The NSW Police Band is Australia’s oldest and longest continuously running concert band. Formed in 1895, in 2020 the band commemorates 125 years of dedicated service. Regarded as “The State Band of NSW” it is one of only two full-time police bands in existence in the country.
Co-ordinated by Senior Sergeant Graham Dickman and Director of Music John Saunders, this permanent, full-time unit of the NSW Police Force is comprised of thirty-three high-calibre, professional musicians that perform together as a Concert Band or Parade Band, according to the occasion. The NSW Police band provides high-profile public relations support to the NSW Police, to State and Federal Governments, and to communities of NSW, forging stronger links between the Police and the people of New South Wales.
Each year the NSW Police Band fulfills over 230 engagements, providing quality music for State Government, NSW Police, community, and charity events. The band also performs formal indoor concerts and recitals, at outdoor events and street parades, as well as concerts and workshops for students during school visits. The band has appeared at numerous prestigious ceremonies, including 'Ticker Tape' parades for Australian sporting teams and for Commonwealth and Olympic athletes, and has also performed for royalty, heads of state, prime ministers and presidents. The Parade Band functions as a marching band for ceremonial events throughout the year, including police graduations and award ceremonies, State Government protocol events, Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
Boasting great musical diversity, the members of the NSW Police Band also perform in various smaller formations drawn from the full complement of the Concert Band. These versatile groups include the Big Band, Rock Band, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, the Dixieland or the Ragtime Combo, as well as the Lower Brass Quartet, and a number of Quintets including the Wind Quintet, the Clarinet Quintet, and the Brass Quintet. In addition to this, the band’s highly skilled members often feature in duos and as soloists.
NSW Police Band Vocalist - Belinda Parsons
The NSW Police Band’s vocalist Belinda Parsons is a captivating and dynamic performer. She has a warm and vibrant stage presence and possesses a truly incredible voice. Her voice is one that turns chairs - she turned all four in fact - In season two of “The Voice - Australia”!
Belinda has been a nominee and recipient of Female Vocalist of the Year for the Australian MO Awards and for Australian Club Entertainment Awards. She studied vocal training and technique with renowned singer/vocal coach Neil Williams OA for over a decade. After cutting her teeth working in the recording studio she took her talents to the stage, and has been wowing audiences throughout Australia and across the globe in live performances for over 20 years.
Belinda is a permanent member of the NSW Police Band and has been fronting the band as lead vocalist since 2011. Covering multiple musical genres, her many roles in the band include singing with the Rock Band, Jazz Combo, Big Band, and of course with the complete Concert Band outfit. On occasion you will also see Belinda helping out her fellow band members with an extra pair of hands in the percussion section of the Concert Band.
Throughout her career and in her performances with the NSW Police Band, Belinda has been invited to sing for small, intimate crowds, and for audiences of thousands, including performances for royalty, presidents and prime ministers. In her work with the NSW Police Band Belinda enjoys the challenges and the inspiration that she receives by having the chance to perform in a wide variety of musical styles. Her favourite part of the job however, is having the opportunity to bring smiles to so many peoples faces.
NSW Police Band Director of Music - John Saunders
Director of Music John Saunders joined the NSW Police Band on March 7th of 1988 as a Special Constable Musician specialising in the Euphonium and Trombone. He worked as the engagements officer for the band from 1999-2002 and then as the assistant conductor, until his full appointment as Police Band Director of Music in 2005.
John was the Australian National Euphonium champion in both 1986 and 1988 and he has been awarded the NSW State Euphonium Champion more than eight times. He earned his Licentiate diploma in 1998 and was winner of the prestigious Ern Keller Memorial Trophy 1998.
The Director of Music received his medal of 25 years of service to the police in 2016.
Born into a musical family, John took piano lessons from his father Jack from the age of three and began playing brass instruments at the age of nine, again taking tuition from his father.
On the Euphonium and Baritone, he was a member of every Australia Brass and National Australia Brass course from 1995 - 2016 and he has been mentored by the highly esteemed Professor David King. In 2005 John was named as musical director for Eastern Australian Brass, and toured France and Belgium in this role.
John is a founding member of the Warringah Concert Brass, which was formed by his father in 1979. He became the Musical Director there in 1999 and has achieved many successes at both State and National levels. In this position he provides mentorship to many amateur & up and coming musicians of all standards, a responsibility that John finds both valuable and rewarding.
John continues his teaching of brass instruments to people of a wide range of ages and abilities. He recently entered the world of adjudication and has acted in this role at the NSW and WA State Band and Solo Championships, as well as in the City of Sydney Eisteddfod Brass Solo and School Band sections.
Coordinator/Manager NSW Police Concert Band - Senior Sergeant Graham Dickman
SSgt Dickman initially joined the NSW Police Force in 1979 and served mainly as a detective in Commands and Crime Squads, including Special Branch, Surveillance Unit, National Crime Authority, Registered Clubs Investigation Unit and Internal Affairs Branch. He was seconded in 1991 to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and continued through to 1998, performing duties as an Investigator, Staff Officer, Weapons Instructor/Rangemaster, and Special Projects Manager. During 1995, SSgt Dickman worked on secondment at the Environment Protection Authority’s Legal Branch as a Specialist Investigator.
After leaving the ICAC, SSgt Dickman worked as a qualified audiometrist in a family business before returning to duty with the NSWPF in 2001. After general duties policing at Holroyd and the Hills Local Area Commands, in 2006 he resumed criminal investigation duties at the State Crime Command Gangs Squad, then at the Firearms and Organised Crime Squad, Professional Standards Unit, Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad and the Organised Crime Directorate. He was promoted to Sergeant rank at the Performance Improvement and Planning Command in 2012 and to a Senior Sergeant position as Coordinator of the Misconduct Prevention Unit at Professional Standards Command in 2015.
As a Field Protocol Officer SSgt Dickman has been actively involved in official protocol duties such as National Police Remembrance Day, police funerals and award ceremonies. As a qualified Drill Instructor, he regularly attends the NSWPF Academy to assist students preparing for attestation parades. Now at the NSW Police Band as Coordinator/Manager, SSgt Dickman continues with the management of the Band, and as he has played clarinet for over 45 years, he has a personal interest in all facets of Band performance.