REHEARSALS are underway as talented musicians prepare to graduate from the Royal Marines School of Music.
A concert will be held on Saturday at Portsmouth Guildhall to mark the end of three years hard work.
The 17 musicians have spent this week practising for the concert and the beating retreat at the music school based at Portsmouth Naval Base.
Once graduated, they will join one of five Royal Marines Band around the UK including Portsmouth and HMS Collingwood, in Fareham.
Richard Sharpe, 22, will be joining the band in Portsmouth. The percussionist was named Young Musician of the Year 2016. He said: ‘I feel ecstatic about graduating. Coming from a training institute and then to here, is great. The facilities here are excellent.
‘I have spent three years now preparing and going out to a band will give me the opportunity to play the music I am looking forward to playing. It should be great fun to do some great gigs and travel. I am very happy to be graduating.
I feel ecstatic about graduating.Richard Sharpe
‘I am looking forward to coming to work and rehearsing for concerts and all the engagements we will get to do.
‘It is quite an exciting thing and with this job no two days are the same. It is unpredictable and will be totally different to what I have experienced so far.’
During their graduation, the musicians will perform in front of their family, friends senior members of the Royal Navy at a concert. Then, they will go outside to Guildhall Square and perform a beating retreat for the public. More than 60 musicians and buglers from the music school will perform.
Jess Garrod, who plays the flute and saxophone, will join the Royal Marines Band in Scotland once she has graduated. The 22-year-old, from London, said: ‘It feels really good to be graduating. Two-and-a-half years is quite a long time to be training but it is all worth it.
‘It is really exciting to know that soon I will be performing as part of a real band at some fantastic occasions and venues.’
Percussion instructor Colour Sergeant Mark Flintoft said it was great to see the musicians’ journey from auditioning to graduating.
‘It is great for me because I have been here since 2013 and saw them start out,’ he said. ‘They will be very excited at this point to be graduating.’