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.
Naomi House children’s hospice
Over the past month we haven’t had to travel too far for engagements. We’ve played for a boxing night and a Pass Off Parade on our camp. The parade was a big deal for us as the Head of The Rifles and Commander Land Forces, General Sir Nick Parker, was the inspecting officer.
Like all soldiers every now and then we do military training so recently we were down on the ranges to take the Army Combat Marksman Test (ACMT). We had a bit of time to get used to handling a weapon, thankfully everything went smoothly.
Our PTI had a treat for us on one of our physical training sessions as we did a session called Integrity 1000. This involved 1000 repetitions of various exercises. It was hard work and I was shattered after and definitely ached the next day! That afternoon the woodwind quintet went to an engagement that was a bit different from normal. We played at Naomi House, a children’s hospice. The job was organised by Musn Hughes for her BTEC in Music for The Uniformed Public Services. We played an arrangement of Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” and then played a few more pieces at the end, accompanied by the children, their families and carers banging on tambourines, rattles, and bells!
Skiing in Bavaria
But then it was time to travel…for adventurous training! In total we travelled 2541 miles, just over 35 hours! We went skiing in Bavaria and it was AMAZING! The skiing itself was very hard. I’ve been a few times before so was put in the advanced group, with the only other option at this time being beginner. The first run we did was red and was a shock to the system. The first day definitely took me out of my comfort zone; which is what Adventure Training is all about! After most days we went to a café or pub to catch up with the other group and see how everyone was progressing.
The next day everyone woke up really sore! It was a great day for skiing and we all felt we progressed well. The black run was a little steep though! It was Musn Griffith’s birthday so she was presented with a delicious looking cake while in the café that afternoon and we celebrated that evening!
As our group was doing Ski Proficiency Level 2 we got to learn about avalanche reports. Quite interesting, but a little scary! That day’s skiing went really well and our group conquered a really difficult black run, as well as some jumps.
We also had the opportunity to try something different… touring. It’s a type of uphill skiing, so that you can get to places normal skiers can’t. You have “skins” attached to the bottom of your ski to stop you sliding backwards. There’s a special sort of turn that you have to do, called a kick turn, but I wasn’t very good at it. I ended up on my bum quite a few times! Our plan was to tour up to a café and then ski back down. It was hard work and it took us about two and a half hours to get up there…and when we did the place was shut!!! Nonetheless we stopped for our packed lunch and took in the amazing views.
Our last day of skiing was upon us and we had the challenge of going off piste! There was lots of falling over from everyone…including our instructor, and I managed to ski straight into a tree and cut my chin! After our challenging morning we had a free ski that afternoon and along with Musn Thompson, I had a great time zooming down a few final slopes.
We had a very long journey back, this time completed in one day, and after one day off we were back in work, doing a long full band rehearsal. This was in preparation for the week we’ve just had.
Our first engagament of the week was a Boxing night at The Royal Military Academy,Sandhurst. The band played really well and I enjoyed the event. The boxers and Officer Cadets all seemed to enjoy themselves too! 2 days later we were at Winchester Cathedral for the Mayor’s Charity Concert. The proceeds for this concert went towards three charities, including Care for Casualties. The acoustics in the cathedral were great and the sound of the band boomed around. It was a late night and then an early morning with a Pass Off Parade with 127 junior soldiers!
Our final engagement of the week before we went on leave was for the Commanding Officer’s Dine Out. After some dinner music and a funny fanfare it was time for the after dinner entertainment. Musn Neat and LCpl Phillips returned to us from their new band of The Adjutants General’s Corps to play “Time to Say Goodbye” and “Loves farewell”, a fitting tribute to the CO.