Marines take centre stage at Royal Albert Hall festival

PRIDE The iconic Corps of Drums during the show, conducted by Captain Ian Davis Picture: POA (Phot) Owen Cooban
PRIDE The iconic Corps of Drums during the show, conducted by Captain Ian Davis Picture: POA (Phot) Owen Cooban

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Royal Marines musicians from Portsmouth and Fareham wowed a packed audience of music-lovers over three nights at the Royal Albert Hall recently.

They were among 170 musicians on stage for the 44th Mountbatten Festival of Music, an annual event, which features three of the five Royal Marines bands – Portsmouth, Collingwood (Fareham) and Plymouth.

His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, as captain general of the Royal Marines, attended the Mountbatten Festival of Music on the Saturday evening.

The festival sees the Royal Marines showcase their incredible musicianship and pageantry and features a wide range of musical styles.

The audience was treated to a varied programme, including a medley of Michael Jackson hits, magical pieces from Walt Disney’s Fantasia, Big Band numbers and a host of superb solo performances alongside more traditional marches and overtures that have proved such a hit with audiences over the years.

The iconic Corps of Drums made a number of impressive appearances throughout the night.

More sobering tributes to those who served in the Gallipoli campaign and the Battle of Jutland featured in a moving premiere of a specially commissioned piece Remembering Jutland, written by ex-Royal Marines Bandmaster Michael McDermott, marking the centenary of the Battle of Jutland.

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace, principal director of music Royal Marines, said: ‘There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get on stage at the Mountbatten Festival of Music.

‘After months of planning, with members of the Royal Marines Band Service not just playing, but composing and arranging much of the music, to finally bring all three bands together and perform in front of a live audience at the Royal Albert Hall is not only humbling, but an amazing feeling of achievement coupled with a huge amount of pride in the Band Service.’

The festival raises money for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund and the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.