Whilst information on British Army Bands is readily available; due to Brexit, there’s been such a dominance of headline news, one gets the feeling (as it’s certainly not been widely trumpeted) that the major overhaul/re-grouping of British Army Bands in 2019 could have slipped under the radar – I thought it might be useful to let BBICO News followers know some facts.
A Reshape of British Army Bands in 2019
After this year’s summer break, the long planned reshaping of Army music took place; the ethos being that groups of bands would come together at locations already possessing a strong Army presence. The re-org now has Bands in the following locations together with sizes and capabilities, as follows:-
Household Cavalry Band based in Windsor. Type (strength) 64 with a Multi Capability (MCB) remit ie Mounted Band and Trumpeters: Symphonic Wind Band: with a further eclectic mix of ensembles within.
Foot Guards Bands (x 5) based in Central London. Type 54, MCB (not mounted obviously!)
Countess of Wessex String Orchestra based in Woolwich. Type 24.
The Band and Bugles of the Brigade of Gurkhas based in Shorncliffe, Type 54, MCB.
British Army Bands Sandhurst Type 54, MCB, incorporating the Bands of The Royal Corps of Signals and The Royal Logistical Corps.
British Army Bands Colchester Type 54, MCB,incorporating the Bands of The Parachute Regiment, The Queen’s Division and The Army Air Corps.
British Army Bands Catterick Type 53, Brass Band (BB), incorporating The Bands of the Royal Armoured Corps, The King’s Division and The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
British Army Bands Tidworth Type 53, BB, incorporating the Bands of The Royal Artillery, The Corps of Royal Engineers and The Adjutant General’s Corps.
The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland based in Edinburgh. Type 48, MCB.
The Band and Bugles of the Rifles based in Worthy Down. Type 48, MCB
Band of the Prince of Wales based at St Athan. Type 20, BB
Musical Training Arrangements
Those then, are the Bands Nationwide, but what of the training for incoming musicians to the Corps of Army Music?
With the closing of The Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall in 2020 (as mentioned in our last post), musical training is planned to be split between Portsmouth, for the initial phase (co-located with HM Royal Marines) and one other location, probably utilising the facilities of the British Army Bands at Sandhurst, for advanced musical training and promotion related qualifications.
There’s bound to be a final farewell concert at Kneller Hall, sometime early summer 2020 I would think, so that really is something to lookout for.
Bands for Remembrance
There’s much happy band spotting to be had, at this time of National Remembrance, where Poppy appeals are widely supported by all three Services of the Armed Forces, especially that great gathering for the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall on the 9th November 2019, followed on Sunday the 10th by the solemn service at the Centotaph, where one can enjoy listening to Military Musicians from all three services performing at their very best – instilling dignity and pride into the Nation’s Act of Remembrance of the fallen, from both World Wars and more recent conflicts. We will remember them.