Music and sport are well known for providing many benefits, including the ability to bring communities together.
That community spirit was on full display recently when the Ship’s Company of HMAS Choules participated in a sports day with 110 new recruits of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and their Australian Federal Police advisors in Honiara.
Both groups joined forces to form mixed teams for games of soccer, touch rugby and a 100 metre sprint challenge, making for a fun-filled morning of energetic competition.
Leading Seaman Physical Trainer Demi Maher-Smith said all who participated showed a great level of enthusiasm and enjoyed the competition.
“The sporting events today were played with great spirit with plenty of support from both sides,” she said.
“The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force share some comparable values with the Australian Defence Force such as professionalism, courage and teamwork.”
“Mixing the teams meant we were not concerned about scores, but just enjoyed the opportunity to learn about each other and build new friendships through a common interest in sport.”
While the sports day progressed, the Australian Army Band – Brisbane provided a series of concerts across Honiara, with musical performances at the Solomon Islands campus of the University of the South Pacific, the Honiara Correctional Facility and a concert for local school children.
With hundreds of happy onlookers and many smiling faces, the audiences appreciated the opportunity to take some time-out of their normal day to day life and enjoy the ensembles of soft rock, pop and jazz performances.
Band member and singer, Lance Corporal Fiona Watkins said the opportunity to perform for the people of Honiara was energising.
“The response from the local people to our performances has been very good,” Lance Corporal Watkins said.
“They have interacted with us and clapped along to the music, while the school children have danced along with some of the soldiers and sailors from the task group who also attended.”
“The opportunity to perform for the communities we visit is always uplifting for us as a band and a good way to meet the locals and to spread some happiness and joy.”
HMAS Choules is currently deployed as part of Joint Task Group 637, on a month-long activity of enhanced engagement throughout the South West Pacific.
The deployment is part of the Australian Government’s Step-Up program, providing a near continuous presence throughout the region and creating opportunities for interoperability and capacity building activities with our Pacific neighbours.