News article

Saturday concert for the Macedonian Down Syndrome community

This world location news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Group of British military musicians hold a concert at the British Residence for members of the Down Syndrome community in Macedonia.

A team of five military musicians delivering a four day bi-lateral activity with the Band of the Macedonian Armed Forces in Skopje broke away from their busy schedule to support the Down’s Syndrome community in Macedonia on Saturday.

The British personnel are drawn from various military bands but are supporting The Band of The Prince of Wales’s Division Brass Band based within 160 (Wales) Brigade in Wales. It has recently been assigned as the UK’s affiliated band for Macedonia and other western Balkans countries. For the first time and in a unique arrangement, the British Army Bandsmen were reinforced by two military musicians from the Band of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic.

Captain Paul Collis-Smith said:

The team is delighted to be playing for families of the Down’s Syndrome community in Macedonia. Music is an international language and one that everyone can enjoy. It brings people together. I specifically arranged the pieces of music for today’s event as this is not a normal grouping of musical instruments.

Thanking the team for the splendid concert Mrs Veronique Garrett said:

We are very grateful to the team for supporting the valuable work of these volunteers in promoting the support mechanisms for families in Macedonia affected by the disability. It is especially pleasing to see a strong and united turnout from families of the Down’s Syndrome community and I am grateful to Mimoza Petrevska for helping to gather everyone for this short notice event.

Speaking on behalf of the Down’s Syndrome community Mrs Violeta Kuzanova-Koleva thanked the British Ambassador and Mrs Veronique Garrett for hosting the concert and for their ongoing support to the families in promoting their work within Macedonia.

When I heard it was a concert of military music I was unsure of what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised by the soft music from Mozart to Sondheim and the beautiful way in which it was played. In their descriptions of the instruments and the pieces of music everyone learned something new and we have all had a wonderful experience.

The musicians are Corporal David Coombs from The Band of The Prince of Wales’s Division; Lance Corporal Peter Batai from the Irish Guards Band, Musician Michael Farthing from the Yorkshire Band and 1st Lt David Prchly with 1st Lt Jan Pohoraly from the Czech Republic. Lt Nikola Velkovski from the Macedonian Armed Forces Band also joined the group to assist with interpreting the compere.

The team leaves Macedonia on 29 March and looks forward to continuing to build the links and relationships with Macedonia and the region. As part of the close defence relations between Britain and Macedonia further visits are planned for later in the year.

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