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A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

- 200 – Due to the

- 200 – Due to the increased security state at different times throughout this passage, all of the musicians were utilised for the Ship’s Defence Team. This involved being the first physical response to any unwanted guests at sea and whilst coming alongside in ports such as Cochin. Although the duty was in two watches, the musicians still participated in a variety of performances which really solidified our ‘can do’ reputation. Some of these performances included; assembling the drum and bugle corps on 02 deck to farewell ships from the Indian Navy participating in operations, a small brass group for a church service at sea, rock group for a RAS with USNS Lewis & Clark and the Cape Spada commemorative service. This service had special significance as it occurred at the very location where the Italian Cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni and HMAS Sydney II went into battle on 19 July 1940. The lack of sleep and rehearsal time during this eight day marathon was off-set by a well deserved two day tour of Egypt organised by the ship to experience the Pyramids, Sphinx, Egyptian Museum and many other tourist attractions. Six out of the eight musicians were able to participate, with the remaining personnel experiencing the transit through the Suez Canal. There were as many highlights from the trip as there were photos taken, with Able Seaman McMahon taking out the award for most images taken in a 24 hour period, closely followed by Able Seaman Ward. On completion of the Canal transit, the routine eased off enough for us to put in some very productive days of rehearsals. A few other non musical opportunities were thrown in for good measure including a supervised shot gun shoot that Able Seaman Izumi and Able Seaman McMahon were able to attend and also a 9mm pistol shoot. As a result of the solid rehearsal time and the addition of Able Seaman Summer’s vocal talents in jazz group, the Cocktail Party and Ceremonial Sunset in Toulon were a resounding success with very favourable comments from all who attended. Special thanks must go to Able Seaman Mildren who put in a great deal of effort on the night, enhancing both the drum corps and jazz groups musical product. Able Seaman Hansch also deserves a huge debt of gratitude for working tirelessly in obtaining high profile performances to enhance the ship’s (and musicians) positive profile throughout the entire trip. All the long days and nights at sea seemed to be rewarded over the following days, with all but two personnel being able to leave the ship for the full port visit around the south of France. The remaining two members had a 24 hour duty on the front gate, however on completion were free to explore cities such as Nice, Monaco, Marseilles and Toulon where the ship was docked. As I am writing this article, we are making our way to Spain for a four day visit of Ferrol, where the Royal Australian Navy’s new Air Warfare Destroyers and Landing Helo Dock are being made. For the musicians, it involves participation in another Cocktail Party and Ceremonial Sunset and localised performances to represent HMAS Sydney and the Royal Australian Navy Band. We will all be thinking of our land based bands-people as we are munching on Paellas and soaking up the sun in Spain. LONGLOOK 2009 Article by Lieutenant Matt Klohs, RAN In late March, Leading Seaman Esa Douglas and I departed Sydney for the United Kingdom to participate in the Longlook Exchange Program for 2009. As part of a 98-member Tri- Service contingent, we flew to London Heathrow via Singapore and then proceeded to the HQ of the Royal Marines Band Service in Portsmouth. On arrival to the UK, the weather was suitably raining, freezing cold and generally quite miserable: typical of England in March. On arrival at HMS NELSON in Portsmouth, we were greeted by Major Tony Smallwood RM, himself a veteran of two Longlook Exchanges to Australia, and who was to be our host officer for the duration. Once Leading Seaman Douglas had been assigned to the Portsmouth Band and settled in her accommodation, Major Smallwood informed me that I was to be put in charge of the RM Band at Lympstone for the four months. He also told me that it was the first time in their history that a foreign national had been appointed as a Director of Music of one of a Royal Marine Band. Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

- 201 – After spending the weekend recovering from jetlag and getting used to the cold weather, Major Smallwood and I headed down the M27 to the “west country” to the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, near Exeter in Devon, to introduce me to my Band. The following day was one full of wonderful moments, including meeting my Musicians and Buglers (especially the golfers!), being introduced to the Brigadier and finding the Officer’s Mess Bar. The highlight of the day was when Major Smallwood showed me the corridor of the Band room where the portraits of former Director’s of Music CTCRM Band are proudly displayed. I was told that my portrait was to be placed directly opposite the portrait of Major Ricketts RM (aka Kenneth Alford) who was the Director in the 30’s and 40’s. I was to be among prestigious company indeed! Leading Seaman Douglas was straight into the thick of things over in Portsmouth with an Orchestra Concert performed in St Mary’s Cathedral in Portsmouth. It is indeed a rarity for our musicians to have the opportunity to perform at work with strings, so the concert was the first of many great experiences she would have during the exchange. We both travelled down to the Britannia Royal Naval College to parade for the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band (a four-star Admiral!) and my memory of my first parade in charge was that we both froze for just under two hours in the wind and drizzle. The first few weeks for both of us were a time of watching, learning and just getting used to everything, and before we knew it, the Band Service went on leave and we were left to our own devices for two weeks. We decided to travel through Wales for the first week, which was simply beautiful, although still cold and rainy. Highlights included a visit to Tintern Abbey just outside Cardiff, Lake Vyrnwy in the mountains (stunning!) and me almost driving the wrong way around a roundabout: a near-death experience for us both. We then caught the Eurostar (very fast train – almost 300km/hr) to Paris. I had high expectations of Paris, having been told by friends that it is a great city in which to visit famous buildings, dine on wonderful food and wine, or just simply sit at any one of thousands of small cafes and watch the world walk by. We did all of these things, and Paris lived up to expectations completely. We found the people friendly, our wafer-thin knowledge of the French language sufficient, and had a fantastic few days. Anzac Day commemorations saw us return to London, and gave a wonderful opportunity to openly display our Australian heritage in Hyde Park at the Dawn Service. There is something unique and special about being an Australian Serviceman when you are overseas at an Anzac Day Dawn Service. Later that morning we were both involved in the security team for the Westminster Abbey Anzac Service where we greeted and helped organise thousands of British citizens and Australian Expatriates prior to their entry to the Abbey. On completion of the Service, the usual Anzac customs were observed with plenty of good cheer and “Aussieness” in abundance at an Australian pub on the Thames. Returning to work for us both saw Leading Seaman Douglas join me down at Lympstone for the last of the Winter Series of Concerts at Exmouth, not far from Lympstone. The venue is an old theatre and Leading Seaman Douglas performed an Oboe solo receiving loud and lengthy applause from audience members and other musicians alike. Fortnightly parades and the occasional Concert were the rule of thumb for the next few weeks until we were tasked to travel to Scotland from our respective Bands to work with Captain Jon Ridley and his musicians for ten days at HMS CALEDONIA near Edinburgh. The whole experience of travelling in and around Scotland is superb. Hairy cows, golf, the highlands and lots of haggis and whisky were the highlights, with a concert performance in Glasgow at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Hall being a brilliant night for musicians and audience alike. As guests at both the Trooping of the Colour and Beating the Retreat at Horse Guards Parade in London, we were treated to some of that famous British Military spectacle for which they are world-renowned. Beating the Retreat involves about 250 RM Musicians and Buglers, and featured some incredible Drum work from the Buglers. The marching display was imaginative and complex, having been designed by the Corps Drum Major. Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

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