The Queensland Detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band from Navy Headquarters South Queensland (NHQ-SQ) travelled from Bulimba Barracks to Stanthorpe for a weekend of community engagement at the 2014 Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival. This festival has been held every two years for nearly half a century and the Queensland Detachment of the RAN Band has supported the last three festivals.
The Queensland Detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band, lead by Chief Petty Officer Camille Martin, headed the Grand Festival Parade this year. The band played marches to the delight of approximately 40,000 onlookers.
“The parade was an eclectic mix of colourful floats, street entertainers, costumes, vintage cars and bands. Combining this with the official mascots, ‘Johno the Apple’ and ‘Bella’, a giant purple bunch of grapes, produced a terrific recipe for fun,” CPO Martin said.
“The Festival itself is a great way for the Granite Belt region to showcase all the wonderful things the region has to offer, and it was terrific that the Navy Band could support the Festival on this occasion,” she said.
The Royal Australian Navy Band performed a small Beat to Quarters and Ceremonial Sunset outside the Stanthorpe Returned Services League club later that evening, to a smaller but very appreciative audience. Afterwards, the detachment’s Big Band performed a free concert inside the RSL.
All performances were well received; an encore was called for at the end of the Big Band performance and several requests were made for the band to consider returning in two years time for the next festival.
Leading Seaman Musician Michael O’Loughlin said taking part in the festival was ‘great fun’.
“Great fun, great community spirit, and we were treated to great hospitality. We were well received everywhere we went, and it was an opportunity for Navy to put its best foot forward to support the country community,” she said.
Able Seaman Musician Christopher Ward agreed that the festival was a great experience.
“The Stanthorpe Festival is a great opportunity for the Queensland Detachment to showcase both ceremonial and popular music to an appreciative audience in regional Queensland,” he said.