Katoomba’s Volker Schoeler is encouraging Mountains residents to sail away to Sydney Harbour this long weekend for the International Fleet Review so they don’t miss a “once in a generation” event.
And he’d know.
Able Seaman Schoeler is a member of the Sydney detachment of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Band and a Navy heavy vehicle driver. He will play the trombone and the sousaphone in marches, aboard warships and even on morning services on the Manly ferry as part of celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the first Royal Australian Navy fleet’s entrance into Sydney Harbour on October 4, 1913.
One of Schoeler’s most memorable performances is sure to be at the Ceremonial Salute at Bradley’s Head this Friday morning where the Governor-General will welcome the crews of 37 Australian and international warships as they sail into Sydney Harbour.
He will also perform at the 30-minute fireworks and light show on Sydney Harbour on Saturday night in front of an anticipated 1.7 million spectators including 8000 sailors and His Royal Highness Prince Harry, as well as at a Combined Navies Parade through George Street on Wednesday, October 9.
“We have been preparing for this for months and the number of performances is huge — I’ll be playing pretty much every day, sometimes a couple of times a day in different locations in and around Sydney,” he said.
“Performing on the Manly ferry will be one of the most enjoyable parts, and it will also be nice to meet band members that represent navies from countries all over the world, many of whom will be playing interesting instruments like the sitar, the anklung and the Chinese flute.
“We will also be heavily involved in officially welcoming and seeing off the participating warships.”
Schoeler, who conducts the rapidly growing Blue Mountains City Band, said the sight of 40 warships and 16 tall ships in Sydney Harbour will be memorable.
“I think the name [International Fleet Review] doesn’t really say a lot to the average person, but once you understand just how significant and spectacular this event is, I think Blue Mountains residents will want to make the effort to go down there to see it,” he said.
For more information and a full event program, visit www.navy.gov.au/ifr.