Lance Corporal Daniel King is principal clarinettist in the Band of the Royal Corps of Signals (RSIGS BAND). Here he writes about being an Army musician, a role which allows him to perform at many high-profile events across the UK and abroad.
Going back to work after a period of time on leave is always hard! I remember waking up in the morning thinking, “Do I really have to get up today?” After hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock for the second time the wife eventually kicked me, forcing me to get up.
Arriving into work you are greeted by the familiar “smiling faces” of other band members. Although having an extended 3 weeks leave was lovely, it is always harder returning than it would be after 2 weeks leave.
I walked straight into the office to check the calendar for any new additions to the yearly programme. It appears that over leave a small trip to Cyprus has been added for September. This is why I love this job!
Over the next couple of weeks our Director of Music (DOM) is leaving so he will be doing his handover to the new incoming Captain Tony Adams. For the band this means we have to prepare all instruments and property for a 100% check. All the instruments are laid out to be inspected by the new DOM.
The dreaded trip to the Bandmaster’s office is greeted by a smile and a handful of paperwork. Those 3 weeks off are feeling more like a Hiatus than a holiday. I’m only joking – two handfuls! He is a brass player after all.
As I write this blog, band members are pottering around getting out their instruments and checking that they still work after three weeks of them being in their cases. I have my own instrument so I was able to practice over leave… Believe that and you will believe anything. No, I did play it a couple of times over leave at my local church so my lip is still good! Not everyone in the band has their own instrument so they only use Army provided ones.
As I type, I have the piercing sound of a piccolo trumpet trying to annoy me by playing as high and loud as he possibly can!
Due to the general quiet nature of the week we like to do a bit of physical training! So on the Monday afternoon, the band go down to the all-weather court for a bit of team sports! This week we played basketball. I don’t know how we manage it but we always seem to get at least one injury during the sessions! A few stubbed fingers and a lot of aches!!
The first job of this year is not until the following Friday and that is a 5am start for a Passing Out Parade at Pirbright. So it’s best to enjoy the down-time while we can!