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Training support in Gibraltar

Five members of the Corps of Army Music recently travelled to Gibraltar as a Short Term Training Team to help train members of the Band and Drums of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.

Corporal Rob Mee currently assigned to the Media team at the Headquarters Corps of Army Music tells us the story of the trip.

On the Monday after introducing ourselves, we joined the band in a rehearsal for the concert later in the week. I found this particularly helpful as I got to hear at what standard the lower brass were, which is my area of expertise. Listening to each of the members of their assigned sections and ascertaining where best to help and offer guidance.

We moved outside after the rehearsal and a quick discussion as to how each of us was going to manage our sections, to see how we could help their marching band. This was of vital importance as we were informed that there was to be a Royal visit later in the week, as well as a beating the retreat ceremony in front of His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent. So with this in mind we watched as they performed the display that their Drum Major had planned to perform.

We started to teach our sections and offer one to one tuition to those that wanted or needed it. It was very fulfilling for me as a brass teacher to be able to talk to and advise on a number of issues and see immediate results from very willing players.

The Wednesday started off with full band rehearsal and it was pleasing to hear the band playing better for each rehearsal. Then back outside for more marching band practice. By now the display was coming along nicely.

In the afternoon we enjoyed a sports afternoon Gibraltar style, with only Sergeant Hornsby electing to play football, the rest of us in the Short Term Training Team climbed the Med Steps up the Rock of Gibraltar. The Med Steps for those that do not know are sections of steps cut into the cliff and not the easier tourist route to the top of the Rock.

Thursday was a morning of full band and a quick run through of the marching display, the band moved to Devils Tower Camp for an afternoon of rehearsals for the following days twenty one gun salute for the Royal Visit.

On the Friday we performed the Royal Gun Salute for HRH Prince Michael of Kent at the key side of HQ Gibraltar.

The Saturday led us to perform in the newly built park and bandstand near Casemates an afternoon concert that was very well attended and appreciated. Playing music from HRH The Duke of Cambridge march to Batman the movie.

In the evening the band and drums performed the beating retreat ceremony in front of HRH Prince Michael of Kent which commemorated Trafalgar day and finished with the Horn Pipe played on violin before the sunset ceremony.

The following day led us to the Trafalgar Cemetery. The Battle of Trafalgar was fought 70 nautical miles off Gibraltar and after the battle HMS Victory stopped at Gibraltar to make repairs and it was there that they buried their dead. So it was in the Cemetery, next to the graves of the brave sailors that I played for Trafalgar day before returning to the UK with the Band and Drums of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment that evening as we were due to perform at the Guildhall in London to celebrate Gibraltar Day.

After a last rehearsal that enabled the team to put the final polish onto the marching display we climbed on to the coach to take us to our last performance with the band and a joint display with the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.

I took advantage of this last day with the Band to give some more one to one lessons before saying goodbye and wishing them a safe journey back to Gibraltar.