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.
Sight reading and PTI
Since coming back to work we have been easing back into things quite steadily. The first week the Bandmaster got out a lot of new music for us to practice our sight reading, a bit of a challenge to get the old grey matter working again! As our first job was to be on the forth coming Friday, it was a good chance to see what was going to be put on the programme. This was interspersed with some lovely PT sessions from our band PTI, one session resulting in us getting a little muddy on the back field!
Friday morning we had our first engagement, a Pass Off Parade at Pirbright. For the rehearsal we marched around camp, leading the troops for their first march with a band. We played the RAF march as we went past Sandies, a cafe/welfare centre, as last time we were promised a free cup of tea each if we played it! This promise was delivered when we had a short break between the rehearsal and the parade.
During the inspection we performed a few pieces of music and a short marching display. As usual when we played Zorba, where we get faster and faster (our accelerando), the crowd erupted in tremendous applause! The inspecting officer was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport and, as an ex-military man himself, he knew just how to speak to the troops, giving an interesting and well thought out speech. He even remembered to thank the band.
Playing a radiator
No time to rest after that though, as that evening it was The Sir John Moore Dinner Night at our barracks in Winchester. As usual the dinner started with prayers, followed by a poem that was read by members of the Rifles Brigade and this was accompanied by soft and atmospheric music from us. I think the night went down a treat, especially our unique version of the post horn piece, “The Huntsman”. This featured Musician Baggott playing the post horn, Musician Marsden playing the kitchen sink, a toilet and a watering can and Musician May playing a radiator and then skilfully resuscitating a Basic Life Support (BLS) dummy by playing into it! The evening was rounded off with a few of us in the bar, celebrating the night’s success.
This week we have had the tremendous task of re-cataloguing the music library. This involves checking every piece of music has all the correct parts and then logging it into a new computer system. There has been a workforce of about 12 people all week and we’re still only about half way.
We have also had a joint rehearsal with the Band of the Adjutant General’s Corps in preparation for a School Music Workshop in Wolverhampton. It was nice to have so many players together and as I’m currently the sole flute player in the Rifles Band it was nice to play with some other flutists.
Our last job of the week involved a woodwind quintet who had to travel to Birmingham and play at a dinner night. It didn’t start off too well though as our transport got sent to the wrong camp, eventually turning up two and a half hours late. To make matters worse we got stuck in a traffic jam for two hours on the M40, so when we arrived at the venue everyone was already sat down ready to eat! Despite our late arrival I think we were appreciated and were thanked at the end of the night…and we got a really nice two course meal for dinner.