RMSM Open Day ~ August 2008
Courtesy Graham Hoskins - see letter at end of this page
wife and I have just returned home after several days away during which
time we were able to attend the RMSM Open Day held at Portsmouth Guildhall
on Friday last. It was a remarkably enlightening day. I can only think
that it is the injection of so much female talent into the Band Service
these days that has allowed the standard to become so truly inspiring.
Beautifully controlled and sensitive playing of difficult works that
were made to appear easy. Delightful sounds produced with delicate assurance
and clarity that I have not heard from uniformed personnel before. There
is no doubt at all in my mind that the standard of playing of youngsters
today, in both orchestra and band, is infinitely better than it ever
was in my time and that I never at any time achieved a matching pinnacle.
The afternoon began with the orchestra and its programme included the overture to The Arcadians where the lilting musical style of a different age was immediately apparent with delightful rhythmic accuracy achieved without emphasis. After the presentation of numerous prizes, with each recipient also briefly featured in an overhead screen interview in which they gave their views of the training cycle in which they had been involved over the preceding months, the Big Band showed its prowess. It was under the direction of the lead trombone of the BBC Big Band who is also Professor of Trombone at the RMSM. The music of Cole Porter and Glenn Miller was splendidly portrayed. After an interval the Concert Band took over the stage for a programme of varied music that showed the versatility of the young players and the confidence with which they have become imbued. The whole afternoon was under the direction of Major Mike Dowrick whose relaxed presentational skills made for a most entertaining afternoon. Having had time to change into full ceremonial uniforms the young musicians marched on to the Guildhall Square for Beating Retreat. This was exciting and adventurous both in music and movement with the Corps of Drummers and Buglers adding their particular sparkle to an immensely satisfying afternoon. We have always said the Royal Marines School of Music may be unique in the world but now, after what I witnessed on Friday, I know that it is. Shout it with pride from the rooftops for there is little these days than can genuinely be deemed better in every way than it used to be. The Band Service of the Royal Marines most definitely is and I hang onto its coat-tails with pride.
With all best regards.
Richard Valentine -1996 - 2008© - All rights reserved