Royal Military College Band
20 October 2018 7.45pm
THE RMC BAND STRIKES AGAIN WITH GREAT PANACHE.
Last Saturday evening Yass Music Club presented the last in its series of concerts for 2018. The Royal Military College Duntroon brought over its newly formed Show Band to wow our enthusiastic audience with a variety of items ranging from the year 1928 (Makin’ Whoopee) to 2011 (Love on Top). The band consists of mostly of a brass rhythm section with the addition of a keyboard, base, guitar and drums. Two female vocalists completed the ensemble – 10 in all. They were led by Band Master Warrant Officer Class 1 Gary Caira and looked magnificent in their formal Concert Dress next to their impressive black and gold music stands, many holding positively gleaming instruments.
All evening we were swinging, tapping and swaying to the exhilarating sounds. The first set of 10 pieces were largely from the years of big bands and swing (30s and 40s) including a haunting medley of ‘You’ll never know How Much I love You and Kiss me Once’, sung by the smooth singing, aptly named, Corporal Melody Nielsen.Several jazz standards with a Count Basie flavour were included in the mix – Corner Pocket (1945) and Moten Swing with its featured piano solo which was played by Count Basie himself on the first recording in 1955.
My favourite for the evening was ‘Makin’ Whoopee’ with its slow, almost lazy, sensual arrangement with the moaning trombone.There was a distinctive and tricky saxophone interlude towards the end of this piece. ‘Come Fly with me’ was a riotous journey and had everyone up in their seat and toe-tapping. Rachel sang the beautiful ballad ‘I’m in the Mood for Love’ ((1935), followed by ‘Sentimental Journey’ (1945) -a satisfying end to the first half of the concert.
Supper was, as usual a sumptuous affair, prepared by ‘Thyme to Taste’ and gave the audience and some of the Band time to meet and mingle which they did with gusto.
The second set began with ‘Mr Toad’s Wild Ride (1991); a wild, noisy, jumping piece which, was I suspect, reflectiveof that wonderful incident in ‘Wind in the willows’, with the wonderful tenor saxophone adding to the mayhem. The guitarist gave riveting solos in ‘Corner pocket’, ‘Moten Swing’ and the strangely named ’25 or 6 to 4’. All the musicians were absolutely in command of their instruments and obviously enjoyed themselves which complemented audience satisfaction and enjoyment.
This set of 10 items was of generally more modern music than the first, although a 1939 heartfelt song about poor black folk ‘God Bless the Child’ was included. And the moment second vocalist Musician Rachel Shead started to sing I was immediately reminded of Billie Holliday. The song was in fact written and sung in 1939 by Billie Holliday. Rachel sang right through the second set, occasionally joined by Melody. Many of the songs been made famous by such stars as Tina Turner (River Deep Mountain High (1960s). I loved this song and it was familiar to me.Rachel displayed her capabilities in smoothly traversing the incredible number of key changes in ‘Love on Top’ written by Beyoncé (2011). Unfortunately I did not know many of these songs and the band was a bit too loud for me to hear the singer all the time. Nevertheless the evening was full of energy and excitement – a wonderful treat to end the series. Vice president Peter Jones thanked the band and reminded the audience to join us again next year.
The first concert in 2019 will be on Saturday 23rd February 2019 with the magnificent SHE (Seven Harps Ensemble) led by our Patron, Alice Giles OAM and including Rowan Phemister, a past Dr RAG Holmes Music Scholar.
On Saturday, 27th April, we have the welcome return of Kristian Chong who accompanied Teddy Tahu Rhodes but this time presenting his own piano recital.
On Sunday, 16th June, in the first of our afternoon concerts, we have the vibrant Penny Quartet as unique entertainers.
On Sunday, 11th August there is the welcome return of the Grigoryan Brothers, who were voted as among the most popular artists in our survey.
Our final concert for the year will be presented on 12th October by The Idea of North who were also among the most requested in our survey.
We hope to see you all in 2019 for another fabulous year of fine music.
A constant favorite with Yass Music Club members
The Band of the Royal Military College, often referred to as RMC Band or the Duntroon Band is based in Canberra. Its role for the Army and the Australian Defence Force is predominantly ceremonial in support of Vice-Regal and government agencies, Defence Headquarters and the Royal Military College, but off the parade ground it performs as a concert band and has a variety of smaller ensembles as well.
These ensembles include a concert band, marching band, stage band, woodwind quintet, brass quintet, jazz ensemble, rock band, dixie band (known as the Steamboat Stompers), saxophone quartet, clarinet quartet, and woodwind trio. This versatility enables the band to cover all ceremonial tasking in the ACT and to perform a regional role through community engagement.
The band’s deployments have included support to OP BELISI II – Peace Monitoring Group – Bougainville, OP WARDEN – International Force East Timor (INTERFET) and OP ANODE – Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. International engagements have included representing Australia in Paris for the 50th Anniversary of Armistice Day in 1968, ceremonial activities in London commemorating the Centenary of Federation in 2000 and ceremonial duties at Gallipoli on Anzac Day 2003.
In support of the community, the band is a respected participant in the arts life of Canberra. In addition to concerts at many of Canberra’s national institutions, the band is well known for its regular Music at Midday series held at the Canberra Theatre. This series commenced in 1993 and has raised in excess of $300,000 for local charities.