Just thought I'd drop you a few lines giving my personal thoughts
regarding the reunion last weekend because I know what I like.
As you know my wife Pam and I duly attended, Pam always looks forward
to meeting friends that she has become acquainted with over the years,
and I know she looks forward to the weekend and especially the music,
the display and the total friendship that emanates from all who attend
and perform for us, we feel very privileged.
We arrived at the Chief's mess at about 1900 and enjoyed a glass of
'Champers' (well that's what they said it was and it was free
so who's complaining?) and after saying hello to lots of friends
we were asked to make our way across to the Gym to witness the display
by the band, I'm never too sure if it is the junior band or the staff
band (do they have one at the School of Music?) but whatever, the
performance and musicianship is as always first class.
Two years ago the band raised the bar to an almost impossible height
(and all who were there will agree with me I'm sure), although
this year's display was excellent they had a very hard act to follow
BUT to my mind they gave their best and almost equaled it. I was a
little disappointed with the opening sequence, "Also Sprach Zarathustra"
and and would liked to have heard a little more ferocity in the forte
areas to emphasize the areas or dark, shade and blinding sunshine,
but maybe that's just me, having completed the opener, the band commenced
the ceremony of Beating Retreat and as such, I could not fault the
quality of the music, the dressing and the sheer excellence of the
display, it was in short, wonderful, and more than once, I found a
little lump forming in my throat (silly old sod!!), the Corps
of Drums were brilliant as usual, I say as usual because it's what
we come to expect of them, always brilliant, but, on this occasion
they had the edge on most of what I have ever witnessed, not only
that, when we came to Sunset the quality of the bugling in unison
was a joy to listen to (never thought I'd hear myself saying that)
but the clarity and tunefulness of the notes was second to none.
Col Grace then spoke to us for 10 minutes or so and made personal
mention of your good self which was nice because you put a lot of
work into keeping the website updated and I'm sure there are many,
many ex RMB's who look forward to reading the notice board and messages
from friends past and present.
On completion of the display we all made our way back to the bar to
swap stories with our many friends over a few pints, it was nice to
see a lot more wives, partners and girlfriends at the reunion this
year let's hope this keeps increasing year on year, there certainly
seemed to be a larger attendance this year keep it up everyone. The
bar was extremely well staffed by members of the band and to them
I give my heartfelt thanks, there was certainly no "waiting"
to be served this year.
Amongst many friends I met this year were Derek Usher, Dave Stockham
and their wives, Merv Durrant, Scotty, Olly (Tony) Oliver, Roger Hammond,
Mick Blandford, Stan Puttrell, Paddy Mailey, Hooky Walker, Tich Macleod,
Tich Trevis (all the way from Oz) Mick Hickman, another Olly
who said he used to sit next to me at Eastney back in 1983, sorry
Olly I still can't place you but I value your friendship oh and I
mustn't forget Mick Howarth my old mucker from Manadon days and Mick
Hutton also of Manadon fame, (those were the days) all those
I may have forgotten sorry boys, it's an age thing.
As the evening drew to a close Pam and I made our way back to the
Home Club to find the bar still open so we had another drink, a perfect
way to end a lovely evening......Hic!!!
In the morning we made our way to the Cathedral where we listened
to some lovely music by the orchestra conducted by Col Grace, the
opening piece was La Calinda by Delius a piece which I have never
heard before but it was delightful, this was followed by Clair de
Lune, a piece which took me back many years before I joined the band
service when I used to play it on the piano and drove my dad to the
pub!!. Next up was the Meditation from Thais and this was played as
a Violin solo by a young female musician whose name was not published
in the program but who, I can tell you, played absolutely exquisitely,
the notation, tuning and delivery were a pure delight to listen, I'm
sure this young lady has a wonderful career ahead of her, the orchestral
part of the service culminated in "Scenes Pittoresque" by
Massenet (movements 1,2 and 3), overall the orchestra was a sheer
pleasure to listen to, a big thank you to all the members of the orchestra.
The sermon was given by Rev Michael Meachin RN and was very interesting
and amusing, in parts, to include a military band vein weaving through
I was interested to read in the program that Elgar was born in 1957
and died in 1934 truly this was a man who surely died before his time!
Well, I guess I've exhausted all there is to tell and I apologise
if acute boredom has set in for those whose attention span is limited
but, I have to say, I know what I like, and, I LIKED THIS REUNION
see you all again next year,
I forgot to mention the singing of Sinatra favourites and others by
the Band Sergeant in the bar following the Beat Retreat, and the Dixie
band which got all our feet tapping I think we all were taken back
some years when we heard the favourites we've all played all those
All the best
the rear of the RMA on Sunday October 14th, 2012
to Right: Stan Puttrell, Pat Trevis, Steve Salmon, 'Knocker' White,
Alan Webb, Alan Walker, Bill Callow, 'Bubbles' Reynolds,
Mike Howarth, Alan Ham (hidden), 'Wally' Walters, Len Lewry, ?, ?,
Graeme Verroken, Tony Oliver, Bob Cummings, Phil Stevens,
Bill Cox (sitting), Bob Scarrett, ? Dave Hough, Tich McLeod, Alan
'Butch' Rutter, Bob 'Aggy' Willis, Dickie Valentine, Merv Durrant
(partly hidden), Mike Hickman, Terry wood, Ray Watts, ? Bob Graham,
Barry Pettitt, Roger Hollingworth.
do let me know and remind me of those question marks and fill in a
name. Thank you.
thanks to Dee Lindars, Pete Pendlebury & Bill Callow for the photographs.