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A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

- 146 – RAN BAND NEWS

- 146 – RAN BAND NEWS EDITION NUMBER 7 9 JANUARY 2006 RAN BAND DETACHMENT ON DEPLOYMENT IN IRAQ CHRISTMAS 2005 FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK The articles in this edition of RAN Band News highlight a very high period of activity. All of our detachments were busy with the usual remembrance ceremonies, ship open days and social functions, and public engagements. Many were involved in some way in supporting an unusually high number of ship commissioning and decommissioning ceremonies. In and amongst all of this activity, the band played an important role in ceremonies marking the 200 th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and the 60 th Anniversary of Victory in the Pacific. Interestingly, the band’s national output (tasks within Australia) for the July to December 2005 period was twice the level for the same period in 2004. During this period we commenced recording music for All Hands on Deck and released our first Christmas album, Do You Hear What I Hear? All Hands on Deck, scheduled for release in March 2006, will contain tracks featuring each of our detachments and will showcase the full range of our music capabilities. Our first Christmas album was released just in time for Christmas, and showcases our choir (the Sea Chanters) in company with the Wind Orchestra. The album has been distributed to libraries across Australia. During this period, elements of the band performed with a large number of high profile civilian artists and bands including, the Hoodoo Gurus, Yothu Yindi, Little Pattie, Beccy Cole, Marcia Hines, Todd McKenney, John Paul Young, Guy Sebastian, Deborah Cheetham and Jane Rutter. This level of exposure broadens our reach within the music industry and adds to our usual range of activities promoting music within schools and the community. Despite the heavy demand for its services, the band continued its sea deployment initiative with elements from the Sydney and Melbourne detachments embarking for short voyages in HMAS Stuart and HMAS Kanimbla. These two sea deployments followed on shortly after we welcomed back eight of our people from their posting to HMAS Anzac for its highly successful NORTHERN TRIDENT deployment. We look forward to continuing our direct support to the Fleet during 2006 with planned deployments in HMAS Tobruk and HMAS Manoora. Two particular highlights for the period were our involvement in supporting Australia’s Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, and our deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO). The deployment to the Solomon Islands in July, sponsored by the Forces Advisory Council for Entertainment (FACE), was a resounding success. Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

- 147 – The highlight of the deployment was a concert in Honiara in front of more than 20,000 people. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Band contingent comprised musicians from the Melbourne and Sydney detachments and presented a high energy program performed entirely from memory. The success of the recent deployment to the MEAO, also sponsored by FACE, should not be understated. The 19 strong RAN Band contingent comprising members from the Sydney and Melbourne detachments, Defence Force School of Music and my Headquarters, completed 25 performances over a 16 day period in eight separate locations moving more than three and a half tonnes of equipment. This was in addition to the four days of in theatre military training. There were twelve major concerts (where civilian artists joined the band) with performance times ranging from one and a half to three hours. The entire program was performed from memory with a high level of chorography. An additional three and a half hours were required for the set up and pack down. The band gave a truly magnificent contribution to our Australian and Coalition Forces during the important holiday season. We learned a great deal, from an organisational and individual level, from the operational experience and by using all of the additional equipment that was purchased specifically for the deployment. Of the 98 current serving personnel we now have 33 entitled to wear the Australian Active Service Medal; eight of whom are also entitled to wear the campaign medal. Furthermore, a high percentage of our people have now served at sea and we continue to provide a very impressive output for Navy. For all who have been working at the forefront of our activities and for those working in support of those activities, I extend a hearty thanks and well done. TOUR DE FORCE A Musical Spectacular from the Land Down Under Article by Lieutenant Michelle Coleman, RAN After the build up of Force Preparation training, Steyr training and range practice, along with the music rehearsals, it was finally time to depart for our deployment to the Middle East. The 19 members of the Royal Australian Navy Band that were selected for this tour joined with a mixture of feelings, however the overriding one was of an excited anticipation. The flight to the Middle East, whilst long, was relatively comfortable. Food was plentiful and the troops enjoyed the attention of the flight attendants. None of the civilian artists were with us at this point, so we had a bit more of a chance over the first week to get ourselves a little more organised and rehearsed. The first few days were taken up with more training and acclimatisation. Luckily the temperature during the day was lovely, but there was a noticeable difference as soon as the sun set. Even within the first week, nights and early mornings became noticeably colder as the area headed into the coldest months of the year. Dotted in between the training, all of the groups were able to rehearse. The loss of conditioning even after such a small break was apparent to us all. The last day of training involved a four hour shoot at one of the local ranges which was a great experience. The bandies got some great results from the bulk shoot, although we did have the assistance of some infantry soldiers that were also training with us. Although a wonderful experience it was also a very tiring one. Not too long after the last lecture it was time for the first gig. The jazz group performed for an evening BBQ within the Australian camp in Kuwait, which went down really well. After eating American ‘chow hall’ food for four days, it was great to have a barbeque and with ‘Near Beer’ (non-alcoholic beer) included, the setting was complete. The next day, Sunday, ten members of the contingent participated in three church services taking place in the camp’s chapel. The brass quintet and choir performed for a Protestant, Contemporary Christian and Catholic service, which, by their very nature, were extremely varied. Mixed in with this was a one hour carols sing-along. The audiences were quite small; but extremely appreciative. It was a very long day, and we all felt it, both mentally and physically by the end of the evening. Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

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