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A message from the President IT gives me great pleasure to present this magazine for Christmas and the New Year. For the Band, 2012 has been another year where we have been able to do what we do best, providing great entertainment and showcasing our rich cultural legacy at the many events in our community. We are always looking to grow – both in numbers and musicianship – and I certainly believe we can continue to do this into the future. I would first like to thank the sponsors of this magazine without whom it would not have been produced. Please support them as they support us. In particular, I’d like to thank our main sponsor CB Travel Adventures and other sponsors, Thuema Engineering and Mandavilla Event Centre and I would also like to acknowledge those who have donated music or money through the year, helping the Band’s growth. A special thanks goes to La Valette Social Centre where we hold our weekly rehearsals and to all the festa committees for organising the events at which we perform.

Thank you to the other Committee members and in particular our Bandmaster, Scott Turner, who has helped the Band members continue to develop their talents and to members for their efforts and the great spirit they bring to the Band. And thank you to you all, our friends, supporters and audiences. We hope you continue to enjoy our performances for many years to come. May you all have a safe and joyous Christmas and a prosperous 2013. Antoine Mangion President

OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE MALTESE BAND NSW INC PO Box 76, Doonside NSW 2767 President: Antoine Mangion

0405 233 144

Secretary: Roderick Pirotta

9670 2020

Treasurer: Robert Cutajar 0402 020 630 Printer: EAZY Printing and Copying 96 O’Neill St, GUILDFORD, NSW, 2161 0401 682 119 - 9721 3477 Front Cover from Anton Pieck Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 2012-13


OLQP Maltese Band NSW Inc Committee 2012-2013

Roderick Pirotta Secretary

Theddy Galea Delegate

Antoine Mangion President

Orlando Vella Vice President

Robert Cutajar Treasurer

Scott Turner Assistant Treasurer Bandmaster

Greg Caruana Delegate


A message from the Bandmaster IT has been an exciting and productive year for the band. I am honoured to be in a position where I can work with a group of wonderful people who come together for the love of music and great company. I continue to thoroughly enjoy working with a diverse range of musicians with varied talents. This is collaboration in the truest sense of the word and this is demonstrated frequently by the ongoing support and teamwork that the Maltese community offer. We have successfully played a large number of programs and managed to find time to progress as individual musicians, develop and introduce new repertoire, and support new and existing band members. I would like to express sincere gratitude to every member of Our lady Queen of Peace Maltese Band. I would

like to offer a special thank you to Antoine Mangion for his enthusiastic participation and great leadership, to Robert Cutajar for his diligent commitment and invaluable forward-thinking, and to Joseph Camilleri for his consistent support to me and the band especially in my absence. Scott Turner Bandmaster

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MEET THE BAND George Attard GEORGE Attard is one of the veterans of our band and is one of our two main trumpeters. George is 68 years old and hails from Saint Julians in Malta. He was born in 1944 in a family that always loved music. His brothers, especially his eldest, used to play with the band club of their village. At fifteen, George started learning music, starting with the guitar for Maltese Ghana and later the trumpet with the Saint Julians Band Club under the direction of Maestro Pulicino. George accidentally came across Mro Darmanin at a very young age in Malta. It happened that his mother hailed from Sliema and she always wished that young George would have the opportunity to play with Stella Maris Band and she asked the Band Master – who happened to be Mro Darmanin - to let him play with them and he duly did. George arrived in Australia in 1962, bringing his trumpet with him, living with his aunties in Campbeltown. Every now and then he used to play his instrument in their backyard, but the neighbours didn’t like the noise and they called the police where he was stopped and couldn’t play. After a while, around Christmas, a Salvation Army Band was playing some Carols at Newtown bridge and George asked if he could play with them and he was allowed this made the young man very happy. He went to let his aunties know, but unfortunately, in those days his aunties had very conservative ideas and

