Home General The Australian Army Band. Thursday January 30th, 2020

The Australian Army Band. Thursday January 30th, 2020

Tonight’s band was difficult to see. After all, they were all in camouflage kit!!  😊

However, with 5 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 saxophones, piano, guitar, bass, drums, and the occasional vocalist, these 20 musicians were certainly not difficult to hear!!

And they were oh, so easy to listen to!!

Led by Music Director, Officer Commanding and occasional Sax-playing band member, Major Rachel Beeton, the Australian Army Band Brisbane completely filled our riverside stage, and entertained us with their glorious Big Band sound. A class act.               

Across two sets, they presented an exciting variety of tunes and styles.

Among the evening’s many highlights were Musician Grant Thomasbass solo on ‘Bug Catcher’, Musician Jonathon Connells drum solo on the Buddy Rich-inspired ‘Love For Sale’, Musician Luke Greenhalgh’s angelic guitar solo on a soul-stirring, non-traditional arrangement of the hymn, ‘Nimrod’, and a beautiful original piece, ‘Across The Wide Bay’, composed by Alto Sax-player, Musician Dan Ford.

Vocalist Corporal Fiona Wilkins stepped up to help the band on several more memorable highlights, including the Duke Ellington classic, ‘Take The A Train’  and a beautiful, Katie Noonan arrangement of John Lennon’s, ‘In My Life’.

Fiona also teamed up with Musician Luke Greenhalgh on guitar, to reprise a popular, Reggae-flavoured Fijian song, that they had recently performed at a Bushfire Relief Concert in Fiji.

Oh, they are a very talented crew, this Australian Army Band Brisbane.

Formed in 1949, they are one of 11 individual Australian Army Bands, of which, five are full-time and six are part-time; located in the capital cities and several regional centres.

And becoming a Musician in the Australian Army Band is no easy task. It involves a very high-standard audition, in addition to the fitness and military training that all recruits must go through.

Their mission is to ‘…enhance the public image of the Army through community engagement, and to maintain morale and Esprit de Corps by providing musical support and entertainment to Army activities…’

And they were a complete success in that endeavour tonight.

Not only did they make a lot of friends and fans here at the Brisbane Jazz Club, but this performance was in support of Rural Aid’s Gift of Music Program, which provides instruments for kids doing it tough.

So now, knowing that these soldiers’ defence capabilities are as good as their musical chops, we can all be assured that Australia is in good hands!!

Thank you. Every one of you.

And we hope to entice you back to do it all again, at our Big Band Festival in May.


Alan Smith

Brisbane Jazz Club