My name is Emma Peacock, I’m an Army musician and I play flute and piccolo in The Band and Bugles of The Rifles. I have been here a year and a half now, after completing Phase 1 training at ATR Pirbright and Phase 2 at The Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall.
Recording the CD
Finally, after about twenty hours of recording, The Band and Bugles of The Rifles new CD was completed! Over a weekend The Salamanca Band and Bugles of The Rifles and The Waterloo Band and Bugles of The Rifles joined our regular band to record some of the highlights from last year’s Swift and Bold concert held in The Royal Albert Hall. This took a lot of time but seemed to go well and hopefully the CD will be out for purchase later in the year.
The next week we had some visitors to the band. These were six 14-18 year olds who were on a ‘Look at Life’ course with us. We showed them many aspects of band life, including a few full band sessions and a fitness session with Corporal Jessup. We even managed to squeeze in a field craft session, taken by one of our bugle platoon. They plastered their faces with cam cream and enjoyed the delights of a ration pack! During the evenings we showed them the social side of band life. One night this meant going bowling and another night Musician Wood and Musician Dwyer organised a very entertaining quiz. Nevertheless, we still had to show them what the job entails, so took them on the road with us to Davis Street, London, for our annual Kings Royal Rifle Corps concert. As always, this concert was really well received and the audience seemed interested to meet the next generation of musicians in the Corps of Army Music.
The day after the ‘Look at Life’ left us we all boarded minibuses. However, for once we didn’t mind. We were starting the long journey to Bavaria for adventurous training on Exercise Tiger Swift. The trip started well, with our minibus driver, who shall remain nameless, stalling. And, as per last year, we got lost again and this resulted in a lot of banter coming across the radio. After eight hours on the road we stopped off overnight at Elmpt. By that time our group were relieved to get out of the minibus as we’d had enough of Lance Corporal Barratt and Musician Wood singing!
Once we had arrived at the slopes we were assessed and separated into groups. Those who had not skied before were left to learn how to put their skis on while the rest of us headed up the slope for some fun. The first day went well with not too many falls; however our instructor, Tomo, liked doing jumps so I did manage to spend a little time face down in the snow! We were staying in a lovely lodge in Ortwanger and in the evenings everyone met up for drinks in the little bar to catch up on the day’s activities.
The next day we returned to a slope that we tried last year. I hadn’t had a very good experience there previously so was quite nervous, however after a couple of runs down felt a lot happier and like I had conquered a fear! Our instructor decided that along with jumps, we would all ski on one leg. This proved difficult as I have no centre of balance, however by the end of the week I could manage a few seconds. Not only did we ski in Germany, but we made it across the border to Austria. This was a lovely area with some beautiful scenery. I was really pleased to be the only one in my group to get over a really bumpy area and make a jump!
On the first night of the trip Corporal Jessup’s red PTI belt had gone missing and throughout the week it seemed to appear everywhere on the slopes. All groups (even his!) had it at some point. He was starting to get suspicious of everyone and everywhere by the end of the week and when we all went out for dinner one evening after skiing he was even suspicious of the waitress.
The following day a large group went for a day’s ski touring. This is the equivalent of walking up hill in skis. I did this last year and was quite happy to not have to do it again this time around as I much prefer to go downhill. When they came back they all seemed to have enjoyed themselves, yet a few were very relieved that it was over. That evening Musn Dwyer and Musn Howes did a great quiz in the bar. I actually learnt a few things, including that an octopus has three hearts!
The last day of skiing was upon us and we were all determined to make the most of the day. When we got to the top of the gondola however, we couldn’t see a thing as the clouds were so low. This resulted in us getting a little lost and heading down a black slope with very little vision. Thankfully we all made it down safe, despite a few people falling over and sliding down the length of slope on their bums!
With skiing now over the majority of the band and bugles now hold their SF2 qualification and are thoroughly exhausted! While most of the unit were away skiing some decided not to go overseas and went to Wales where they did rock climbing, mountain biking, horse riding, go karting and kayaking. Apparently they had good fun and the highlight of the trip was watching one of the Lance Corporals trying to get on to a horse which was much bigger than her while she couldn’t stop giggling! Now we’ve returned to the unit we’re back to everyday life, but with a little more of an adventurous streak, and the bruises to prove it.