BUILDING MORALE: The Australian Army Band Melbourne at an event a few years ago.
BUILDING MORALE: The Australian Army Band Melbourne at an event a few years ago. CPL Veronica O'Hara

Army brings a rocking good time

THE Australian Army is bringing its army band on tour throughout Central Queensland in a bid to use the power of music to bring communities together and to help lift spirits as locals deal with the effects of the devastating and drawn-out drought.

Commanding officer and music director Matt Chilmaid said the Band of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment would tour schools, halls and clubs in Clermont, Springsure, Emerald, Alpha, Jericho and Barcaldine.

Major Chilmaid said the drought had motivated the tour because locals had "many problems to deal with”.

"No longer just physical and material problems, but an increasing experience of fatigue, exhaustion, failure and depression,” he said.

"These concerns are shared by volunteers in the region, such as our coordinating partners in the Q4 Lions district.”

He said music could play a role in addressing the well-being of people in regional areas.

"Shared positive experiences build resilience and camaraderie, and our concerts can also provide a focus around which health concerns may be shared.

"By touring these regional towns we hope to share the positive effects of music, to provide momentary distraction and relief from daily concerns, and aid the wellbeing of those affected by the crippling weather events.”

Major Chilmaid said the band - with up to 20 musicians playing at any point - would perform popular hits from stars such as Ray Charles, David Bowie, Ed Sheehan and Jessie J.

The band will tour from February 15 to 25 at venues such as Springsure Showgrounds and Barcaldine Town Hall. It will be in Emerald Town Hall on February 17.

For a full list of dates and information about the tour, visit the Australian Army Band's Facebook page.


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