RMSM Open Day ~ August 2008
Courtesy Graham Hoskins - see letter at end of this page

My 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.

There is such confidence on display these days and everything is achieved without visible effort. I was totally impressed by all I saw. Indeed I am unsurprised that the Open Day & Prize giving event was open to the public as a sell-out all ticket affair attended by a whole clutch of senior Royal Naval and Royal Marines officers. The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth was present and he allowed his parlour to be used for VIP refreshments during an interval in the afternoon's entertainment. The Guest of Honour was no less a person than Admiral Sir Jonathan Band, First Sea Lord and thus our senior sailor. It is quite obvious that the hierarchy of both the RN and RM are these days deeply conscious of the valuable PR commodity they have in their hands in the shape of the Band Service.

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.


I feel that it is important for us all to both acknowledge and thank our erstwhile Principal Director of Music, Lt Col Graham Hoskins for his illuminating remarks concerning both the Walmer Green Memorial Bandstand, and the RMSM open day at the Portsmouth Guildhall. I'm sure that we all share his pride at the constantly improving standard of playing which is clearly demonstrated with each record and performance. The advent of female players has clearly been of utmost importance in this phenomonen. God bless'em. I remember that when I was at the Royal Academy, almost all of, with some major exceptions, the best woodwind students were females. I longed for the day when some bright spark would see that they were inducted into the Band Service. Of course, the men too, are their equals.

So to all of them, men and women, and the highly credentialled Officers and NCOs who have to put them through their paces Good Luck and a grateful thanks from someone who has seen it all, having joined the RNSM sixty seven year ago.

Captain. L.T. Lambert, MVO. RM Retd.


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