Fleet arrives to spread fun

BIG Band brass and white naval attire graced the shores of Grantham on Friday afternoon at the front of the re-opened community store.

Since its inception in 1943, the United States Navy's Seventh Fleet Band has performed around the western hemisphere and now they are here to boost the spirits of the community four months on from the January flood.

The band has toured Toowoomba and Ipswich among other places on its trip.

The Far East Edition of the fleet is usually based in Yokosuka, Japan and played to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.

A good mix of jazz and old favourites caressed the ears of passers-by and cars beeped their horns in appreciation as they drove past the crowd that had grown around the band.

The 18-strong band was hosted by American Legion member Barry Thiess (of Toowoomba).

He said music has a proud tradition in the US Navy.

“The decision to proceed with the visit is based on the strong American-Australian alliance and the part Queensland played in the birth of the US Seventh Fleet in the Second World War,” Mr Thiess said.

Fleet Bandmaster, Jeff Wrenn, said the visit coincided with the 69th commemoration of the Coral Sea battle.

“As soon as we heard about the floods we wanted to come and spread the cheer,” Mr Wrenn said.

“This year we have been on the road almost every day since February but we are glad we could come and play,” he said.

 

GRANTHAM COMMUNITY STORE owner Sandy Halliday and Fleet Bandmaster Jeff Wrenn exchange gifts.


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