Smooth Ops is like a great big musical family, and our rapport with each other shines through in our performances. Get to know the people behind the music and learn a bit more about our band members below.


Tara Nichols


Tara is one of Canberra's most versatile vocal talents. A professionally trained singer, Tara's powerful and dynamic voice has seen her flourish on the Canberra scene. Influenced by stars like Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Eva Cassidy, and singing everything from soulful jazz and heart-filled blues to rock and pop, she delivers all her Smooth Ops tunes with style and ease.


Nicole Taylor


A graduate of the CMAA Academy of Country Music, Nicole was a Tamworth Star Maker Grand Finalist and has played main stage at the Gympie Muster. Her talents extend past country though, as she has fronted bands playing jazz, pop and rock material, and is an accomplished song writer and session vocalist. She started with Smooth Ops in 2014, taking over from Rachel Thorne.


Justin Hoffman


Previously a guest artist for Smooth Ops, Justin came on board as a permanent member of the front line in January 2017. While a Blues Society regular, he's moved effortlessly into the Top 40 world of Smooth Ops as well as indulging in side projects of 70's rock and contemporary duo work.




Rachel McNally (nee Thorne) is one of Canberra's most sought-after singers. A former vocalist with the Australian Army, Rachel has performed in nationally televised concerts alongside Kylie Minogue and John Farnham as well as venturing into the studio with bands such as Zootster, Ish and most recently, In2Deep.


Julia Mayne

Keys + backing vocals

Julia's contributions on keyboard give Smooth Ops its full sound and add the instrumental authenticity the band is known for. Her time with the keys has covered classical, gospel, pop, rock and blues, and vocally she is an experienced harmony singer. She has also served many years as the band's previous musical director and administrator, but having handed that baton over to Tara and Justin is now enjoying more time on the keys and less on the email!


Anthony Firth


Anthony started out playing Classical and Spanish guitar but later moved on to playing his favourite rock songs. He has put his chops into action on stage with numerous cover and originals bands such as Dogs on Lino, 11th hour and Axis. He also spent a couple of years performing with blues artist Mick Reid, with whom he recorded the album Long Hard Road.


Ken McNally


Ken's bass is the other half of the Smooth Ops rock solid rhythm section. Ken has been playing the bass for as long as he can remember, performing in various blues, rock, gospel, country and jazz bands around NSW and the ACT. A highly energised player, Ken rocks out at every opportunity and never loses the groove!


Phil Measham

Drums + percussion

Phil Measham has been playing in Canberra and throughout the Eastern States for many years.  Predominantly a session drummer, Phil has worked with  numerous Australian and international artists (most recently country stars Paul Costa, Aly Cook, Ben Ransom and NeillyRich) and brings a wealth of flair to the band. He does his best to be entertaining while providing solid grooves with some funky features for Smooth Ops' songs.  Phil uses Soultone Cymbals exclusively and is featured on the Soultone Website.



Guest artists

For that extra something special, why not add bagpipes or horns to the mix?


andrew rickard

Production and sound

Andrew has been involved in the music scene for many years, as both a sound technician and musician (bass guitar). He records and mixes, and spent several years covering Canberra Blues Society events. Other feathers to his bow include selling and renting music gear, promoting local acts and establishing new live music venues. He currently convenes local jam group The Canberra Music Workshop, and organises music events such as the Boot 'n' Flogger Revival Party.



Sound mixing, production

Jack is a highly promising up-and-coming sound engineer in Canberra. When not creating amazing mixes for Smooth Ops, Jack can be found lending his talents to mixing original materials for many different recording artists at Pendragon Studios.



Our bagpipes segment will knock your socks off. With some of Canberra's top bagpipe talents including Sean Hodgman, Cameron Lyon, Colleen Lafferty, and Jenni Hamer sharing the honours, hear the best covers you've ever heard of Johnny Farnham's You're the Voice, Acca Dacca's Long Way to the Top. and Dire Straits' Going Home.

Slide Trumpet


Adding a touch of brass to our sound are some of Canberra's top horn players. Daniel Bray, Danny Junor, David Willis, Josh Young, Ben Bonney, Alex Ross, Zach Raffan and Tim Bowyer have all graced us with their stylish work on horns (trumpet, saxophone) over a range of pop, rock and jazz classics.

Band Alumni

Many talented musicians have graced the Smooth Ops stage. But they still make cameo appearances every now and then!


Craig Francis


After 7 years with Smooth Ops, Craig is now pursuing his interest in country music with local Canberra act Urban Drover. However from time to time he also steps back on stage with us and we're reminded of what a great frontman he is! Craig has been performing in Canberra for many years, both in bands and on the theatre stage in shows such as A Chorus Line, West Side Story and Jazz Garters.


Dene Burton


As sound engineer for nearly 3 years, Dene found there was an alternative to those 1am lug outs - superannuation! But like Craig and Rachel, he can still be arm-twisted into helping us out on occasion. Dene is the owner/manager of Tru Sound Music Studios in Canberra. When he's not making other people's audio sound good, he can be found playing guitar and banjo alongside Craig in Urban Drover.


Steve Trewartha

Sound + drums

Steve Trewartha was first drummer for Smooth Ops but then moved to indulge his other passion, sound production, following the departure of Dene Burton. Steve comes from a gospel background but is at home with all styles of music, including the disco, soul and funk material that is Smooth Ops.