Busy Porter enjoys London performances...

Andrew Porter has enjoyed two memorable weekends of music making — at the Coronation and the crowning of a new Senior Cup champion..

British Army
  The musicians went through extensive rehearsal before the event

It has been a very busy couple of weeks for conductor Andrew Porter — both in his professional and brass banding musical life.

Not only did he play a central part alongside colleagues in the British Army Brass Bands with their involvement in the Coronation of King Charles III, but a few days later he was in Blackpool deciding who would be crowned in the Senior Cup at the British Open Spring Festival playing 'A London Overture'.

Historic occasion

In his role of Director of Music he led the British Army Band Tidworth, which has already been involved in major state occasions such as Changing of the Guard and the funeral of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in participating in the Coronation Day events in London.

Joining colleagues from the British Army Band Catterick and the Band of the Prince of Wales alongside the Royal Marines, Royal Air Force and Royal Corps of Army Music on parade, the band marked a moment in the history of Army Music.

The huge massed brass band was the first ever to be directly involved with a Coronation, forming part of Procession Group Six — not too far away from the iconic gold State Coach carrying King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

Weeks of planning

Andrew revealed that it was the culmination of two weeks of intense rehearsals that comprised approximately 130,000 minutely planned steps from each of the 80 musicians; some 60 miles in distance — all the while playing music.

The worldwide event was hailed as a remarkable spectacle; the grandeur and pomp aided by the professionalism and excellence of all who took part — with the music making playing a central role throughout the day.

There were unique elements to the parade generating many memorable moments, not least how the 7,000 plus soldiers dressed in full ceremonial uniforms descended on London by train for rehearsals in the early hoursAndrew Porter

Memorable moments

Andrew told 4BR: "The bands were thoroughly rehearsed and prepared. There were unique elements to the parade generating many memorable moments, not least how the 7,000 plus soldiers dressed in full ceremonial uniforms descended on London by train for rehearsals in the early hours."

The music performed included 'Coronation Bells' (Partridge); 'The Bond of Friendship' (MacKenzie-Rogan); 'Holyrood' and 'The Great Little Army' (both by Kenneth Alford).

Andrew said that many of the wind band originals were transcribed for the brass bands by Tidworth's Musician Kyle Blake — also a performer with a proud brass band background.


Andrew added: "Each and every soldier involved was proud to be on parade and to take their place in a historic event. Tidworth were particularly delighted that they also had musicians from the Commonwealth, including Uganda and Australia.

It was an immense honour to be involved and I have total admiration for all the musicians working with wholehearted commitment to be at their best when representing Army music."

British Army Band Tidworth carried on their public events with a performance at a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, with another brace to follow before a little treat as they perform at the forthcoming FA Cup Final at Wembley.

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