HMAS Anzac forms band on board

Many bands have formed in a lounge room or garage, but it’s rare for a band to emerge from the belly of a Navy frigate.

CAPTION: HMAS Anzac band, Hodr’s Knorr, performs on the ship’s flight deck during a logistics visit to in Sembawang, Singapore. Story by Lieutenant Geoff Long. Photo by Leading Seaman Thomas Sawtell.

HMAS Anzac’s six-member Hödr’s Knörr made their debut on March 20 in a night of entertainment on the ship’s flight deck during a recent logistics visit to Singapore.

The band went on to perform for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force warship JS Akebono as the ships sailed in company through the South China Sea, while future performances are planned for later in Anzac’s current regional deployment and back in Australia.

Coming from a variety of ranks and roles within the ship, the six bandmates share a love of music and a desire to entertain their shipmates while on deployment.

They forged and practised their set list over many hours on the ship’s quarterdeck, entertaining gym-users in the shared space along the way.

Some of the members have had years of experience in bands, while vocalist Leading Seaman Thelstan Parun relied solely on karaoke and using a SingStar console to hone his vocal range.

“The captain and a few on the ship had heard me doing karaoke so they encouraged me to join the band, but usually I just like to sing for fun,” Leading Seaman Parun said.

“We did a lot of practice and late nights so I’m very happy that my fellow crew members enjoyed it.

“I’d definitely like to do more events and perhaps add some more pop songs to the mix.”

The other five members of the band brought with them significant musical experience.

Hödr’s Knörr lead guitarist Petty Officer Damien Cripps played in a band in Hobart pubs for six years before his Navy career and continues to play whenever possible, while keyboardist and vocalist Leading Seaman Imogen Reiri dabbled in performing at wine bars and functions during her high school years and can also play the saxophone.

Bass player Able Seaman Sam Craik previously played in a number of bands around Grafton in northern NSW before he joined Navy.

The Royal Navy’s, Lieutenant Commander Ed Smith, who is with Anzac on exchange, filled the drumming role, having played in various bands in the UK prior to his military career.

Rounding out the six-piece band was vocalist Chaplain Lynette Emery, who has been performing publicly since the age of six.

Chaplain Emery said the feedback from the band’s debut performance was overwhelmingly positive.

She said the gig provided the ship’s company and the band members with an outlet to unwind during the deployment.

“While the ship’s company remains onboard during port visits in order to be COVID-safe, it’s very important to have events like concerts and other activities to allow them to relax and unwind, and I must say they responded magnificently,” Chaplain Emery said.

The band’s name, Hödr’s Knörr, comes from the legend of a Norse blind Viking, and that links to Anzac’s call sign, the Blind Viking.

Anzac and Sirius are conducting a two-month regional deployment, which includes participation in a number of international engagements such as Exercise La Perouse, a French-led multilateral maritime exercise held in the north-east Indian Ocean.

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