Home' Advance In Review : Advance in Review December 2014 Contents Air Force Band – A Year of Celebration and Commemoration
During the Centenary of Military Aviation, Air Force Band has been
giving audiences across Australia a military aviation experience
through the evocative and transformative power of music.
One hundred years ago, the first Bristol Box Kite took off from the
Point Cook airfield giving birth to military aviation in Australia.
When you compare that first military aircraft with today’s modern
FA/18-F Super Hornet, it is amazing to think about how far
military aviation has come. We believe that one hundred years of
tradition, innovation and evolution is something to celebrate and
Throughout 2014, Air Force Band has toured a concert series
which has celebrated one hundred years of military aviation
in Australia. The concert series toured to Melbourne, Sydney,
Geelong and Wyndham and was broadcast nationally to hundreds
of thousands of radio listeners through our partnership with ABC
Classic FM. The concert series has been a great opportunity to
perform works related to military aviation, talk about military
aviation with audiences across Australia and showcase the
precision, agility and excellence of Air Force Band.
Other Air Force Band highlights for 2014 have included performing
at the Centenary of Military Aviation Air Show at Point Cook,
performing for Prince William and Princess Kate during their
visit to RAAF Amberley and performing at the Anzac Day
commemoration services at Gallipoli.
The theme for next year’s concert series will be the Centenary of
Anzac Day. In that series, Air Force Band will share their recent
experience of performing in Gallipoli with audiences across
Australia. In addition to the public concert series, Air Force
Band intends to tour an Anzac concert to Air Force bases across
Australia in 2015.
On behalf of Air Force Band, I would like to thank you for coming
to our concerts, and sharing our journey. We wish you a happy
and safe Christmas and look forward to sharing more great music
with you in 2015.
Squadron Leader Mathew Shelley | Commanding Officer
Flight Sergeant Ben van den Akker interviews Warrant Officer Attilio
Celata as he contemplates retirement from full-time service.
I first met Attilio Celata in 1985 at the Melbourne College of Advanced
Education, where we were both in the wind symphony. I was only just out
of high school, and joining this huge college band was a little daunting.
I was therefore grateful for the welcoming smile from this young Italian
A few years later I nervously turned up at the Melbourne Town Hall for my
first casual engagement with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Who
was there to greet me? Attilio Celata, the bass clarinettist on the same
concert... phew! A familiar face.
Another couple of years down the track, and I arrived at Laverton to start
my career in the Air Force. I was welcomed by that same big smile and a
hearty hand shake, this time from Sergeant Celata!
Now, in 2014, we find ourselves preparing for yet another concert in the
Melbourne Town Hall. For Attilio Celata however, this will be the final
concert as the Air Force Band’s Warrant Officer.
Attilio joined the Air Force on 21 August 1979, after some time in the
Royal Australian Navy Cadets. Since that time he has worked under
five Commanding Officers, and for two of those as the Band Warrant
Officer. His tenure as Warrant Officer saw possibly the most dynamic
and challenging period in Air Force Band history, culminating with
the amalgamation of Air Command Band and Central Band, and the
establishment of today’s Air Force Band.
I thought I’d ask Warrant Officer Celata to share some of his thoughts
and memories as he prepares to hand over the pivotal role as the band’s
BEN: Sir, what inspired you to join the Air Force?
ATTILIO: Just as much as the ‘what’, the ‘who’ was really important to me.
The who: Three of my four clarinet teachers were musicians in the Air
Force: Bruno Ricciotti, Dante Ricciotti, (Bruno’s Uncle) and Albert Casselli.
The most influential, and by far the hardest task master, was Dante.
... and the what: When I was playing on the steps of the Shrine of
Remembrance on Anzac Day 1978, with the Royal Australian Navy Band,
the RAAF Central Band made its entrance up the steps to the Shrine’s
forecourt. The Navy musicians around me began whispering: “It’s
the Central Band, and there’s Mitchell!” (SQNLDR Ron Mitchell, was
Commanding Officer of the band) The Central Band had an awesome
reputation in Australian military music and SQNLDR Mitchell had a music
reputation that was as large as the band itself. I was studying accounting at
Footscray Institute of Technology, toying with the idea of maybe joining the
Navy Band. The reaction to the appearance and respect held for Central
Band and it’s Commanding Officer was the turning point for me to practice
and follow in the footsteps of my teachers, in particular Dante and Albert.
BEN: Can you share with us any memorable moments from your career?
ATTILIO: One of the funniest (as in terrifying) moments for me was on
PASSING ON THE TORCH
Front Cover: Warrant Officer Attilio Celata performing with his clarinet.
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