By Greg Caruana

told George that he couldn’t play with the Salvation Army Band cause they were not Roman Catholics , they were from the Anglican Church. This was the last straw for George, who thought that he would never play the trumpet again. In fact, in 1966 he decided to go for a holiday to Malta and he took his trumpet with him to give to his cousin’s son who was learning the instrument. George returned to Australia and after a while he started playing with a group called Fillets Bates, where he met his wife, Liz, who came from San Lawrence in Gozo but came here to Australia as a sixmonth-old baby with her family. In the early seventies when George and Liz got married, her family had a farm in Plumpton and George used to help in selling the eggs around houses, especially to Maltese families in the area of Greystanes where it happened that Mrs Darmanin lived. There he again met Mro Darmanin who he told him about the idea of forming a


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Maltese brass band. George told him that it had been quite a while since he played, but the Maestro told him that music is like riding a bike: once your learn, you never forget. When asked about his commencement with the band, George said that although he knew from the beginning about its formation, he had happened to go on holiday to Malta with his family for about six months and missed the very beginning and about two programs. As

soon as he returned, however, he went to the Greystanes Festa where the band was playing and all the band members gathered around him and told him to join. He did and, of course, George is still a very active member of the band. George had a short spell of Presidency in 2000-2001 where the band was passing through a bit of turbulent times and for the band’s sake, he made way for others to come in. A very important thing began while George was President – the band’s participation in the Anzac Day march in the city, which is still going to this day thanks to his perseverance. When asked about the way the band is nowadays, George said that he’s very happy that things have improved a lot with a collective effort from everybody and he’s always waiting for Monday to come for rehearsal.

The Rizzo & Camilleri Family THIS family’s involvement in the Band spreads over three generations. We start with the veteran, Eric Rizzo, one of the cofounders of our band who hails from Siggiewi, Malta and is married to the late Loreta (nee Butigieg) from Qala, Gozo. They had three children: Paul, Susan and Noelene. Eric arrived in Australia in May 1956. His son, Paul, a second generation Maltese, is a very good musician and member of the band who plays percussion – the snare/side drum, bass drum and cymbals. He is married to Doris (nee Camilleri) who is the sister of Joe Camilleri, another second generation Maltese who is from Birzebbugia, Malta and came to Australia as a young boy with his parents in 1963. Joe plays the Ebb Bass and

is married to Susan (nee Rizzo), Eric’s daughter. Joe and Susan have four children: Michael, who is married with two children; Josephine, who is married to Ryan Mckell and is herself is a member of the band, playing the alto saxophone; Mark who is engaged; and Diane who plays guitar and keyboard and sings. We start with Eric. Born in 1937 in Siggiewi, where his musical roots were ingrained with his father, who used to sing

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as a baritone in churches, and his mother’s side, where there were many musicians. At the age of 10 he was already playing for the San Nikola band club of Siggiewi. In Malta, Eric came across Mro Joseph Darmanin as the latter became the band master of the band in 1952. Eric migrated to Australia with his family in 1956. As we said earlier, he later married the late Loreta and they had three children. Eric, as everybody knows, is one of the cofounders of the band and was elected as the first President of the band – a position which he held for a total of eight years. He’s also held the position of Vice President and is also the band’s Honorary President having played an integral role in our trumpet section for the band’s 36 years. Eric is a role model and inspiration not only to his family but for all who follow our band. And now we turn to his son Paul,who is a second generation Maltese who is 53 years old. He and his wife Doris have three children: Chris ,Sandra and Stephen. Sandra is an ex-member of the band where she played the clarinet under Mro Joseph Darmanin for a number of years. Paul was exposed to a variety of bands that his father used to play with, such as Liverpool Brass band, Ashfield Municipal Band and the army reserve. This certainly influenced him and at a very young age his father started teaching him music.

