From the small confines of the junior sailors café in HMAS Brisbane come some big sounds.
HMAS Brisbane’s unofficial band had unpacked their instruments, completed their sound checks and started doing what they do best: playing in front of a live audience.
The band’s first performance on July 17 came less than a month after the band formed and while Brisbane is participating in Exercise Talisman Sabre, the biggest biennial exercise between Australia and the United States with participation by other partner nations.
It was the idea of assistant marine engineering officer Sub Lieutenant Hubert Demonteverde, an avid drummer, to form the band.
With the blessing of the Commanding Officer Brisbane, Commander Aaron Cox, he put out an audition call to the ship’s company and recruited a lead singer, bassist and an electric and acoustic guitarist.
“The captain was aware that I was a musician before I joined the Navy and was very keen on me starting a ship’s band with the intention of having us perform during a replenishment at sea,” Sub Lieutenant Demonteverde said.
“I took it as a challenge and was pleased to find that we had enough musicians on board to make it happen.”
Able Seaman Pippa Gibbs, the lead singer, said she had loved music from the age of three when she asked her mother for a violin.
“Performing for the first time in front of a live audience and having my workmates sing along really brought the crew together,” Able Seaman Gibbs said.
Lieutenant Andrew Milas, on electric guitar, Leading Seaman Mitch Gunner, on acoustic guitar, and Able Seaman Jack Simons, on bass guitar, make up the rest of the band.
Among their favourite covers to perform are Scar by Missy Higgins, Khe Sanh by Cold Chisel and Geronimo by Sheppard.
The crew welcomed the band’s first performance, held while operating off the coast of Queensland.
Able Seaman Tim Cole was in the café during the gig and made jokes about the audience’s bad attempts at singing along with the band.
“After having a sports day on the ship, I thought the crew’s morale was at its peak,” Able Seaman Cole said.
“That was until the band started playing and everyone started singing the lyrics to the songs.”
The band’s next gig was on the deck of Brisbane as she refuelled with United States Navy oiler USS Rappahannock on July 22.
This was the Australian ship’s first ever replenishment at sea (RAS).
They played Proud Mary by Tina Turner – the Royal Australian Navy’s adopted RAS song.
Brisbane will return to Fleet Base East in Sydney after Talisman Sabre to prepare for an upcoming deployment.
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