Sunday, 11 July 2010

Marines on the Green

There is a bandstand near where I live, in fact well within earshot.  Throughout the summer months there are concerts (free) every Sundays and occasional other days.  This Sunday we had a special concert from the Band of the Royal Marines Portsmouth.

The day started early, with the setting up.

Each individual microphone was tested - "forty three, tuba", "forty four, euphonium" - while they battled with the sound of the very strong wind.

Even with 4 hours to go, people were taking position, well equipped with chairs, tables and picnics, even umbrellas.  The umbrellas though, were for protection against the sun rather than the rain.

All the instruments arrived on the back of a lorry, all right, inside a lorry.  The bandsmen and women unpacked them and put them into position.

 Several groups of musicians rehearsed, including these five with their hand signals.

The crowds assembled and sat back to enjoy the concert.

The band played....

... the drummers drummed (and I saw the reason for the hand signals)...

... and the princesses did whatever princesses do.

It was a beautiful day and approximately 10,000 people attended.

You might be surprised at the number of people who were there, when the local population is only about 30,000.  The reason is that the Royal Marines established a depot in Deal in 1861 and in 1890 included 17 musicians at there.  They have been Freemen of Deal since 1945 which gives them a right to march through the town with fixed bayonets, drums beating and colours flying.

In 1950, the Royal Marines School of Music moved from Portsmouth to Deal.  In 1989 a bomb exploded in the recreation centre of the School of Music and 11 bandsmen died, the majority in their teens.  The bandstand was erected as a memorial to those who died, who "only ever wanted to play music".
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  1. I just love the Royal Marines band, perhaps my favourite piece is beating retreat.

  2. Beating the retreat is fantastic. They played a brand new march on Sunday, the Wootton Bassett March, as a tribute to the village where the people show such respect to the fallen service men and women. At one point you can hear the church bells sounding as as an aircraft flies overhead. It is really quite stunning.

  3. Thank you Adullamite. Strangely, I've never really aspired to write for the Daily Mail. :)

  4. Thanks for this interesting report.
    We as well love outdoor concerts like this.
    Great photos.

  5. Hi A. --

    Really like this entry. It's about one of those local thangs that many people won't give that much thought to, yet obviously gives quite a few people no small amount of pleasure. :)

  6. What a huge turnout! And such a nice day for it. How lucky you were to be there.


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