Paul Rizzo

Eric Rizzo

He initially learnt the tenor horn but the drums had always grabbed his attention and this is what he has played since 1970. Paul started learning and playing in 1971 with Liverpool Brass Band and in 1974 Paul learned to play the drum kit, going on to join a number of pop groups for a period of 20 years. At the same time he played too as a guest player with Ashfield and CMF bands with his dad Eric. Then in 1976 he joined our band where his father, as we said earlier was the first President. Paul, like his dad, is a very dedicated band member and rarely misses rehearsals or programs. His tender care is much noted when he is often helping other new members in his field, especially his patience with the young kids. We’ll turn now to Joseph Camilleri who is Eric’s son-in-law. Joe arrived in Australia at the tender age of eight with his family in 1963. Joe remembers his young days in Malta where his parents loved festas and in their peak season, they would try to take him to as many festas as possible. This is where Joe believes he became accustomed to Maltese celebrations and marches. The love for musical instruments came from his grandfather who played the squeeze box – an old style of accordion – and hearing his mum talk about his grandfather playing music. These


things influenced Joe so much that he taught himself the mouth organ and then his parents bought him a piano accordion which he still has and plays every now and then. At the age of 14 he commenced formal piano accordion music lessons and he taught himself how to play the organ. He led a choir for over 20 years at Rooty Hill and Old Blacktown Parish. For over 3 years he took formal guitar lessons too. In 1976 he joined our band, where he played Ebb Bass which he still plays today. Joe assists in conducting the band especially for certain special pieces and also assist in the percussion section when needed. Joe has held several positions in the band committee where he has been President twice, Vice President and the Secretary. As regards the future of the band, Joe believes that respect to each member – no matter what skill of musicianship they may have – is of utmost importance. The leadership of the band must appreciate all members for whom they are and what they represent and top-down forms of management are not desirable but rather a consensual approach to decisionmaking which makes the band more approachable. He believes that some associate members need to pull their weight more in commitment for the organisation and need to attend all functions as they

Joe Camilleri

are there to support band members who perform. He believes that some of them could play a major role in being PROs for our band.

Josephine Camilleri We now come to Josephine Mckell (nee Camilleri) whose husband is Ryan Mckell. She plays the alto saxophone in our band and has played this instrument since she was nine years old – making 15 years in all – and has played in the band for 13 years. Being a third generation Maltese Australian, she was certainly influenced by her nannu, dad and uncle and she recalls that she always wanted Nannu Eric to be proud of her as she always looked up to him as a role model. By joining the band she thought that it would make him proud. As soon as Josephine turned 18 she became more active in the band and she has held a number of positions including Assistant Treasurer for three years, Secretary for four years and President for two years. Josephine believes that the future of the band rests on its members sticking together and remembering what’s important: the reason we play and come to the band, for the love of music and the traditions of our parents. In getting more young people to join, Josephine believes that we may need to organise initiatives in conjunction with secondary and primary schools.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 2012-13


Charlie Camilleri CHARLIE Camilleri was born in Mellieha, Malta in 1930. At 82 years old, he is the oldest member of the band. But in the eyes of ones like me, who are there every Monday for rehearsal, he’s the youngest at heart playing the Piccolo, where he’s always there ahead of time and very rarely misses out. Charlie, like many Maltese in the post-war period, was influenced by the services bands that used to perform in many Maltese towns and villages squares. Charlie told me that he is the fourth child of a big family and his eldest brother used to play too. In those hard days after the Second World War, where most people in the villages used to work in the fields and the quarries around, he liked to go and see the army band performing around Mellieha and he was fascinated by the musicians, especially by a particular one that played the piccolo. He was so amazed by it that he told his parents that he wanted to learn the instrument and began some music lessons at The Imperial Band Club of his beloved Mellieha. After a while he started playing the piccolo which he still plays with full enthusiasm today. Charlie, like many other Maltese migrants, arrived in Australia at the very young of 19 in 1949 and shortly after met his wife, Jane, who happened to also be from Mellieha, having migrated with her

family. They got married here and had four children. Two of them actually used to play in the band too but unfortunately, like many other young Maltese second generation children, gave it up. Asked about how and when he started to play with OLQP Maltese Band, Charlie said that in 1976 he went to the Kellyville Santa Marija festa where the band was playing. He asked Mro Darmanin if he could play although he hadn’t played for quite a while and was greatly encouraged by the Maestro, who prepared all the music for him. From there on he never looked back. Asked about the future of the band, Charlie says that although we lack young musicians, the enthusiasm that he sees in the rehearsals encourages him a lot.


