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The Household Division

Scarlet & Gold
Conductors: Lt Col K Roberts, Maj M Smith, Maj D Hammond, Maj S Haw, Maj I Johnson
Compere: Alasdair Hutton
Cadogan Hall, London
Thursday 7th December

The annual showcase of the 'All Star’ ensemble of the Bands of the seven Regiments of the Household Division packed a  substantial musical punch at Cadogan Hall.     

The second of two concerts also saw the final appearance as Senior Director of Music the Household Division of Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Roberts before taking up the most senior musical post in the British Army.

As curtain calls go, he couldn’t have wished for a better send off.

Sprightly step

It was an evening of highly polished, inventively presented music making - from the opening ‘Majestic’ fanfare played by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry Band to the sounds of ceremony with ‘When the Guards Are On Parade’ by Horatio Nichols, to send a well-satisfied audience into Sloane Square with a sprightly regimental spring in their step at the end of the night.

Just as impressive was the range of the chosen repertoire: Works from Malcolm Arnold and Pedro Iturralde to Thomas Doss and Nigel Hess in the first half; Grieg, Ravel, Harry James, Thierry Escaich, Morten Lauridsen and Peter Graham in the second.

Just as impressive was the range of the chosen repertoire: Works from Malcolm Arnold and Pedro Iturralde to Thomas Doss and Nigel Hess in the first half; Grieg, Ravel, Harry James, Thierry Escaich, Morten Lauridsen and Peter Graham in the second.

Flair and precision

Each was delivered with sharp edged precision, stylish flair and a fair old dollop of dry wit; from stirring first half elements of English pomp, exotic Iberian flamenco, Edwardian restraint, Austrian panache and ‘New London Suite’ homage (the latter accompanied by a clever big screen ‘travelogue’ presentation) to the post interval flavours of Norway, France, America and the Amazonian Rainforest.   

Individual excellence came with the quartet of classy soloists; Musn Stephen Shepherd (saxophone), Cpl James Sandalls (violin), Musn Ben Godfrey (trumpet) and the Household Division Saxophone Quartet, displaying their considerable talents in full, whilst the super-trouper spotlight also helped to illuminate the cracking contributions a host of others resplendent in the iconic scarlet and gold uniforms. 

Timely reminder

And less than 24 hours after the Royal Navy showed off their new warship to world, it was also a timely reminder to the bean counters in Whitehall (a mile or so up the road) of just how much they get in return for their money from the investment in professional musicians taking Her Majesty’s shilling. 

‘Septem Juncta In Uno’ (‘Seven Joined in One’) continues to show that they add up to a sum of music making that has just as considerable worldwide significance, prestige and excellence.    

Iwan Fox



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