Navy brings new sound to old ceremony

A new note rang out over the time-honoured traditional Navy ceremonial sunset at Tasmania’s Royal Hobart Regatta, marking the debut performance of a new composition from the Navy Band.

CAPTION: Musicians from Royal Australian Navy Bands Tasmania, Sydney and Melbourne combine to perform in Hobart. Story by Leading Seaman Zola Baldwin. Photo by Richard Jupe.

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Band – Tasmania premiered the new composition while performing a ceremonial sunset on February 10 on Hobart’s Parliament House Lawns.

The music was composed for the Wind Band to play along with the Indigenous Cultural Performer on the yidaki, which is a traditional name for the didgeridoo.

Composed by Chief Petty Officer Martyn Hancock, Bandmaster of RAN Band – Tasmania, The Sun – Giver and Protector was written specifically to be performed on the weekend of the Royal Hobart Regatta and Wooden Boats Festival.

The sun was chosen for the name of the new composition because of its central place in Australian Indigenous cultures.

It features on the Aboriginal flag with the circle of yellow, representing the sun, giver of life and protector.

“I’ve been composing music for significant occasions and events for over 30 years, but this work came about as an exciting opportunity to not only embrace and celebrate Indigenous Australian culture, but to also bring together our cultures through the inclusive power of music,” Chief Petty Officer Hancock said.

“And what better than having a work of this nature specifically written as a means to modernise our traditional ceremonial sunset, which dates back centuries to the age of sail?

“The importance of the sun and its distinction between night and day is reflected in the cultural stories of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“The piece reflects these stories, depicting the creation and power of the sun and how beautiful the earth looks when lit up by this blaze.”

The band’s performance of The Sun – Giver and Protector was a world premier and is a fitting precursor to the traditional ceremonial sunset.


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