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.
Despite the cold weather the past few weeks, the band have still been out and about. We did a few more rehearsals with the Band of the Adjutant General’s Corps (AGC) and this concluded in a School’s Workshop in Wolverhampton. The Wolverhampton Music School was influential for the Director of Music of the AGC, Captain Johnson, as this is where he started playing when he was a boy. The day seemed to be a success and increased awareness of having a career as a musician in the army. There were around 40 pupils involved (said like this as they weren’t that much younger than me!) and during the concert at the end of the day they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Once in a while we try to do some sort of team building activity, or vary our sports afternoons. Recently there was the opportunity to go clay pigeon shooting. A few members of the band and bugles took up this offer and spent a very chilly afternoon having a great time.
Slushy fields and obstacle courses
We have recently supported the Combined Cadet Force at Winchester College – a local job for us. It was a VERY cold morning and there had just been the first light layer of snow the evening before. However, by the morning the snow had gone but the field for the parade was waterlogged and slushy. The parade still went ahead and some very brave cadets came out in the cold in their combat 95s (trousers and a shirt) to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Parade. The crowd seemed to enjoy our rendition of ‘Soul Bossanova’ and ‘Royal Salute’, amongst others.
With our PTI, Corporal Jessup, returning from passing his CLM course (Command, Leadership, Management), one thing was inevitable: a PT session. We did circuit training with an obstacle course involved too. It was great fun and hard work. However, we almost had a disaster when 6 ft 5 in Sergeant Rowcliffe went flying over one of the obstacles and into a bench! Next day he had a lovely bruise.
A big visit happed for us when the Brigade Commander, Brigadier Baverstock, came round. The senior ranks had a meeting with him and then we played a couple of pieces to show him what we can do. The Bugles came and we played the Sir John Moore Fanfare to show him the volume that they can produce. It is a spectacular sound and I think it blew the Commander away! Then we played the more subdued ‘Amazing Grace’ by Frank Ticheli, a softer and atmospheric piece which I personally love.
Annually the Band and Bugles have a dinner night at the Sir John Moore Barracks Sergeants’ Mess. This is our BIG event of the year. Everyone was dressed to impress, with the ladies in stunning dresses and the men in dinner jackets and mess dress. For quite a few younger members of the band it was their first experience of a dinner night, apart from the ones we play at, and a good time was had by all. The food was lovely and the wine was flowing. The party finished up at the band and bugles bar and went on into the night.
The CAMUS (Corps of Army Music) roadshow came to our area recently and delivered a brief to The Rifles Band and The AGC Band. It was an insightful morning, with information on recruiting, postings and the future of CAMUS.
Our biggest job of the year so far came with a trip to Davies Street, London, for the annual King’s Royal Rifles Corps concert. As usual, the crowd was very receptive and a pleasure to play for. We played all the usual favourites, including ‘Luftow’s Wild Hunt’, ‘Amporita Roca’ and, as always, ‘High on a Hill’ … twice!