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A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

- 174 – “I really

- 174 – “I really enjoyed San Francisco in particular the Jazz Clubs and celebrating two birthdays during the port visit. Sitting in with an ‘old time’ dance band playing at the Legions club in Esquimalt (Canada) was a blast! I am looking forward to being warmer in San Diego and getting home to see my girl.” “The highlight of the HMAS Sydney trip for me was the opportunity to play with the Canadian band on Remembrance Day. It was a great opportunity to see how other bands work around the world and actually how many similarities there were between the two Bands. It was also good to experience the Remembrance Day ceremony as this is very similar to our ANZAC day. The Canadians were very welcoming of the Australian Sailors and the contribution from the ship and the Band helped add to the occasion.” Petty Officer Kara Williams My own unique experiences have been too numerous to mention in detail without attaching a novel of epic proportion (the unabridged diary of this deployment is available on request!) The incredible seafood, sailing in bays surrounded by snow covered mountains grasping at the shore, walking in the parks in Vancouver among amber and ruby festooned foliage, finding a shop in San Francisco called “Kara’s Cupcakes” and riding trolley cars up and down impossibly steep hills, picking up a bargain or seven, standing only metres away from a wild deer on a Naval base, meeting a real Canadian Lumberjack and seeing real Canadian Mounties, walking along one of the highest suspension bridges of its kind in the world in the rain, watching the last globe of the sun dip beneath the edge of the sea filled horizon, being up close and personal with beluga whales and giant sea otters, seeing actual American police in a coffee and doughnut shop and experiencing cultures both very close and at the same time completely alien to our own. I would have to pick, at this point, being invited to participate in Canada’s Remembrance Day on the 11 th of November in Victoria by the Canadian Forces (Naden) Band being the most enjoyable so far. The hospitality and genuine warmth afforded us by both the Officer in Command Lieutenant Byrne and his Band was overwhelming. I was almost embarrassed by the generosity of spirit afforded by the CF(N) Band and the Canadians in general toward their Australian compatriots- and it was made just impossible for us to buy our own drinks! I would hope that one day we can repay their generosity; and some! It was somewhat bizarre though; that at the opposite end of the globe there is a group of musicians an almost carbon copy of ourselves. Like catching up with a close family member or old friend you haven’t seen for ages, our embarked musicians and the CF(N) Band seemed to share an undefined kindred spirit which invited a feeling of being ‘home’ thousands of miles from home. For us right now, it is back to doing laps of Nanoose Bay for more trials and thinking up adventures for our next port visits. As this article is due before this deployment has ceased, this is where the tales of 10 musicians must end. I am sure that those of San Diego, Hawaii (visit number two) crossing the line, the entry back into Sydney and many other more colourful details will be told in a detachment near you soon enough……. HMAS ADELAIDE DEPLOYMENT Article by Petty Officer Daniel Hobson Early 2008 will see the decommissioning of the first ADELAIDE Class FFG, HMAS Adelaide. To assist with her final overseas deployment, six musicians from the Sydney detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band were embarked. The Ships mission was to participate in Exercise Malabar and visit ports in India, Thailand and Singapore. The group consisted of a small jazz ensemble, and drum and bugle corps to enhance the high profile Ceremonial Sunset and Cocktail Parties to be hosted onboard during our port visits in India. The first five members of the group joined the ship on the 18 th August and had a week to adjust to the routines of ship life. This week was spent in the Western Australian Exercise Area (WAXA) assisting in training for the submarine squadron. This was a harsh introduction as the WAXA put on its typical rough weather to welcome us. Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

- 175 – On 26 August our final member Able Seaman Shvetsov arrived and on Monday 26 we set sail. This was to be a long period at sea as we were headed for the Indian Exercise area for the Malabar Exercises with the Indian and United States Navies. During this time the musicians performed during a number of Replenishment at Sea (RAS) manoeuvres with the oiler HMAS Sirius and INS ADITYA. This period also gave us a chance to ensure the jazz ensemble, and drum and bugle corps were up to standard for the upcoming cocktail parties. During Exercise Malabar, the ship maintained defence watches and the musicians added a large amount of Damage Control training to our normal routines. This culminated in a toxic hazard exercise with musicians fulfilling all roles at the scene. A notable event of Exercise Malabar was the ditching of an Indian Sea Harrier whilst we were at action stations; but the highlight of the exercise was the day of the combined Task Force photo opportunity. This saw all ships of the participating Indian, Singaporean, Australian and United States Navies in close proximity for photo shoots. This included a Los Angeles Class Submarine and three aircraft Carriers, USS KITTYHAWK, USS CONSTELATION and INS VIRAAT. As our first port drew nearer the guard and the musicians started to rehearse together and all of the ship’s company were looking forward to the first port after 18 days at sea. Visakhapatnam, or Vizag, is a small city by Indian standards; but it is a major port and home to India’s Eastern Fleet. An Indian Naval band was on the wharf to welcome us along side and preparations begun for the cocktail party and sunset. The cocktail party and Ceremonial Sunset went well with guests from the Indian Navy and their partners introducing us to the traditional colourful saris of India. Our time in Vizag was a real eye opener. For most of us it was our first trip to India and the sights and sounds were at times overpowering. The ship’s next port visit was Chennai. This is a major city in southern India formally know as Madras. Once again our first duty was to provide support to the cocktail party. Guests for this event included many city officials who were eager not to stay too late as the Indian team was involved in a 20/20 Cricket match that evening. Our visit to Chennai saw the introduction of force protection which involved many of the ships company, including the musicians, tasked with upper deck sentry and entry control point duty. During our stay in Chennai the musicians and members of ship’s company visited the MITHRA centre for Disadvantaged and Disabled children. This centre was run by a Nun originally from Brisbane who appreciated the supplies of peanut butter and vegemite the ship provided. The visit to the MITHRA centre concluded with a concert with performances from the children as well as our jazz ensemble and Beat to Quarters routine. Once the ship left India the official duties had concluded and the more enjoyable ports of Phuket and Singapore awaited us on our way home. This route took us through the Malacca Straits, the busiest in the world. It was quite a sight as the ship made its way at great speed through the straits passing all manner of ships large and small. The Malacca Straits are known to be very dangerous due to the large amount of piracy in the area, this provided a spectacle of fire hoses and search lights throughout the night provided by the ships in the area. Our duties on the return consisted of after dinner jazz and barbeque music on the flight deck, but one important task remained on the way back to Fleet Base East after our departure from Singapore. That is the Crossing of the Line Ceremony to pay homage to King Neptune and his court. Of the musicians Able Seaman Grindley and Able Seaman Zyla were summoned and after the two played for the arrival of the court, payed their respects and completed this rite of passage. Upon our return to Fleet Base West on 10 October, the jazz ensemble once again played for procedure Alpha and our seven week trip was over. STORIES FROM THE SOLOMON ISLANDS Article by Able Seaman Sonya Henderson Hallo Fren, Mi fala tell yu sumting gut tru about owa trip…. Fronds and leaves from the jungle trees brush past as we hurdle along the muddy track through the jungle land of Honiara, Solomon Islands.... Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

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