Musician Emma Peacock plays flute and piccolo in The Band and Bugles of The Rifles. She has been in the band for a year and a half, having completing Phase 1 training at ATR Pirbright and Phase 2 at The Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall.
On a warm October morning the bugles sounded at the early rehearsal for the Pass Off parade of 12 and 14 Troop at the Army Technical Foundation College, Winchester. It was a proud day for the troops and their families. We entertained the crowd during the inspection with a few of our old favourites, including High on a Hill and Prince Consort’s Own, as well as some new music meant to appeal to the young soldiers on parade. This included Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’, much to the dissatisfaction of some of our old and bold musician. However, we were all thinking about the evening to come – the band social with ’70s theme.
Initially as a leaving bash for LCpl Sarah Hutchinson it soon turned into a full-blown party. Any excuse for a do! It was a very good night with the BSM as Elvis, the DOM with the largest afro ever seen and all of us looking very silly when walking to the bus stop.
After a weekend off we have just competed our first week as Duty band at Kneller Hall, The Royal Military School of Music. Every band completes a duty there, roughly once a year for 2 weeks. Monday and Tuesday the band played under the direction of the student bandmasters so they could practice their conducting. It was challenging music, but that was what we joined for! The Bugle Platoon joined us too, but as they are infantry trained soldiers and not musicians, struggled to follow the conducting. However, we did successfully make it through High on a Hill, Sunset and Sir John Moore.
The band then split and those who were needed to fill in blank spaces in the foundation course stayed and the others left to work the rest of the week back in Winchester. Those of us who stayed played in full band, ensembles and marching band to help the foundation course students develop for when they join their band. The main focus was on rehearsals for the mid-term inspection the following week, a big deal for those wanting to take their exam to get out of Kneller Hall this term. As for our band, it was a chance to brush up on our skills and keep as social as ever. The evenings were spent doing what we wished, one evening resulting in a spontaneous gathering with pizza and beer!
We also had someone join us for Work Experience who took part in all the rehearsals. In the evenings there were some activities put on such as a quiz night, bowling and going to see the Prince of Wales Division Band in concert. A very good concert, but obviously not as good as us.