THEY’RE a familiar sight at navy ship homecomings, parades and celebrations.
And now musicians from Portsmouth’s Royal Marines School of Music have entertained an audience of more than 1,500 schoolchildren at the Kings Theatre.
The band of 40 musicians put on an ‘interactive concert’ in partnership with the Portsmouth Music Hub.
The band performed many recognisable tunes including music from Thunderbirds, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and Frozen.
Two lucky school children were asked to take the place of the Royal Marine conductor and conducted the band to huge applause from the young audience.
Assistant director of music Captain Andy Gregory conducted the band.
Capt Gregory said the marines musicians were delighted about being able to inspire the youngsters.
He said: ‘The Royal Marines School of Music is at its best in front of an enthusiastic and engaging audience, and more than 1,500 children didn’t disappoint.
‘They were excited, thrilled and ready to jump on stage and join us.
‘Developing people’s passion for music lies at the heart of the Royal Marines Band Service, and there really is nothing better than seeing so many young people experiencing a live concert and hopefully, working with Portsmouth Music Hub, we may be inspiring a new generation of musicians.’
Teachers got their moment of fame too as they took to the stage to try out their skills alongside drummers from the world famous Corp of Drums.
Milton Park Primary School teaching assistant Vicky Cornish said the pupils were thrilled at the chance to see the band perform.
Ms Cornish said: ‘It was a brilliant experience for the children.
‘Many of them just wouldn’t get the opportunity to see live music so to come here is fantastic for them.
‘There’s been a real buzz around school about coming here today.’
Nine-year-old James Kalnietis from Milton Park Primary School said the performance had made his birthday even more special than usual.
He said watching the professionals had encouraged him to keep learning music himself.
James said: ‘It was brilliant. So fun and exciting and like a little bit of a surprise for me because it’s my birthday today.
‘The best bit was at the very end because I really loved the tune.
‘I am learning to play the keyboard at school and I can play one tune really, really well.’
Musicians train for three years at The Royal Marines School of Music before joining one of the five Royal Marines Bands based around the country.
They are also trained to support on military and humanitarian operations across the globe. During operations they work as casualty handlers, drivers, radio operators and convoy protection.