More than 400 musicians from 16 military bands will feature at nine Olympic and five Paralympic venues during the Games period, including on The Mall, in support of the marathon, and at Eton Dorney for the rowing, adding a quintessentially British flavour to proceedings.
Music performed will include modern and contemporary songs, those traditionally associated with the military, as well as classical pieces and well-known popular tunes; all aimed at creating a fun and uplifting atmosphere, personalised for each venue.
Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) Neil Skipper, Band Master for the Grenadier Guards, part of the Corps of Army Music, will be entertaining crowds on The Mall. He said:
The Olympics will provide the opportunity for the Grenadier Guards band to perform music on an international scale.
Traditional military music is played here in London on an almost daily basis, but for the 2012 Olympics it will add the ceremonial sparkle to this iconic event.
Flight Lieutenant Richard Murray, Director of Music for the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, explained more about how the music has been chosen:
We worked with LOCOG [the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games] on a number of themes including Best of British, and we are also including a range of songs that will really appeal to the crowds; so, songs from the musicals, big chart hits, and those with a lively, jazzy tempo.
Representing the Royal Air Force we have, of course, included a few with a flying connection,” he added.
Band Corporal Nick West, from the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood, will be playing the trombone at Eton Dorney. He said:
2012 is proving to be an unforgettable year. I played at Windsor as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and I am now playing the trombone at Eton Dorney for the Olympics.
I am extremely proud to be representing the Royal Marines and the Royal Navy, and cannot wait for the Games to begin!
These performances continue the proud tradition of military personnel performing at previous Olympic Games hosted by London. In 1908 the Olympic Games were opened by a fanfare by State Trumpeters from the Life Guards. At the 1908 Games, the Irish Guards sounded bugle calls to signal the start of various processions of competitors, and at the 1948 Olympics, the Massed Bands of the Brigade of Guards performed at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
2012 has been a busy year for military musicians who played at numerous events to support the Diamond Jubilee, including the parade and muster at Windsor, the Thames River Pageant, a fanfare at St Paul’s Cathedral, and along the carriage route to Buckingham Palace after the Service of Thanksgiving. They will also be out in force this weekend as part of Armed Forces Day celebrations on Saturday, 30 June.
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