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.
A strange sight!
We’re now back off leave and have been flung straight back into work. Our first day we did a Pass Off Parade at ATFC Winchester. The rehearsals went well, with the troop commanders dressing up and keeping the troops entertained! However, on the real parade they weren’t quite so daring and wore their uniforms. There were four troops passing out and we played many pieces to keep the family and friends entertained during the inspection, including the old favourite “Sir John Moore” and the slightly more modern “Haven’t Met You Yet”.
That Sunday we travelled down to Ash Ranges in Pirbright for a TA shooting competition. When we arrived the soldiers were waiting for the appearance of the targets and then running to the firing points and throwing themselves to the ground to shoot. After they’d finished shooting we played some incidental music to pass the time while points were being counted. Playing the piccolo was hard work due to the amount of wind. Every time I tried to play a note the wind blew and counteracted my efforts! We then marched with the winners being carried on chairs. A strange sight, but tradition!
In our first week back we only spent one day in the band block. During this time we had a lot of admin to catch up on and full band to do. This was then put to the test when the new Commanding Officer of our camp, Lt Col N A P Wright MBE Scots, came for a visit that afternoon and we played “Malaguena”.
On Wednesday we played for the Army Rugby Union finals in Aldershot. It was quite strange to be doing marching band through a field with the rugby players still doing their warm-ups around us! That evening we had the Band Serjeant Major’s leaving do. After 27 years in the army he’s leaving us and going on to do bigger and better things. This, of course, meant we had to give him a good send off with a few surprise guests, some embarrassing stories and gifts!
The following day, with a few people nursing hangovers, we got on the coach and travelled to ATR Bassingbourn for a Pass Off Parade the next morning. The accommodation left a lot to be desired, but it was only for one night! The next morning we had the rehearsal, and not to be outdone, the troop commanders dressed up here as well! The parade itself went without a hitch and there were many happy families watching their loved ones. As this was the BSM’s last job we had to play a joke on him and started playing a piece we knew he didn’t have! He saw the funny side and did very well in making up a part to fit.
This week we’ve been catching up on admin tasks as the brass quintet have flown off to Saudi Arabia. While they’re away we’re back on the task of re-cataloguing the library. This mammoth job has lasted a while but we’re almost there!!! We’ve also had a lad join us on work experience for a Look at Life course. This means he gets to experience exactly what a military musician does to see if he wants the job! He’s experienced a full band session, a brass 10 piece rehearsal (with a bassoon and saxophone filling in parts) and a very competitive game of basketball. Hopefully it’s been a useful experience for him and we’ll be seeing him in a few years’ time passing out of his phase 2 training and joining a band himself!