All You Need Is Lavarack

The 1 RAR Band are crossing Abbey Road and bringing the best of the Beatles to Townsville this Thursday and Friday night. IMAGE: The 1 RAR Band

Townsville’s Band of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (the 1 RAR Band) will be bringing their Beatles tribute show Liverpool to Lavarack back to the city later this week after an incredible response to the show earlier in the year. We caught up with Band Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class Two Sean O’Toole, for insight into the band and why the show is returning to Townsville.

For how long have you been involved with the 1 RAR Band?
I was posted to the band in January this year as Band Sergeant Major (BSM). Prior to that, I was the BSM of Australian Army Band Tasmania, based in Hobart. This is my third posting to the 1 RAR Band over the course of 22 years.

Why the Beatles? Where did the idea for Liverpool to Lavarack come from?
The band is always looking at creating a theme for our shows and, with a catalogue of so many great tunes, how could you go past the Beatles?  We like to name our shows and keep some type of military feel and one of the guys came up with “Liverpool to Lavarack”.

Some locals were already lucky enough to see this performance, why are you bringing it back?
There is a lot of hard work that goes into creating this type of show, from the arranging of music, sound and lighting design to the many hours of rehearsal. Given that we had a near sold-out show at Riverway Arts Centre, we thought:  “let’s take this concept into Dancenorth, so that more people can enjoy the great sound of the band playing these classic tunes.”

How many band members will be performing at the event?
There will be 12 members of the band performing on the night, but the music has been arranged in different ways that will sometimes feature smaller groups such as a quartet or duo. There is definitely something for everyone and we’re excited that MUSN’s Jade O’Halloran and Grant Thomas will be taking on the vocals and giving it their own spin.

What songs can we expect in the setlist?
With the Beatles having so many great songs, the hardest thing for us was choosing what to leave out! There will be everything from “I saw her standing there”, “Taxman”, “Hey Jude”, “Come Together” and “Penny Lane”. I don’t want to give too much away…

Why did the band choose Headspace as the recipient of proceeds for this event?
The 1 RAR Band always likes to support a local charity when we perform a concert, when we can. Earlier recipients of funds this year have been Legacy, Soldier On, Cootharinga and Ronald McDonald House. We chose Headspace this time because of the need to bring awareness to mental health. Hopefully we as a band can raise funds and awareness of this important community issue.

Catch the 1 RAR Band’s Liverpool to Lavarack showcasing at Dancenorth this Thursday and Friday at 7:30pm. Proceeds from this fundraiser will support Dancenorth and Headspace. Click here for tickets.

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