THOUSANDS of proud parents and friends gathered to watch newly-graduated musicians perform.
Performers who have finished studying at the world-renowned Royal Marines School of Music passed out in style in a Beating Retreat ceremony in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth.
It was their last chance yesterday to play with the school as they will soon be playing in one of the five Royal Marines bands in the country.
They were joined by instructors and others who haven’t finished their training yet.
The group played tunes including Rule, Britannia! Land of Hope and Glory and the national anthem.
VIP guests included Royal Marines officials and their partners, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Lynne Stagg and council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
Sarah Pascoe, 22, is joining The Band of HM Royal Marines Collingwood in September.
She said: ‘I have been waiting a long time for this. To perform in front of so many people is a great feeling. We have all been able to achieve what we wanted to.
‘There were moments that were emotional.
‘I’m feeling apprehensive about what happens next – it’s the same feeling you get when you start any new job.’
Harrison Marsh, 20, from the Isle of Wight, is joining The Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth.
His proud parents Steve and Tina came to watch him.
‘It’s been three years of hard work where most days have started at 7.30am and finished at 5pm.’
Major Jason Burcham, the director of music training at the Royal Marines School of Music, said he was incredibly proud of what everyone had achieved.
‘It’s amazing what they’ve been able to achieve in such a short amount of time,’ he said.
Earlier in the day the school held its annual concert at the Guildhall.
Today the graduates were set to be part of a private passing out parade which was due to be attended by Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral David Steel.