Home' Advance In Review : Advance in Review June 2016 Contents I took nothing for granted during that
experience, knowing that participating
in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in
Scotland will never happen again for me.
The opportunities while participating in
this amazing adventure kept coming. I was
given the opportunity to spend one of the
three weeks of the tattoo as Drum Major for
the finale sequence of each performance,
where I led the bands of the ADF, the King’s
Guard Norway and the U.S . Naval Forces
Band Europe on to the forecourt towards
the castle before counter marching and
taking our position between the various
UK military bands. To be the person I had
watched on TV with my family each year as
a young boy is to experience an occasion
that no words will ever really do justice to.
It’s worth mentioning that my mum travelled
from Melbourne to Edinburgh to be in the
audience, I doubt there was a prouder
person in Edinburgh that night!
The recent Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
experience in Melbourne at Etihad Stadium,
once again revived those vivid childhood
memories of tattoo watching with my family.
This time I was marching in the ranks
playing the clarinet with the assistant Drum
Major Sergeant Adam Schlemitz leading
the band. Instead of watching it on TV my
family had the chance to cheer us on from
Warrant Officer Eden Stubbings
Perth drummer Naomi Tan has foregone
the vagary of life as a freelance musician
and enlisted her services as the most
recent member of the Air Force Band. Since
arriving to the band in November 2015 she
has hit the ground running, having already
represented the Air Force in France for
this year’s Anzac Day service at Villers-
Bretonneux and played in front of capacity
audiences in Melbourne for the Royal
Edinburgh Military Tattoo earlier in the year.
Naomi found out about the percussion
position through her lecturer Tim White
from WAAPA (Western Australian Academy
of Performing Arts) where she was studying
music and hurriedly flew to Melbourne
to audition. Having ‘snared’ the coveted
position of drummer/percussionist it was
off to basic training in Wagga Wagga. This
gruelling and intensive thirteen week
induction course represents the military
birth-pains that all of us musicians have
had to endure before becoming a member
of the band. She found it challenging, but
after a torrid four years at WAAPA where she
was driven by her lecturers to practice and
get better, military training was surprisingly
Naomi was recruited primarily as a jazz
drummer to replace doyen percussionist
Flight Sergeant Ben van den Akker, who
stepped aside to take on more administrative
duties. Already she has made an impact
having settled comfortably into the rhythm
section of the Air Force Jazz Group and Big
Band. The chance to play other percussion
instruments, be part of the Drum Corp
and march with a snare on parade are
opportunities she has also been relishing.
Being a female jazz drummer in such a
male dominated musical community takes
courage and passion but there are others
who are paving the way. Naomi is a fan of
U.S. multi-stylist drummer Cindy Blackman
who is married to Carlos Santana. Of course
‘Philly’ Joe Jones and Tony Williams are
staples for any aspiring drummer to listen to
and she counts them as influences as well.
Perth is a hot-bed for nurturing young
upcoming jazz musicians under the influence
of the likes of virtuoso saxophonist Jamie
Oehlers. Many international musicians,
including the great Charlie Watts, like to visit
the ‘West’ and Naomi has had the chance
to play alongside some of them, including
trombonist Fred Wesley, with the Perth
Youth Jazz Orchestra. Visiting drummer
Ari Hoenig was also an inspiration along
with her local drum tutors Ben Vanderwal,
Danny Susnjar and Chris Tarr.
Joining Air Force Band has meant becoming
part of a large and eclectic family of
fantastic musicians with a diverse array of
personalities which she is finding a novel
and enjoyable experience. Having a secure
job also makes a pleasant change for a
musician now meaning Naomi no longer has
to ‘hustle’ for gigs to survive!
Corporal Greg Gear
ABOUT FACE: Across the Nullarbor
The Royal Tournament at Earl’s Court.
One of the bands on a break during the
2000 Peace Tattoo, South Korea.
Drum Major Eden Stubbings leading the band on Anzac Day 2012.
The 2000 Peace Tattoo in Kangwon
province, South Korea.
Leading Aircraftwoman Naomi Tan at the kit.
Naomi playing snare drum at the Melbourne Town Hall.
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