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16 WORLD NEWS
Army February 4, 2010
By Lt Madeline Denholm
FROM rock concerts to Carols by
Candlelight, jazz sessions to trivia nights,
1RAR Band have wrapped up a whirlwind
three-week tour of the MEAO.
The 15 members, who included musicians
from the rock band and the front-line -- or
horn section -- and the technical support crew,
arrived in the MEAO in mid-December last
year and performed for Australian and ISAF
forces in several locations across Afghanistan
and the Middle East.
Musical Director Maj Dan Hiscock said
almost six months of planning went into the
"We've been working on programs, arrang-
ing charts, coming up with not only the con-
certs, but also music trivia, karaoke and all the
different contingencies that we might be faced
with over here," Maj Hiscock said.
"We knew roughly where we were going
and what was going to be required in each
location, but when you're around the other side
of the world, you have to be pretty flexible."
The immediate challenge once they arrived
was an environment very different from their
home base of Townsville.
"Kabul, which was our first stop, was bit-
terly cold and we struggled with that," Maj
"Instruments aren't designed to be played
in zero or sub-zero temperatures, so that took
an adjustment period, but it worked out okay."
The next stop was Camp Holland at Tarin
Kowt, where the band hosted a Carols by
Candlelight concert on Christmas Eve, played
at Christmas church services, and then per-
formed a rock concert that afternoon.
They also performed concerts for other
ISAF forces at Tarin Kowt before travelling
to Kandahar for a series of New Year concerts
and other musical events as part of their tour
for Operation Slipper.
Former commander of the MEAO Maj-Gen
Mark Kelly said the tour had been a great suc-
cess. "It was appreciated by all JTF 633 per-
sonnel who were able to see them perform, as
well as many of our coalition partners."
Maj Hiscock said it had been several years
since any service band had deployed overseas
under its own strength as an independent act
without the assistance of celebrities through
Forces Entertainment tours.
"As musicians, our primary role is the
maintenance of morale in barracks and on
operations. We don't get many opportunities to
deploy, but when we do, it's something we all
look forward to," he said.
"It was particularly good this time because
we got to support our own troops, like 1RAR,
at a time of year when we can make a tangible
difference because they're all missing home,
and, at Christmas, I don't think there's a better
time to have music support than when you're
on deployment overseas."
AUSTRALIAN and New Zealand military personnel
serving in East Timor took time out before Christmas
to enjoy performances by leading entertainers.
John Schumann and his band, the Vagabond Crew,
comedian Gary Bradbury and singer Chantelle Delaney
performed a series of concerts at military bases in East
Timor as part of the 17th Tour de Force.
The concerts follow the tradition established almost
10 years ago when leading Australian performers enter-
tained more than 4000 troops from countries serving in
the International Force for East Timor.
Commander Australian and New Zealand personnel
deployed in East Timor, Cmdr Stuart Mayer, thanked the
Tour de Force for bringing world-class entertainment
and a taste of home to the troops.
"Again we have seen a great response from the
Australian entertainment industry and we are grateful to
the entertainers who have come here to perform," Cmdr
Pte Joseph Nolen summed up the sentiments of the
troops, saying he enjoyed the concert, but noted that his
loved ones were not far from his mind.
"I miss my family heaps," he said. "I hope they have
a great Christmas and are happy to know I will be home
Band strikes MEAO
tour in Timor
On song: John Schumann and the Vagabond
Crew perform at the FOB in Gleno, East Timor.
Photo by AB Jo Dilorenzo
Blame it on the boogey: Musicians from 1RAR Band perform a Michael Jackson medley. Front row left to right: Cpl Sheree Klopp,
Musn Paul Hadley, LCpl Arthur Florence, Maj Dan Hiscock, Musn Ben Bonney, Sgt Phil Johansen. Back row: Musn Angie Currington
Sgt Mick Lee, Cpl Marcus McCray, Musn Grant Thomas and Musn Barney Briggs.
Photos by WO2 Mark Dowling
In the swing: The 1RAR band goes wild.
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