This week at Casey we will discover the summer melt through the eyes of a field training officer (FTO) and makie sweet, sweet music with “the band with no name”.

The band with no name

A Casey summer musical enterprise

What do a diesel mechanic, two scientists, an engineer, two meteorologists, a super slushy (“or domestic goddess”) and a boiler maker have in common? The answer, apart from spending a summer at Casey station this season, is music. After a slow start, a regular band of musos has formed. This as yet nameless Casey band consists of Andy (drums), Matt (vocals and guitar), Zbynek (guitar), Bec (piano, vocals), Leon (clarinet, harmonica, bass), Marie, Vicky and Bec (all vocals), with some time appearances by chippy Cam (guitar), meteorological observer Michael (vocals), Louise Carroll (meteorological forecaster) and departed 2012 winterer’s Jamie and Dan. This motley gang of winterer’s and summerer’s also has something of an international flavour with members from the Czech Republic, Canada and the UK. The repertoire is as diverse as the band members, from classical to country, and from rock ballads to jazz, with songs by John Denver, Billy Joel, Simon and Garfunkle, Gershwin, Oasis, Bryan Adams, Leonard Cohen, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Paul Kelly among those rehearsed and performed thus far.

Gigs to date? Well, after a pretty roug’n'ready debut at the hillbilly carnival night when the name “Moonshine” was temporarily adopted, the band has subsequently lead Christmas eve carols and performed a mellow set of songs on the same night. If you’re reading this on the mainland, you may already have heard a little of the band in its early days, as it featured on ABC radio on a couple of occasions around Christmas. The band will perform its largest sets on an upcoming music trivia night inspired by Australian TV programs Rock Wiz and Spicks n Specks, with talk also of a local musical contribution to Australia Day activities.

Generally meeting to have a jam session twice a week, the band lets loose in the mezzanine of the emergency vehicle shelter, surrounded by wigs, hats, masks and random theme night paraphernalia, as the emergency vehicle shelter (EVS) also houses an eclectic collection of both sports equipment and costumes! Such surrounds can make for interesting distractions during rehearsals, which are already pretty chaotic, banter-filled and yet somehow also usually quite productive. If only Matt would stop requesting the same John Denver song, over and over!  

We’re all having a great time enjoying each other’s diverse musical tastes and talents and looking for opportunities to play together. The only sad thing is that it will come to an end so quickly as summer band members soon depart, with so many songs yet to be played and performed. But, who knows? Maybe a reunion is on the cards next season! Maybe by then we’ll have come up with a band name.

The melt

Temperatures as high as five and six degrees positive in the last week have kept large melt streams flowing and created difficulty for groups needing to travel around the operational area at Casey. The area between the Casey station and Penguin Pass, the skiway road, the bottom of the Robbo’s road and the road to Jacks all have very wet areas.

Hägglunds have been bogged on the skiway road and the Case tractor was temporarily stuck there also. Quad trips for field training have often been a series of quad recovery’s linked by short periods of travel. Most field travel training for the incoming winter crew is now complete.

Expeditioners have still managed to get out and about with a couple of keen groups skiing to the Kenny shelter on the Mitchell Peninsula and out to Jacks donga. Others have managed recreational and operational trips to Robbo’s hut and Wilkes hut via inflatable rubber boats (IRBs). This week the winter search and rescue (SAR) team will do their training so it’s hoped that temperatures will sit below zero for a while to allow access to some of the training sites.

Iceberg tours are continuing as the boating team work to get everybody out for a trip on the IRBs. A number of people have also partaken as a crew members for longer science trips to surrounding islands and Robbo’s.