Toowoomba musician Dan McIlvride can say he has travelled the world to entertain Australian troops after deploying to the Middle East as a part of a Forces Entertainment tour in March.
The 29-year-old is usually a trombone player with the Royal Australian Navy Band in Melbourne but was supporting the tour as a sound technician for comedians Mick Molloy, Lehmo and Melbourne rock band 28 Days.
“It’s been a pretty special trip for me as it’s my first deployment, so close to the Centenary of Anzac - It doesn’t get much better than that,” he said.
“The entertainers have been great to work with and everyone’s loved the shows.”
Now known as Able Seaman Musician McIlvride, he went to school at Harristown State High School before studying music at the University of Southern Queensland, graduating with a Bachelor of Music.
He grew up playing with the Toowoomba Municipal Brass Band and taught at Concordia Lutheran College before moving to Melbourne to try his hand as a full-time musician.
When he arrived in Melbourne he continued his studies at Monash University where he completed honours as a jazz player and studied with Jordan Murray.
It was in Melbourne that he discovered the Navy Band and then auditioned and scored the gig as a full-time musician in 2014. He is now based at HMAS Cerberus.
“It’s a fantastic job, I get to play every day,” he said.
“I’m playing with a great band, a great bunch of people and doing great gigs all the time.”
This tour is his first deployment and he says it’s been a rewarding experience seeing how the Australian Defence Force operates in dangerous conditions especially being so close to the Centenary of Anzac.
“I’ve been able to see the way of life of other cultures that I would never have been able to experience otherwise,” he said.
“I’ve also been able to see the diggers over here slogging it out. They are definitely doing dangerous work.
“I’ve been fortunate to meet people over here that I haven’t seen for a long time that have told me what they’re doing as part of the Afghanistan Resolute Support mission.”
Australian personnel are deployed in Afghanistan as part of Operation HIGHROAD to provide protection and security to Australian and coalition mentors and advisers supporting the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.
There are about 400 Australian Defence Force personnel deployed across Afghanistan in a variety of roles for Operation HIGHROAD as well as maritime assets for Operation MANITOU combating terrorism and piracy and promoting regional cooperation and safety.