Invictus opening accompanied by the best of ADF music

Published on LEUT David Coit (author), Department of Defence (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney Opera House, NSW

Topic(s): Royal Australian Navy Band, Invictus Games

LCDR Steven Stanke (seated, centre) may have operated in the shadow of Prince Harry, but he played an important role in the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Opening Ceremony. (photo: Department of Defence)
LCDR Steven Stanke (seated, centre) may have operated in the shadow of Prince Harry, but he played an important role in the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Opening Ceremony.

The Royal Australian Navy Band has played a significant role in the opening ceremony of the fourth Invictus Games. On a rainy October night, the clouds parted long enough for the ceremony, held at the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House.

Televised to Commonwealth nations, the international adaptive multi-sports event’s opening ceremony was attended by competitors, volunteers, veterans and royalty. In the background, but central to the ceremony, was a tri-service band directed by Director of Music – Navy and Music Director for the Opening Ceremony of the Invictus Games, Lieutenant Commander Steven Stanke.

Attendees at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Opening Ceremony included competitors, volunteers, veterans and royalty.

Attendees at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Opening Ceremony included competitors, volunteers, veterans and royalty.

As an integral voice in planning meetings, LCDR Stanke was embedded in the development process from the beginning. Planning for the event was meticulous and continual for the three month period preceding the ceremony.

In addition to musically conducting the ceremony, he was responsible for arranging the majority of music played by the military ensemble for the ceremony, the Australian Military Wives’ Choir and accompanying main artists Ian Moss, Kate Ceberano, Lee Kernaghan and Laura Wright.

LCDR Stanke’s contribution helped shaped the ceremony. It was a credit to his arranging skills and helped showcase the Australian Military Wives’ Choir and the tri-service ADF band playing on the night.  

CAPT Charlie Stephenson, Director General Navy Communication and Coordination said “LCDR Stanke made an outstanding contribution to this event.” 

“The opening ceremony was very successful, setting the scene for a very important event for the ADF and all those who serve and have served.”

Another arranger for the ceremony, Petty Officer Musician Martyn Hancock said “It was an interesting and challenging task requiring logistical as well as musical considerations.”

Both arrangers commented on the requirement to remain flexible and adapt their arrangements at short notice accordingly due to the scale and fluent nature of a major event such as this. 

“It was a fantastic feeling hearing your own product performed live and even better when it’s broadcast on television across the globe,” PO Hancock said.