THE sounds of a spaghetti western filled the air as Royal Marines musicians showed off their skills to youngsters.
In a light-hearted workshop, 1,300 pupils from schools across the area got the chance to hear what The Royal Marines School of Music gets up to.
Children had lots of opportunities to join in with clapping games and audience participation, including taking over conducting duties.
The band of 40 Royal Marines musicians engaged them from the start, showcasing their skills performing many well-known tunes including the William Tell Overture and music from the film How To Train Your Dragon.
Three lucky youngsters were asked to take the place of the conductor – who has mysteriously gone ‘missing’ – and conduct the band to the Colonel Bogey March, receiving huge rounds of applause from the audience.
Solent Infants pupil Finlay Wilcocks, six, enjoyed the performance.
He said: ‘I liked it best when the conductor Sam tried to get back on stage but the man stopped him because the children had taken his place and were already conducting the band for him.’
Solent Infant School teacher Caroline Hurst said: ‘Giving children this opportunity has been fantastic.
‘There is nothing like seeing live music, you get a very different response to hearing it on CD.
‘The whole atmosphere from the lighting to the musicians on stage and the interactive nature of the concert was just brilliant.
‘The comedy elements engaged the children – it’s something they won’t forget.’
Musicians playing the trombone took to the stage dressed as nuns to perform I Will Follow Him from the musical Sister Act and two dressed as Mexicans for a trumpet stand-off performing A Fistful of Dollars from the popular film.
Assistant director of music and conductor of the band Lt Sam Hairsine was thrilled with the success of the workshop.
He said: ‘Reaching out to a new generation and nurturing a passion for music is at the very heart of the band service, and there’s nothing better than seeing enthusiasm and excitement on so many young faces.’