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0407 435 993 Fax: 02 9625 9665 Email: 4 Emily Street, Mt Druitt, NSW 2770 14

La Valette Social Centre 175 Walters Rd, Blacktown 2148 - - 9622 5847 La Valette Social Centre was established in 1964 with Fr Paul Baron OFM being its founder. Its conception was in a shed in Doonside where a small group of Maltese, together with Fr Paul, met to socialise. As time went on the need for a Maltese Chaplaincy was felt and in 1978 a block of land on Walters Road in Blacktown was bought where the chapel, named after St Francis of Assisi, was built. As the Maltese community of Blacktown and the surrounding area kept growing, there was a need for a bigger meeting place and in 1986 the La Valette Social Centre was built at the back of the Chapel. The Centre has grown under the leadership of Gejtu Pace and his committee and has 550 members. Nowadays the Centre offers a Respite Service which includes outings and visits to the doctor for those who live on their own. The Centre also offers Day Care Respite every Thursday for those who live with carers or on their own where they are picked up and brought to the Centre, have Mass celebrated for them in Maltese, have lunch and play Bingo and later are dropped off home. The Centre also opens socially

every Saturday from 5.00pm onwards. These evenings present a night of entertainment for the Maltese community. Maltese food is prepared and this is followed by a disco and Għana once a month. Bingo and boċċi are also great attractions of the Saturday evenings. The Centre hires its hall for Maltese functions and even functions organised by different nationalities. Every so often, various Maltese festa committees celebrate the feast of their patron saint at the Centre and their turn out is always a great success. The Chapel offers two Masses in Maltese every Saturday evening one at 4.45pm and one at 6.15pm and a 7.00am Mass on Sunday morning. In 2004 the Centre brought Fr Paul Baron from Malta to celebrate the 40th anniversary since the first group of Maltese gathered together. For this occasion a monument was unveiled at the Centre. It carries the names of those who gave their time and talents for the Maltese community. The vision of the Centre is that it keeps growing to cater for the needs of the Maltese community.

For membership, hall hire or any other enquiries call the Centre on 9622 5847. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 2012-13



THE ORIGIN OF BANDS IN MALTA THE MALTESE community in Australia brought to this land many of its traditions, one of which is close to the heart of many Maltese: the band club. Our band, Our Lady Queen of Peace Maltese Band NSW Inc, was the first Maltese band formed in Australia. Its founder was Fr. Ronald Darmenia, parish priest of Greystanes, together with Mro. Joseph Darmanin. The first band concert took place on the 4 February 1976 and our thanks goes to our first President Eric Rizzo, who is still active today, as well as a group of pioneer bandsmen. Other bands quickly started in other states, such as the Maltese Own Philharmonic Society in Victoria in 1977.

By Greg Caruana

We will have a close look at how band clubs were started in the middle of the 19th century. The first band club in Malta was the San Filep ta’ Haz-Zebbug in 1851 founded by Mro. Filippo Galea, with the aim of taking part in parish festivities. Festas, however, started much earlier, as there is evidence of their existence during, at least, the time of the Knights. Before band clubs started, a group of four to five musicians used to take part in festas to enliven the occasion. Their instruments were simple and often made by the musician himself from material easily available around him. So the şaqq (similar to a bagpipe) and the tambur (drum) were made from ani-

