Lance Corporal Damian Dunphy is a trombonist with the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band (HC&C Band), part of the Corps of Army Music based in Catterick, North Yorkshire. Prior to joining the HC&C Band on its formation in 2006 he was a member of the King’s Division Waterloo Band, and prior to that the Regimental Band of the Green Howards. He plays for a number of orchestras in the North East in addition to a number of brass bands; he is also the Musical Director of a local brass band and has conducted a number of other bands in the area.
Historic city of York – twenty one gun royal salute fired
Whilst the World’s gaze was firmly focused on London over the Jubilee weekend and on the fantastic spectacle of pomp and pageantry that graced the nation’s capital city, one might be forgiven for being unaware that Royal events were going on elsewhere in the country. (With the exception of the events in a certain teashop in the north east of England which made international headlines when the hosts ejected a couple of unsuspecting patrons for not standing up for the National Anthem!)
At Imphal Barracks in the historic City of York, preparations were quietly underfoot, as they are at least 6 times a year, for the twenty one gun Royal Salute fired from the City’s Museum Gardens. York has had a connection with the military since 71AD when the Romans established the first garrison in the City with their IX Legion; it was granted the honour of being the only saluting station in the North of England in 1971, when the City celebrated its 1900th birthday. As ever the understated and dignified serenity of this stately City masked the fact that the Gun Salute was about to become the starting gun on one of the biggest four day parties the City has ever seen. On this occasion the Salute was fired by soldiers from 103 Regiment Royal Artillery (V), who are normally based in the North West of England.
Ripon Cathedral service
On Sunday 4th June and still very much in a Royal celebration vein, the Band made the short trip to Ripon Cathedral to participate in a Service of Thanksgiving for the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen. The Band entertained a near capacity crowd on their arrival with a selection of music very much befitting the occasion. Laurie Johnson’s Vivat Regina and William Walton’s Crown Imperial added gloss to the occasion in a performance that saw the Band collaborate with Ripon Cathedral’s Assistant Director of Music, Edmund Aldhouse, who played the Cathedral’s magnificent organ. The Band also accompanied the Cathedral choir with rousing performances of Hubert Parry’s I Was Glad, Vaughan Williams’ fine setting of Old 100th and Gusav Holst’s I Vow to Thee. At the conclusion of the service the Band had something of a rare windfall in the shape of a couple of days off, giving many of the Band an opportunity to witness the national celebrations over Bank Holiday Monday and Tuesday, rather than participate in them!
Royal gun salute
On Monday 11th June the Band were back in the centre of York to perform once more in support of a Royal Gun Salute, this time the occasion was the birthday of HRH Prince Phillip, who fortunately had just recovered from a brief bout of illness. As ever the Band marched through the City from the front of the Cathedral, with a brief pause outside Mansion House to perform for the crowds, before marching into the Museum Gardens and entertaining the gathering crowds prior to the firing of the Royal Salute at noon. On this occasion the Salute was fired by troops from 5 Regiment Royal Artillery.
Armed Forces careers event, North East
With the ceremonial uniforms back in our lockers the Band spent the remainder of the week at the Armed Forces Careers Event, North East, which conveniently enough for us was at nearby Marne Barracks in Catterick. The events are a showcase for Forces Careers and combine a number of interactive exhibitions and activities from all kinds of trades across the Forces. Youngsters get to speak to soldiers about their careers whilst having a great day out. In addition to ‘high octane’ activities such as zip-lining and assault courses, there are arena displays showing infantry section attacks and thrills and spills courtesy of the White Helmets Motorcycle Display Team.
The Corps of Army Music send a team to each of these events wherever they occur and Bands from the Corps of Army Music provide musical support for the team. On this occasion the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band provided a concert Band to engage with local students in a number of musical workshops and to entertain the crowds at the nearby arena. Anybody interested in a career in Army Music can get in touch via the Corps website http://www.army.mod.uk/music