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News > OH News > The Band of His Majesty's Royal Marines Collingwood in Canada

The Band of His Majesty's Royal Marines Collingwood in Canada

Sam Hairsine (OH 1994-97), Director of Music of The Band of His Majesty's Royal Marines told us about their recent trip
26 Jul 2023
Written by Sam Hairsine
OH News

Defence Engagement may mean very little to most readers. Think of it as UK Defence making friends and influencing people. It’s also called soft power, to contrast with the hardware and weaponry most people associate Defence with. Music has an incredible ability to cross cultural boundaries and The Band of His Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood recently had the opportunity to exercise this at the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo 2023.

Held in Halifax, Nova Scotia the Tattoo performs to c.45,000 people over six shows. This year we were part of the opening, act one and main finales, had our own display, and provided a street band, fanfare team, fiddle player and Corps of Drums as well. It’s tricky to demonstrate the range of what we’re capable in a six and a half minute marching display, so we were grateful for all the exposure during the show. The display was still pretty diverse, though, featuring music by the renowned collective Two Steps From Hell, a Corps of Drums display and traditional British marches, all while creating some great shapes!

The street band is our newest capability and we were delighted to get a slot to show it off. Designed to be a fun, accessible ensemble to engage with different audiences (such as schools) they performed their version of ‘Sweet Caroline’. We made sure it was well known in Canada but as luck would have it, it is performed in the same arena at every home ice hockey game! The reception was fantastic, and I think there aren’t many things that bring a group of people together more than the opportunity to belt out an old favourite.

We also crafted an opportunity for our world-famous Corps of Drums to perform with the Top Secret Drum Corps, an incredible outfit from Switzerland. This year their individual display included indoor fireworks and setting their drumsticks on fire! With only a couple of hours together our Corps of Drums put all their individual preparation together with Top Secret into an immaculate and very well-received display.

We made sure that the trip was a memorable one by building in time to look round Halifax and the surrounding area, and by socialising with the rest of the cast. It’s great to get time away as a band, and 13 days away let us get to know each other better, have a great laugh, and make some memories. Our newest member only left training two days before the trip, and has since played in Westminster Abbey, Westminster Gardens, HMS SULTAN and more for (among others) two former Prime Ministers, over 200 MPs, a global PR agency and our friends The Music Man Project, with whom we got in the Top 10 with our Christmas single!

If you’d like to know more about the amazing things we’re up to please follow us on our social media channels by searching for The Bands of HM Royal Marines (Official).

www.royalmarinesbands.co.uk

 

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