Major Hickman began his music career as a 14 year-old Territorial Force member of the Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea Band and on graduation from High School joined the New Zealand Army Band. Over the next 25 years he rose through the ranks serving at various times as an instructor, Bandmaster, Director of Music and Officer Commanding the School of Music. In recent years he has led the Band on major international engagements to The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, The Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the World Band Festival in Lucerne, the King of Tonga’s Coronation and the German War Graves Commission Tattoo in Bremen. His latest challenge, as well as enhancing the Band’s national entertainment and international marching reputations, has been a campaign to have the Band recognised as a legitimate arts institution. This took the form of a national tour in collaboration with the Royal New Zealand Ballet performing “Salute”, a Ministry of Culture and Heritage World War One 100th Commemoration Project. The ballet, featuring music by Gareth Farr and Dwayne Bloomfield brought into focus the service and sacrifice of our military forbears. This was the first time in the world a brass band had provided music for a ballet, proving to audiences and critics that brass bands are as ‘musical’ as their orchestral peers.