The last weekend in April saw us on our, by now traditional, spring visit to Clandon
Park House, home to the Queen’s Royal Surrey Regimental Museum. The museum is an
inspiring location for the first real run through of our display routine for the
Fortunately this year someone had hidden the Drum Major’s ‘nasty pills’, so the morning’s
practice passed off relatively quietly. Our attempts at crown counter-marches threatened
to disturb the calm but otherwise it was an effective practice in the spring sunshine.
The early afternoon saw us kitted up and ready to go on. Despite the serious worldwide
shortage of metal polish, almost everyone in the Corps paraded with bright shining
Our friends the 2nd (Queen’s Royal) Regiment of Foot, 1809, a group that re-creates
the life of a British regiment of line infantry during the Napoleonic Wars, were
encamped on the grass behind the display area. Their white tents, Regimental Colours,
varied uniforms and ladies in Empire line dresses made a colourful backdrop to our
At the Drum Major’s command we marched on playing Galanthia to a good-sized crowd
of spectators. Halting facing the House, we then brought our bugles up for the fanfare
Westminster. As the last bugle note faded away the drummers brought us in to the
King of the Fairies and we stepped off in slow time.
I for one was relieved when we broke into quick time for Euterpe and the Songs of
the First World War medley. Slow marching on the sloping gravel took so much of my
concentration I didn’t have much left over for playing the tune.
Our circling and re-forming while playing Euterpe and the WW1 medley passed off smoothly
and ended with us marking time and halting ready for The Jigs. The second time through
the Jigs medley our new Bass Drummer, Mark Leworthy, cranked the speed up nicely
and we ended the last jig, Rakes of Mallow, flat out.
We then marched off to Sussex By The Sea, acknowledging our Cinque Ports roots. If
anyone in the crowd of spectators was relieved to hear the last of us they were in
for a disappointment. We immediately counter marched and struck up The British Grenadiers
to lead on the 2nd (Queen’s Royal) Regiment of Foot, 1809 for their drill and firing
display. (see You Tube for the march on URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4teZq5NwDo
Moving to the lawn at the back of the House we then set up our music stands for a
static performance. This differed from previous years in two respects – no side-drums
and no ‘Kids Korner’.
With our Side and Bass Drummers away practising their drum beating piece, it was
left to those stalwarts of our percussion section, Brian Winchester and Chris Morgan,
to carry us through our static session. Once we’d got used to the pleasantly restrained
drum and cymbal accompaniment, we fluters thoroughly enjoyed ourselves ‘playing from
Somehow the assorted maracas, tambourines and castanets that we rely on to lure youngsters
into accompanying us for our ‘Kids Korner’ tunes had gone astray. Given the almost
total lack of children at the performance, this turned out not to be a problem.
After playing a good selection of marches including Prussia’s Glory, Hazelmere, Trumpet
Tunes and Mighty Band of Brothers we retired for ‘char and wads’ kindly provided
by museum curator Ian Chatfield.
The spectators at The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regimental Museum had given us a good
reception in the sunshine. Our next ‘Queens’ audience may be rather more critical
– we’re playing for ex-members of 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Regiment, at their annual
Reunion in Herne Bay.