Well it’s now 1am here in Hawaii and I’m still buzzing from tonight’s gig. Each day when in harbor each Royal Australian Navy ship raises the white ensign at 0800 and lowers it at sunset. Today this tradition is celebrated ceremoniously alongside a Beat to Quarters, Firing of Volleys, and playing of a harmonized version of the bugle call “Sunset”. In the Royal Australian Navy Band we perform the Ceremonial Sunset many times each and every year but this performance was very different. Firstly, this ceremonial sunset was held on HMAS Canberra (Australia’s premier ship) whilst in Pearl Harbor and secondly, this was the largest number of high ranking officers and dignitaries from all over the world to whom I have ever performed.
The Ceremonial Sunset is one of our bread and butter performances. We could almost perform these with our eyes closed. Tonight the crowd was so impressed with our performance that dignitaries were approaching us all night to complement our work for the evening.
Whilst the ceremonial sunset is a performance many RAN musicians could do with their eyes closed, they are extremely taxing on the chops, especially for me being the only trumpeter on the gig. It is such a fast passed ceremony where the horn is on your face constantly for around 40 minutes. We play marches, hymns, bugle calls and this time the USA and Australian National Anthems.
Some times its the easiest gigs that give the most satisfaction, that satisfaction may not always be musical or satisfying to yourself but instead the appreciation shown by an expecting audience.