Scarcely having to time to draw breath we hastened back to UK from Malta in time to catch our next commitment, probably one of our most important engagements of the entire year.We were most honoured to have been invited to play in Westminster Hall at the Corps Reception which followed the Massed Bands’ magnificent Beating Retreat display on Horse Guards Parade.Sadly that day David Cole was unable to be with us as he was otherwise occupied at an even more important event in Windsor Castle! However, we were most fortunate to secure the services of former Principal Director of Music Lt Col Chris Davies who clearly relished the invitation to return to Royal Marines music at a major Corps event, and of course we were equally delighted to see him and to be directed by him that evening.
The evening began with a specially composed fanfare by David Cole for HRH The Duke of Edinburgh titled ‘Diamond Jubilee’ written as a special tribute to mark his 60 years as Captain General Royal Marines. The band played this magnificent work as HRH entered Westminster Hall with the Commandant General timing it to perfection so that he reached the steps of the hall, where the band was positioned, as the last chord was sounded. Band President Admiral Sir Jock Slater then presented HRH with a leather bound copy of the score for which HRH was evidently was thankful and impressed.
The evening then continued with music and merriment the band competing valiantly with somewhat interesting acoustics in the hall which had been built in 1099 to host great state occasions, clearly well before any consideration had been given to the playing of music there! Nevertheless the occasion was both enjoyable and, from every point of view in this the Corps’ 350th anniversary year, hugely significant.