Musician Paul Williams plays cornet in the Band of the Scots Guards, (Corps of Army Music) and is currently touring North America.
The Band of the Scots Guards (Corps of Army Music) and the Pipes, Drums and Dancers of 3 Scots (The Black Watch) have now been touring the United States for nearly seven weeks. So far we have played 33 shows in 32 venues. Mileage is fast approaching 10,000 and we have stayed in 31 hotels, covering 18 States. Nearly $38,000 has been raised in support of the Scots Guards Colonel’s Fund.
Our show, entitled British Isles of Wonder, provides the audience with a musical journey throughout the Home Nations. Music such as the Keel Row, Jerusalem, Men of Harlech and the Piper of Dundee are performed throughout the show. The Finale section starts with a Tribute to the Armed Forces which features the marches of the US Army, the US Navy, the US Air Force and finally the US Marine Corps. During the performance of these marches ex-members of these forces are invited to stand and be acknowledged by the remainder of the audience. The volume of the applause, whooping and cheering could only be heard in the US but is symbolic of the respect and thankfulness the American public feel for their Armed Forces.
The Finale piece itself was composed by Major Simon Haw MBE, our previous Director of Music. As well as Amazing Grace (a clear favourite with our audiences) it features the evening hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, the Last Post and its American counterpart Taps. This provides a fitting ending to our evening of British military pageantry.
On Tuesday 12 February we performed at the the University of Illinois in Champaign- Urbana. On this occasion, our performance of the Finale was particularly moving as it was dedicated to Sergeant Shawna Morrison US Army, a graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, who was killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.
We have been really fortunate to fit in some sightseeing too either on our few days off or on stops on journeys between hotels. We have been able to visit Graceland (the home of Elvis Presley) as well as the Gateway to the West, a horseshoe shaped building in St Louis representing the beginning of the West of the USA.
The quality of the venues and the warmth of the audiences have not ceased to amaze us and we count it a privilege to represent the British Army and the UK in such a way.