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A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

- 168 – On a larger

- 168 – On a larger scale, we conducted a Benchmark Flagship Recital in Sydney, performed live-toair to a national audience for the ABC Classic FM Breakfast Show, and recorded a collection of marches and overtures that will shortly be placed on the band’s website. We commenced a project to record our chamber ensembles and a collection of audio stories about our people, and our drums have now been refurbished with the inclusion of our Battle Honours and Roll of Remembrance. Our reserve musicians now routinely integrate with our permanent musicians in major tasks. The Reserve Detachments maintain a small but very effective level of capability and are highly regarded. This capability adds a significant degree of flexibility enabling the band to meet a broad range of tasks right across the country. The level of confidence that I have in these small but highly effective detachments will be demonstrated next year with tasks in support of Operations Astute and Anode: I intend, subject to Individual Readiness requirements being met, to select Naval Reserve musicians to form the main component to the band’s commitment to FACE sponsored music tours in support of each of these operations. We regularly continue to bring volumes of good news stories to Navy and our people are without doubt very positive ambassadors for Navy. However, we face new challenges ahead; particularly with regards to the tightening financial climate and our ability to fund all of the things that we would like to achieve. I see this as our biggest challenge in the years to come: we will need to find more cost effective ways in which to deliver our message to the people of Australia and, at the same time, keep ourselves motivated. Sadly, as the year drew to a close we learned of the passing of one of our former colleagues. Petty Officer Kirsty Jones served in the band for seven years prior to posting to Maritime Headquarters and then to the Leadership and Management School. In January this year, after a period of prolonged illness, she was discharged from Navy. For all those who knew her and followed her struggle with cancer, Kirsty will be remembered as an exceptional sailor: she was, and remains, inspirational. Kirsty was held in very high regard for her contribution to Navy and was awarded a Maritime Commander Commendation for her efforts. Her funeral, last Friday, was attended by more than 500 mourners: a testament in itself to the high esteem for which she was regarded. I intend, subject to the family’s agreement, to introduce a perpetual shield to be awarded to the musician sailor who demonstrates the qualities for which she was known and will always be remembered. Reflecting over the past six months, I am very proud of the way in which all of our musicians have performed their duties. Thank you for the contribution that each of you make towards ensuring that the Navy Band is regarded as ‘one of Australia’s premier military ensemble’. Enjoy the Christmas period with your families and travel safely wherever your journey takes you throughout this festive season. HMAS PARRAMATTA DEPLOYMENT Article by Petty Officer Natalea Erskine Members from the Melbourne detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band flew to Sydney on Monday 13 August 2007, where they assisted the Sydney detachment with a live broadcast at the ABC studios. Between rehearsals for this event a small ten-piece group began compiling a long list of music for the various ensembles. This included the ceremonial component, jazz ensemble and rock group to enable entertainment on all levels for the South East Asia deployment aboard HMAS Parramatta. The group consisted of Petty Officer Natalea Erskine, Leading Seaman Rob Flynn, Able Seaman Belinda Knowles, Able Seaman Belinda Marks, Able Seaman Angus Donald, Able Seaman Cameron McAllister, Able Seaman Bruce McIntyre, Able Seaman Melanie Wilkinson, Able Seaman Mark Shearn, and Able Seaman Steve Tabe. We joined Parramatta on Monday 20 August 2007 where the first challenge was storing equipment on board the ship. With a little confusion this was soon sorted and the music equipment was stowed on the Mezzanine Deck in the hanger. Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

- 169 – The first official function for the musicians was the Family Day Cruise. The families embarked HMAS Parramatta at 0800 hours where they were welcomed by the sounds of a selection of military marches performed by the modest parade band. Once underway the families were entertained with some light jazz including Herbie Hancock and Santana tunes. As we sailed out through Sydney Heads, the swell picked up and with lunch approaching some of our musicians assisted in the café and scullery to enable smooth messing for all concerned. With only a few civilians succumbing to sea sickness, overall the day was a huge success. On Monday 27 August 2007, HMAS Parramatta sailed out from Sydney’s Fleet Base East proudly displaying the crew in procedure Alpha including the parade band positioned on the flight deck performing as the ship left harbour and sailed out through Sydney’s Heads. Sadly due to uncontrollable circumstances the embarked group was reduced to nine members, adding a new hurdle of covering for the shortfall of losing one of its members. Due to persistence, enthusiasm and professionalism of the entire group, the loss of one member was soon rectified with a small shuffle of instrumentation and personnel. On Thursday 6 September 2007 HMAS Parramatta sailed into Singapore Harbour in Procedure Alpha, the parade band positioned on the flight deck performing marches such as Royal Australian Navy, Waltzing Matilda and Aussie Salute. Chief Petty Officer Marine Technician Aaron Beinke from the Royal Australian Navy Liaison Office (RANLO) was waiting on the wharf to assist with organising performance contacts and transport for our group and band equipment. There were a number of performances during the visit to Singapore; one of these included the Commanding Officer’s luncheon where a jazz trio performed for the distinguished guests prior to lunch in the Commanding Officer’s cabin. Guests included Russell Pendergrass NRS USN, Commander Jon Finderup (RNZN, NZDSU) and members from RNLO. The Australian International School was a fantastic place to perform; all of the musicians enjoyed this event. The children were aged from kindergarten through to grade four. We performed two concerts of 20 minutes each, with a Ceremonial Drum Ruffle and a number of marches. The children had plenty of questions including, ‘Why is a trumpet so loud?’- Difficult to answer. Karen Manskey the Music Assistant at the Australian International School Singapore provided the band with a light morning tea and an in depth tour of the school. Late Saturday afternoon on 8 September we performed at the Terror Club in Singapore with two sets of jazz group, featuring solo’s on trumpet by Able Seaman McAllister and vocal features by Able Seaman Belinda Marks. This was followed by some Aussie and American rock charts to liven up the atmosphere at the Terror Club. It was a great evening and the food was excellent. On Tuesday 18 September, HMAS Parramatta arrived at the buoy in the Hong Kong Harbour; the city lights gave an impressive backdrop for HMAS Parramatta. Our requirements were limited somewhat due to having to transport heavy equipment via liberty boats ashore. Events in Hong Kong included another Commanding Officer’s Luncheon. The jazz trio performed on the bridge prior to the luncheon hosted in the Commanding Officer’s cabin, distinguished guests included; Honourable Ambrose Lee, IDSM, Secretary for Security, Security Bureau, HKSAR Government; Major General Wang Yuren (accompanied by Major Xiang Jianghua), Deputy Force Commander, The People's Liberation Army Forces in Hong Kong; H.E. Mr Murray Cobban, Consul-General of Australia; and Mr Tony Nguyen, Director of Protocol, Government Secretariat (Protocol Division). That evening the Ceremonial Sunset and Cocktail Party was hosted on board HMAS Perth. Light Jazz music created a relaxed atmosphere so that all guests could enjoy the great food prepared by the cooks from HMAS Perth. At 1930 the preparations were made for the Ceremonial Sunset to begin. The nine embarked musicians marched out to drum and bugle sequences Cheltenham and Gamma. The drum corps Beat to Quarters and out marched the guard. The Ceremonial Sunset was complete with the Chinese National Anthem. A highlight for our time in Hong Kong was the Australian Film Festival Official Opening, held at the Hong Kong Arts Centre on Friday 21 September. The small jazz ensemble entertained the crowd who mingled prior to the showing of the movie Kenny. Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

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