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A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

- 108 – Christmas

- 108 – Christmas Island is a small island rising sharply up out of the sea. An interesting fact is that we were sitting in 600m of depth when tied at the buoy 200m from shore. It has a population of approximately 1500 which are mostly Chinese, Indonesian and Island migrators with some ex-Australian Mainlanders thrown in. We were able to go ashore in groups of 60 a day for day leave if on the nominated sheet and not required for duty. Other times we got to go ashore were for the Kanimbla verses Christmas Island sport days i.e. Soccer and touch footy. Ship's company could also volunteer to go ashore to help restore a run down Gun emplacement and bunker, which was overthrown by the Japanese during WWII. This was a good-will contribution from the ship to the Island people. On the way back to Darwin the ship stopped to help a stricken yacht, which had a broken rudder. The ship sent over a dive crew to remove the broken rudder, had the ship’s carpenters make up a new one and had the divers refit it. The yacht was back underway within the day. Back in Darwin we were fortunate enough to be selected to go on an expedition to Katherine Gorge with 30 other ship’s company. We experienced canoeing Katherine Gorge, various national parks, thermal pools and various waterfalls. Our time with the ship gave us a valuable insight into how other departments function within the daily running of a ship. We all got along well with the ship's company including all ranks. The ships crew appreciated our playing of wakey, wakey in the mornings and beer calls. They would often ask us to play their favourite tunes and we would learn them by ear to play at the next available pipe. This helped to boost morale, as it was different from the norm. It was also good for other sailors to see that we can “hold our own” when given other challenges outside of our normal band work and perform hose challenges well. I would recommend sea trips to other bandies so that they can get “out there” and experience “sea life” as it is. Then they can answer the question that we are all so often asked, “What’s it like being at sea?” I Would also like to take this opportunity to thank Able Seaman’s Henderson, Rankine, Collidge and Douglas for their hard work including, team work in transposing and rewriting charts, their valuable input during rehearsals, and lastly the enduring and trying times finding a suitable rehearsal space. Job Well Done. Also thanks to CO HMAS Kanimbla, DMUS- N and the Band Officers for giving us the opportunity to experience life at sea. HMAS Sydney: Article by Petty Officer Nick Pearce Everyone in the Navy will tell you, "Never volunteer for anything". In this case, common dog was ignored. In less than forty-eight hours after being informed of this deployment, a seven-piece ensemble had been selected from a list of names submitted from the musicians of Sydney and Melbourne Detachments. The musicians chosen for the deployment, Petty Officer Pearce, (sax/clarinet/vocals), Leading Seaman Collins (trombone/keys), Leading Seaman Watson (tuba/electric bass), Able Seaman Honor (saxophones/flute) Able Seaman Goninion (drums), Able Seaman Hansch (trumpet/bugle), Seaman Dowd ( vocals/guitar/bass drum). The ensembles roles have been to perform beat to quarters followed by ceremonial sunset's and to provide the ship with a rock band, jazz ensemble and a small parade band for all other functions and occasions. After completing our basic NBCD course at HMAS Creswell we managed to get a few days of quick rehearsal at Sydney studio to brush up our drum corps skills and to quickly go over a twelve song forty minute set with the rock band. We departed Sydney airport early on the 11Sep 02 and made our way to Darwin to meet HMAS Sydney. The next day we waited on the dock of Darwin Navy Base until approximately 1000. Sydney steamed into Harbour and anchored, we loaded our equipment into a workboat and climbed onboard, were issued bedding, boots, anti-flash and overalls and then continued to post in. Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

- 109 – A large transit accommodation sleeping space that looks like a giant chest freezer was set up in the stb hanger for most of the band's Junior Sailors whilst the remaining moved into respective female and PO'S messes. The port hanger has been our nominated equipment storage and work place area and is our part of ship for daily routine rounds. Five days of calm sea's made it easy to productively rehearsed up the rock band and drum core for Beat to Quarters with the guard before the first port of Manilla. 1000 Procedure Alpha for Manila worked well on the flight deck although we had to quickly get the equipment out of the way and help rig up the gangway, the awning, store the ship with fresh rations, eat lunch and rehearse the Beat to Quarters with the guard. On completion we set up for the cocktail function and had enough time to get three hours ashore to regain our land legs, and make calls home and be back in time to scran up, dobe up and commence playing smooth background cocktail function jazz by 1830 to 1945. The Beat to Quarters at 2000 was successful and very much applauded and appreciated. We then continued ashore around 2145 and in fine Navy band tradition on the first night in, had lots of fun. We are fitting in with the ship's company well and are now a part of night watch duties. These duties comprise of man overboard sentry, helm, lookouts and anything that is piped for spare hands like cheering ship when in light jackstays with Japanese ships. We are also keeping protection force duties and will be shore patrol guards in Guam. We have visited Qingdao in China and Japan's port of Nagasaki where we again performed to everyone's expectations and repeated all sailor traditions in the art of buying rabbits, having a look about and consuming a quiet ale here and there. We are presently in defence watches at sea on exercise with the Japanese Marine defence force in a small typhoon two days south of Tokyo and are looking forward to seeing the bands and ships of other Navy's. To date we have performed with our many ensembles two flight deck concerts, three cocktail functions, three beat to quarters and sunset ceremonies, one touch football match, one basket ball match and six procedure Alpha's. Our performances have been very well received by all ranks. Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

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