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mal skins, reeds and strings. The fife and flute were made from reeds. The żafżafa is a friction drum in the shape of a potplant. These musicians roamed the streets of the village and one of the bandsman would collect donations. They were named Banda, as in Italian, the word banda means a group. In the 19th century, Maltese who were A band of ‘daqqaqa’ - musicians - playing a tradiemployed by the British Services in Malta tional Maltese instrument, it-tambur - tamborine learned how to play musical instruments and band rivalry often caused trouble through the military bands. Wind instru- within the parish. ments also became popular thanks to Often the priests in the parish exerthe influence of Italian refugees escaping cised their clerical control to avoid division within the parish. The worst time for from the civil war in Italy. During this period, social clubs start- such trouble took place in the morning ed in towns and villages and, over time, when the hot summer weather and excess the loose groups of musicians in parishes alcohol led to insults hurled at the rival formalised and some of these social clubs band members. Luckily, police and band developed into band clubs which gave officials intervened to avoid further trouble. Some claim that such parish rivalry added life to the parish feast. promotes a healthy competition and a better festa. Sadly, such rivalry has been brought to Australia, and a good case is in Victoria where one band club was split into two band clubs. To us in Australia this is counter-productive. As the community ages, there are less hands to do the volNiccoló Issourd Band Mosta in 1911 untary work and if we are not careful, we As we have said, the band club of San may destroy such a religious and cultural Filep of Haz-Zebbug founded in 1851 is tradition from our midst. the oldest of band clubs and is referred to as the Mother of Band Clubs. The late 19th and early 20th century saw a growth in band clubs. In some parishes, rivalry reared its ugly head and splinter band clubs were started and a secondary parish festa started to be celebrated. These secondary feasts, most of which started between 1850 and 1900, Imperial Band Club Mellieha


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KEEPING CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS can mean many things to many people. We hear a lot about being multicultural and being tolerant in Australia, but how can we do this without giving away our values and beliefs? How can we tell our children about the real story of Christmas, keeping alive in our daily life what happened 2,000 years ago and keeping Christ in Christmas? I would like to share with you some thoughts about this. The number one way to keep Jesus Christ  in our Christmas celebrations is to have him present in our daily life. This means revealing the character, love and spirit of Christ that dwells in us by allowing these traits to shine through our daily actions. Here are some simple ways to keep Christ the central focus of our life this Christmas season.

By Roderick Pirotta

Give God one very special gift just from you to him Let this gift be something personal that no one else needs to know about, and let it be a sacrifice. David said in 2 Samuel 24 that he would not offer a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing. Maybe your gift to God will be to forgive someone you’ve needed to forgive for a long time. You may discover that you’ve given a gift back to yourself. Lewis B. Smedes wrote in his book, For-

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give and Forget, “When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumour out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.” Perhaps your gift will be to commit to spending time with God  daily. Or maybe there is something God has asked you to give up. Make this your most important gift of the season. Set aside a special time to read the Christmas story in Luke 1:5-56 through 2:1-20 God reveals Himself in giving us his son as a human being. God becomes man – one like us so that there will be no doubt in our mind that He does not know what it means to be fully human. His life was full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, heartaches and heart breaks, pain and sacrifice, joy and exaltation! No different than ours. Set up a Nativity scene in your home St. Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene  in 1223 at Greccio, Italy, in an attempt to place the emphasis of Christmas upon the worship of Christ rather than upon  secular  materialism  and gift giving. Staged in a cave near Greccio, St. Francis’ nativity scene was a living one with humans and animals cast in the Biblical roles.  Eventually, statues replaced human and animal participants, and static scenes grew to elaborate affairs with richly robed figurines placed in intricate landscape settings.  What started almost 800 years ago, we can pass it on to our children. We all remember how many hours we spent in making a crib with all sorts of materials. Spend some time teaching your son or daughter, nephew or niece how to make a crib this Christmas.

Plan a project of good will this Christmas What about “adopting” a friend, neighbour or someone who can hardly make ends meet and didn’t have money to buy gifts for their small child. You can buy gifts for them or replace a broken down washing machine. Do you have an elderly neighbour in need of home repairs or yard work? Find someone with a genuine need, involve your whole family and see how happy you can make someone this Christmas. Take a group Christmas carolling in a nursing home or a children’s hospital One year, the staff at the office where I worked decided to incorporate Christmas carolling at a nearby nursing home into our yearly staff Christmas party plans. We all met first at the nursing home and toured the facility while singing Christmas carols. Afterwards, we headed back to our party with our hearts full of tenderness. It was the best staff Christmas party we’d ever had. Give a surprise gift of service to each member of your family Jesus taught us to serve by washing the disciples feet. He also taught us that it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  The idea of giving an unexpected gift of service to members of your family is to demonstrate Christ-like love and service. You might consider giving a back rub to your spouse or cleaning out a closet for your mother. Make it personal and meaningful and watch the blessings multiply. Set aside a time of family devotions on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning Before opening the gifts, take a few minutes to gather together as a family in prayer and devotions. Read a few Bible verses and discuss as a family the meaning of Christmas. 

