Musicians pay tribute to former First Sea Lord

MILITARY musicians paid tribute to a former head of the Royal Navy at a concert in Fareham

To celebrate their tenth anniversary as one of the country’s foremost wind bands, the Royal Marines Association Concert Band played at a packed Ferneham Hall in a joint performance with students from the Royal Marines School of Music, based at HMS Nelson.

The opening Fanfare to the First Sea Lord was written by Captain David Cole RM in tribute to the RMA Concert Band’s president and former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jock Slater.

Sir Jock, who attended the event along with many other high- ranking former naval and Royal Marines officers, took to the stage to open the programme.

He told the audience how proud he was to be the concert band’s president as they celebrated their tenth anniversary and wished the younger trainee musicians the very best in their new service careers.

The concert, conducted by both the Director of Music at the Royal Marines School of Music Major Pete Curtis MBE and the Royal Marines Association Concert Band’s new Director of Music Lt Colonel Chris Davies OBE included marches, featuring the famous RM Corps of Drums, an overture, a big band number, novelty items and several beautiful melodies.

Royal Marines Association Concert Band spokesman Derek Usher said: ‘Perhaps the most memorable parts of the evening were the solos by the young musicians.

‘First up was a xylophone solo The Joyful Skeleton brilliantly played by Owen Muir, followed later by Blaydon Races, a brilliant euphonium solo by Johnny Griffin that had the audience spellbound.

‘Later came the haunting and most beautiful composition Adagio for Trumpet, a work composed, arranged and played by the Royal Marines Association Concert Band’s principal trumpet Jon Yates BEM, who has only recently retired as the professor of trumpet at the RM School of Music).

‘Outstanding numbers were Rossini’s Italian Girl in Algiers, the big band number Sing Sing Sing featuring solos by the brilliant Dave Bromley (clarinet), and Jon Yates who gave an outstanding impersonation of Harry James’s original solo recorded around 1938.

‘Equally impressive, however, was a new work by Philip Sparke, Dundonell (from Hymn of the Highlands), followed by Breezin’ Down Broadway, a medley of several favourites from well-known stage and screen shows.

‘Finally, this excellent concert was rounded off with Goldman’s famous march Chimes of Liberty featuring Steve Tanner’s brilliant piccolo solo, the ceremonial favourite Prelude and Sunset, featuring the bugles of the Corps of Drums and Shillito’s Britannic Salute arrangement of Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.’

The audience included 65 guests including Fareham’s Mayor, Councillor Geoff Fazackarly, former First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh, the current Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Ben Key, Vice Admiral Sir Donald Gosling, the recently-appointed new Principal Director of Music Royal Marines Lt Col Jon Ridley, and the Chief Executive of the Royal Marines Association Brigadier Mike Ellis.

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