The Melbourne Detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band celebrated the Navy Band’s 101st Birthday in true festive style, hosting two Soundwaves Concerts that included iconic music, cake and most importantly, guest appearances by twenty ex-serving musicians from the Royal Australian Navy Band Association.
Inviting ex-serving musicians to join the Band on stage for the finale was born through conversations between regular concertgoers and the Officer in Charge of the Band, Lieutenant Cassandra Mohapp.
The combined Band performed the classics Heart of Oak and A Life on the Ocean Wave followed by Able Seaman Greg Smith’s arrangement of I Am Australian/Waltzing Matilda to finish the concert in style.
Lieutenant Mohapp said she was delighted to have so many ex-members of the Band join them on stage.
“It was a great experience for all to perform together on such a significant occasion.
“We intend making this an annual event as it is important to acknowledge our past as we forge ahead with our future,” Lieutenant Mohapp said.
Len Nurse and his wife have been attending Soundwaves Concerts for many years. Mr Nurse, a member of the Association, was very pleased to be able to take part in the historic occasion.
“It was great to bridge the gap between past and current serving members,” Mr Nurse said.
Lieutenant Mohapp echoed Mr Nurse’s sentiments.
“It was nice to bring the Navy Band Family back together."
A barbeque was held between the Matinee and Evening Concerts providing the opportunity for everyone to mingle and reminisce. In the finest traditions of all sailors, ex-musicians shared great yarns of ‘the good old days’ serving in the Royal Australian Navy Band.
Barry Pollock, who joined the Navy Band in 1953 and discharged in 1961, acknowledged the progress the Band has made over the last 60 years.
“I didn’t play for 38 years before joining the Navy Band Association. The music played is quite different now,” Mr Pollock said.
Ex-Warrant Officer of the Band, Rod Cochrane-Lane was also in attendance.
“The Band has a different sound now. Smoother but still a similar style of music", he said.
At the completion of each concert a cake was enjoyed by all in attendance, allowing performers and audience to mingle, tell a tale and ponder the future. One thing was clear; the concert was a great success in bridging the gap between past and present with everyone looking forward to future performances.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20141897.