 and as a result many performances cannot be held unless the available venues have been booked for many months – sometimes years – ahead. Many Arts people congratulated me on being awarded 2017 Citizen of the Year saying it’s about time the Arts were recognised in Townsville. Being involved in many art organisations, it was a privilege to represent so many of these people.
Which organisations are you involved in throughout 2018 – where will you be teaching and performing?
2018 will not change for me. I will still be involved in the Currajong State School P&C, The Pimlico State High School P&C, The Townsville Eisteddfod, both Barrier Reef Orchestra and Townsville Brass Band as a playing and committee member, partaking of my JP duties every month, and the Townsville Choral Society as required.