ROYAL Marines musicians set the bar high for the rest of their careers with an unforgettable concert to mark the end of their training.
A total of 21 marines, who have been studying for three years at the Portsmouth-based Royal Marines School of Music, put on a show at Portsmouth Guildhall last night.
It was followed by an impressive Beating Retreat ceremony in Guildhall Square watched by hundreds.
Musician Craig Sanders, 19, was presented on stage with the Prince’s Badge, marking him as the best all-rounder to complete training.
He said: ‘I was very excited – it’s brilliant to receive it.
‘It was a brilliant concert and it was one of the best gigs I have ever done in my life and probably ever will.
‘I really enjoyed my training. It was hard but worthwhile and getting to end of it and moving on now is great.’
Director of music Major Jon Ridley and bandmaster Warrant Officer Freddie Lomas conducted the musicians. It was a significant performance for WO Lomas, as it was his last day in the service after 25 years.
He said: ‘This is a sad day for me but also a happy one, as these boys and girls are the future of the Royal Marines band service.’
Maj Ridley added: ‘Their performance was absolutely electric. It was superb and I am proud of them all.’
Vice-Admiral David Steel, the Second Sea Lord, presented a number of awards to a group of Royal Marines musicians who were selected for efforts during training.
And he revealed to the audience at Portsmouth Guildhall that the Royal Navy will create a new Royal Marines band – the Fleet Band – in line with the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth.
There are currently five Royal Marines bands, including those at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth and HMS Collingwood in Fareham.
Hundreds of people watched the ceremony in Guildhall Square last night which followed the full concert inside.
Jenny Steward, 36, from Albert Road in Southsea, said: ‘It was fantastic to see. You feel proud watching them.’
These marines received awards for their achievements:
- The Prince’s Badge: Musn Craig Sanders;
- Musical Efficiency Award for best all-round musician: Musn Daniel Bennett;
- Bugle Major’s Trophy for best all-round bugler: Bug Steven Booth;
- Ken Mettyear Memorial Cup for best exam: Musn Reuben Tompkins;
- Barham Trophy for best exam: Bug Ben Streeter;
- Lady Dunn Award for outstanding contribution: CSgt Dougie Clarkson;
- Stewart Award for consistent achievement: Musn Reuben Hanna;
- Colin Abraham Award: Musn Tom Brock;
- Bandmaster’s Award of Excellence: Musn Chris Beal.