Since 1952 the Army Recruit Training Centre (ARTC) has been home to the Australian Army Band – Kapooka, a full-time military band. Originally a brass band with 12 members, the unit has grown in reputation and has worked with some of Australia’s leading performers and now maintains a posted strength of 20 musicians performing on brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. As well as the marching band, the Australian Army Band – Kapooka proudly boasts a concert band, a stage band, a rock band, a jazz ensemble, a pep band as well as brass and woodwind groups. This versatility means that most genres of music can be performed and the band can cater for all musical tastes. The Australian Army Band – Kapooka’s primary role is to support ARTC and it is kept busy with performing on March Out Parades and at various functions within the Kapooka Military Area.
In addition to military and ceremonial roles, the band provides support to local and regional charitable organisations and communities in the Riverina. In particular, the band performs a series of Music at Midday concerts in Wagga Wagga, the final concert in the annual Twilight by the Lagoon concert series in March and the Wagga Wagga Christmas Spectacular in December.
In 2009, the Australian Army Band – Kapooka was granted Freedom of the City of Wagga Wagga to mark, commemorate and acknowledge 56 years of dedicated and distinguished service to the City of Wagga Wagga and the Riverina. This tradition is regarded as the highest compliment offered to a military unit by a civil organisation or community.
As well as providing support to military and civilian communities in the Riverina, the band has on occasion proudly represented Australia overseas on tours and deployments, including Papua New Guinea (1990), East Timor (2000 and 2001), Bougainville (2004), Japan (2004) and Tonga (2011).