Bands from three nations rehearse for joint Beating Retreat

HMS Illustrious leaves Portsmouth for the last time
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THREE nations came together for the rehearsal of unique show.

The Royal Marines Massed Band, along with their counterparts from Holland and America, spent the day practising for a special show which takes place in London tomorrow.

Bands from the Royal Marines, The American Marines and the Dutch Marines have been working together at Whale Island.''Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141636-4)

Bands from the Royal Marines, The American Marines and the Dutch Marines have been working together at Whale Island.''Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141636-4)

The three countries will be performing the Royal Marines Beating Retreat together for the first time and, to ensure it all goes smoothly, they spent Saturday rehearsing at HMS Excellent on Whale Island.

Led by Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace, principal director of music, Dutch chief conductor Peter Kleine-Schaars and American band officer Jack Davis, the musicians practised their routines for the show.

Lt Col Grace said: ‘We came together with our Dutch and American counterparts, for the first time ever, to rehearse for the Royal Marines Beating Retreat celebrating our 350th anniversary.

‘The bands only met on Saturday but the rehearsals went okay.

‘Seeing as it was the first time, they picked up what we want them to do fairly quickly.

‘It’s not too much of a complicated routine but with 350 musicians including drummers and buglers on the parade it is just about getting it together.

‘It was a bit of a headache on Saturday but I am sure we will get through it by tomorrow.’

Around 50 musicians from both Holland and America have joined the Royal Marines band and they were happy with the rehearsals.

Major Kleine-Schaars said: ‘It was impressive to perform at HMS Excellent with all the other musicians.

‘It was interesting to see how the other bands work and I’m looking forward to the performance in London.’

Chief Warrant Officer Davis added: ‘The rehearsals were great.

‘It is really exciting to be over here performing with the others and we are all looking forward to the show.’

The three bands will be travelling up to London today for a final rehearsal before the first performance tomorrow at the Horse Guards Arch.

On Wednesday, they will be performing in front of Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.