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Attend a Christmas church service together with your family If you are alone this Christmas or don’t have family living near you, invite a friend or a neighbour to join you. Send Christmas cards that convey a spiritual message: This is an easy way to share your faith at Christmas time. If you’ve already bought the reindeer cards—no problem! Just write a Bible verse and include a personal message with each card.  Write a Christmas letter to a missionary Many missionaries are unable to travel home for the holidays, so it can be a very lonely time for them. Write a special Christmas letter to a missionary of your choice, thanking them for giving their life in service to the Lord.

I am sure there are many more ideas that may come to your mind. Unless we keep reminding our children why Christmas is such a special time for us, we will lose the really meaning of Christmas and consider it just another holiday or a day off from work. In the 4th Century AD, Pope Julius I dictated that December 25th should be the date of Christmas and it would be known as the Feast of the Nativity. His declaration was an attempt by the Church to Christianise otherwise Pagan celebrations like Saturnalia – the winter solstice. Now, the Church has similar worries about its over-commercialisation and secularisation. The struggle to keep Christ in Christmas is greater now than ever before! Still, with good balance, it is easy to remember that this is a day to celebrate the saviour’s birth while also celebrating what Jesus would want us to do: love for one another!


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 2012-13


LIS-SURMAST JOSEPH DARMANIN A Poem by Frank Zammit - Sydney, 15 December 2002

Issa spiċċajtha s-sinfonija twila mhux bħal dak l-għaref li fin-nofs ħallieha! Int bdejt mill-bidu u bin-noti msaħħra għażilt li-morr mill-ħelu biex tibnieha. Imdakkar minn missierek għall-imħabba ta’ dak kollu li jseddaq lill-ġens tagħna, int qbadt il-ġirja lejn il-beraħ wiesa’ biex mal-Mużi Daqqaqa tmur tistagħna. Irdajt ħalibhom u sseddaqt bi ġmielhom biex tgħallimt sew is-sengħa ta’ l-awturi, ħalli sew bħalhom tinseġ id-daqq ħelu li bih ħiltek setgħana fis mort turi. Gawdew minn għerfek bosta rġiel u żgħażagħ Gawdiet ħidmietek il-Gżira Omm tagħna Gawdew il-barranin u l-emigranti Gawdiet il-gżira l-oħra Awstraljana. Għax int imgħallem li ma jafx fruntieri Il-għalqa tiegħek hija l-univers. Kull xogħol irqomtu bi kwiekeb ta’ dejjem, Kif tixhed sew il-kitba ta’ kull vers. Iddedikajt kull siegħa matul hajtek għall-mużika ta’ qalbek bla ma qist is-sagrifiċċju li kuljum ġie jheddek għax għażilt triq ta’ veru mużiċist. Int kont il-fundatur ta’ baned tajba u l-għalliem għaref ta’ talent wisq kbir, u hekk b’ħidmietek żrajt żerriegħa għammiela biex trodd ix-xitel li l-frott minnu jsir.

Il-ġens li wiret ġid il-ħidma tiegħek ma jista’ qatt jinsiek fiż-żmien li ġej, għax int insiġt id-daqq li jibqa’ għal dejjem li minnu ma jista’ jifridna xej’. Mur u istrieħ, Surmast, għax wisq jixraqlek, għax tajt aktar minn sehmek lil dal-ġens. Mur u gawdi l-frott bnin li ksibt b’ħidmietek, li jibqa’ magħna bħala l-akbar wens. Mur u istrieħ, Surmast, u qatt la tinsa li l-ħrief iż-żgħar li rabbejt int kibrulek, u sew bħall-kbar int tista’ tafda fihom u huma għal dejjem jibqgħu jafuhulek!


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 2012-13



Christmas & New Year Magazine 2012-13  

Magazine of Our Lady Queen of Peace Maltese Band NSW Inc