IT’S been a long three years, but the hard work has paid off as these talented musicians prepare to celebrate graduating from the Royal Marines School of Music.
The musicians have completed their intense musical training at the world-renowned school in Portsmouth.
Now the 17 graduates will go on to join one of the five Royal Marines bands around the UK.
Four of them are due to join the Royal Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth and a further four will join the HMS Collingwood Band in Fareham.
Sophie Perriem, 27, plays the clarinet. She said: ‘It’s the closing of a chapter. It took me five years from getting my music degree.
‘I had to have laser eye surgery because I failed an eye test and I have lost some weight as well.
They should be so proud of themselves. They have to work extremely hardMajor Jon Ridley
‘So it means a lot to know that I have got through basic music training to get to this point to be doing what I have wanted to be doing since I was 14.’
Jack Lewis, 19, plays the bass trombone. He added: ‘It’s been a long time coming. I have been here for three years now.
‘I’m glad to finally be passing out. It makes you feel very proud to finally be deemed good enough to be able to do your job.
‘It means so much. It’s not really a job – I do it for fun and I get paid on the side.
‘I can’t fault it. We get to wake up every day thinking “I’m going to play my trombone with the best musicians in the world”.’
Major Jon Ridley is the director of music at the school.
He said: ‘It’s special for them. They will have completed between two and three years of training at the Royal Marines School of Music in preparation for them joining one of the five bands throughout the country.
‘It’s important that they are trained to such a high standard so that they can join one of the Royal Marines bands and perform in the many ensembles that we demand of them all around the world.
‘They should be so proud of themselves.
‘They have to work extremely hard and have a considerable amount of talent to pass the exams which mean that they can join one of the bands.’
They formally pass out of training on Saturday at a concert where family, friends and senior members of the Naval Service will gather to see the graduates perform together for the final time.
The concert takes place at Portsmouth Guildhall at 2pm. It will culminate in a Beating Retreat ceremony in Guildhall Square from 5pm, which will be performed by more than 70 musicians and buglers from the school.
Visit portsmouthguildhall.org.uk or call 0844 8472362 to buy tickets.