We marched with what seemed like over 200 troops on to the square


Musician Emma Peacock.

Musician Emma Peacock.

Follow Musician Emma Peacock who 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.

Exam time

For three of us in the band this had been the week we had preparing for, for about 6 months now!  It’s Trade Employment Qualification (TEQ) 1 exams!  If passed this would make us fully qualified for our job.  There are three exams all together, the initial one, TEQ 3, taken to enable us to pass out of phase 2 training.  First in front of the examination board was Musician Nicola Dwyer on alto saxophone.  In next was Musician Chris Wood on clarinet, and then finally it was me on flute.  After an agonising wait I can happily announce that all three of us passed!

 After our exams we joined the rest of the Band and Bugles at The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.  They had been there all day rehearsing for a presentation for the officer cadets. That evening a few of us let down our hair and went on a customary trip for dinner at an all-you-can-eat buffet down the road. Definitely a welcome meal after a hard day’s work.

The next morning, with some very full stomachs, the band delivered the introduction to military music presentation.  It informed the officer cadets of the historical background to military bands and was an overview of present bands, including our contemporary band The Stripes!  It featured Musician Willis Neat on vocals, Musician Chris Wood on keyboard, LCpl Martin Slater on bass, Lance Corporal Craig Phillips on guitar and in charge of the group was Corporal Nathan Jessup on drums. The band managed to get the officer cadets up on their feet dancing and singing along, but only after being given permission.

After that the band marched the officer cadets to the Old College Parade Square to practice for the Old College Sunday Parade.  This was followed by a church band rehearsal for the Sunday service at the Royal Memorial Chapel.  It was a busy day!

The Stripes perform at the Halloween-themed party

The Stripes perform at the Halloween-themed party

Proud families and friends

Bright and early the next morning (5.45am to be precise) a few of us boarded the coach and were back off to Kneller Hall.  Ensembles and full band were completed, but the big event was the mid-term inspection Thursday morning.  Uniforms were pressed, shoes bulled (highly polished), instruments shined and we all waited ready at the side of the square to marching on.  The inspection was followed by a brief marching band display and all went well.

That evening the foundation course celebrated with a Halloween themed party featuring The Stripes!  They played many numbers including one spontaneous duet with a merry member of the foundation course! Musician Willis Neat was definitely on form and worked the crowed well.  The foundation course enjoyed their evening and carried on partying as we packed up our kit and got on the coach, finally returned back to the band block in the early hours of the morning. Luckily, we could have a lie in as we had a couple of days off!

Sunday morning we were back at The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, to give musical support to the officer cadets for the Old College Sunday Parade.  Minus the bugles, we marched with what seemed like over 200 troops onto the square, in front of their proud family and friends.  It was an opportunity for the officer cadets to feel proud of their achievements so far and for the guests to catch up with their loved ones.  After a few photos we then marched round to the Royal Memorial Chapel for a service.  Now the band is back on the coach on our way back to Winchester to start a week’s leave!  It feels like a well deserved week off…. Time to catch up with our own families.