Lance Corporal Rob Howe is a percussionist in the Band of the Scots Guards (Corps of Army Music) and has recently taken part in the Queen’s Birthday Parade (QBP) or better known as Trooping The Colour.
Trooping the Colour has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign since 1748, and has occurred annually since 1820. The Queen has attended ‘Troop’ every year of her reign except when prevented by a rail strike in 1955. Trooping the Colour allows the troops of the Household Division to pay a personal tribute to the monarch.
The Massed Bands of the Foot Guards, part of the Corps of Army Music, play an integral part in the QBP. Many say it’s the music that brings the parade to life with real pomp and pageantry. Some of the Massed Bands’ responsibilities are getting all the Guardsmen to Horse Guards Parade on time, provide music for various aspects of the parade and then escort the Queen back to Buckingham Palace.
Also taking part in the parade were the mounted Household Cavalry Bands, the Band of The Life Guards and the Band of The Blues and Royals. It was an impressive sight seeing the mounted bands arrive on Horse Guards in their splendid state dress as they provided music for the walk and trot past.
As the the Field Officer’s Trumpeter of the Sovereign’s Escort, Lance Corporal Ben Ruffer of the Band of The Life Guards had a key part on the day. Having amassed nine years’ experience as a State Trumpeter, his role on this occasion involved a number of trumpet calls and Royal Salutes as well as advising the Field Officer and Corporal Major with key details of the parade.
There is a wide range of experience in the Massed Bands, from junior musicians to Directors of Music (Officers). In the Band of the Scots Guards alone, we had 8 musicians taking part in their first QBP but our Band Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 2 Ralph Brill has taken part in many more!
Naturally, there are mixed emotions before participating in such a prestigious occasion. It’s exciting to be given the opportunity to take part in one of the world’s most famous parades, but also very nerve-wracking because the world is watching you and you do not want to mess it up!
Even though this was my 8th QBP, the novelty of taking part doesn’t wear off and to be given the opportunity to work with over 250 professional military musicians at such a high profile event is an honour and something I do not take for granted.
If you want to know more about a career in Army Music, visit our website where everything you need to know can be found including how to apply for one of the best jobs in the Army. http://www.army.mod.uk/music