Commander Cassandra Mohapp

CMDR Cassandra Mohapp

Commander Cassandra Mohapp was born in Cambridge Park, New South Wales, and enlisted into the Royal Australian Navy in 1997 as a musician after completing a Bachelor of Music, Diploma in Music (Performance) and Diploma in Education (Secondary) at the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music.

Prior to joining the RAN, Cassandra worked as a music teacher in both high school and primary schools and enjoyed a career as a professional Bassoonist with theatre productions of Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon, as well as national radio broadcasts for ABC Classic FM and 2MBS.

As a Navy musician, Cassandra served in both permanent bands of the RAN, including two years as the National Public Relations Manager for all RAN Bands. During this time, Cassandra undertook professional development in Marketing and was also selected for the Longlook Exchange program. Cassandra spent three months working closely with Her Majesty’s Royal Marine Band Service, and was honoured to be invited to perform with them in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2008, a first for the RAN.

An interest in people management led Cassandra to complete a Graduate Diploma in Psychology which focussed on Social Psychology, Personality and Cognition. This, combined with an increasing passion for music directing, motivated her to seek selection as Band Officer. Cassandra commissioned from the rank of Petty Officer to Lieutenant in 2009 and was appointed Assistant Director of Music - Navy in 2012; a position of Business Administration and Governance. In July 2013, she commanded the RAN Band Melbourne as Music Director and Officer-in-Charge and led them during the International Fleet Review on the Flagship HMAS Sydney (IV), highlighted by the synchronisation of the soundtrack for the Centenary of Navy Fireworks display. Cassandra has many career achievements including conducting the Dawn Service and Commemorative Services in Gallipoli, Turkey in 2013, and was the first female ADF Band Officer to conduct these services in Gallipoli.

After spending eighteen years as a military musician, Cassandra was appointed First Lieutenant at HMAS Cerberus in December 2015; a position she held for a three year period. This role included the coordination of base wide emergency response and security matters, enforcement of Military Law and discipline, and personnel management.

Cassandra’s interest in Naval history, music and psychology led her to undertake a Master of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her thesis focussed on the inherent rhythm of Morse Code and the unique teaching techniques of the wartime telegraphists of the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service who ingeniously used music to expedite the learning of Morse Code. Cassandra was invited to present her findings at the 5th Australian Music & Psychology Society International Conference on Music and Emotion held at the University of Queensland, Brisbane in 2017.

Cassandra joined the Navy People Career Management Agency promotions team in October 2018 and broadened her experience in people management working at the coalface of Navy people for a period of twelve months. Cassandra returned to the RAN Band in December 2019 where she assumed the position of Director of Music - Navy.

In the last two years, Cassandra focused her attention to developing a unifying strategic direction for the RAN Band that celebrates the universal application of music. In 2021 Cassandra authored the divisional realignment of the RAN Band to the newly established Maritime Personnel Community. This heralded an historic restructure of the Band Officer Cohort, beginning with the upgrading of the Director of Music - Navy position to Commander, to which Cassandra was promoted in October 2021.

Cassandra is inspired by Navy’s vision for a diverse, inclusive and equitable workforce. Bookending her 24 years service as a military musician from Recruit to Commander is a significant personal achievement and Cassandra feels privileged to lead a team of such extraordinary musicians.