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RBR bandmaster hands over his baton

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Maestro: Royal Bermuda Regiment band leader Dwight Robinson (Photograph supplied)

Major Dwight Robinson has played a central role in scores of ceremonies and pageants both at home and abroad in the past two decades.

But after conducting the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band and Corps of Drums for almost 20 years, he has finally handed over his baton.

The veteran soldier has led Bermuda’s military band in tattoos in Australia and Scotland, has taken part in Far East and Caribbean tours, and represented the island at the Music Show of Nations in Germany.

Major Robinson has enjoyed celebrating the island and her people all over the world as well as on home soil.

The accomplished trumpet player said: “What is most notable for me is certainly playing for the home crowd.”

Among his memorable performances – as well as numerous Bermuda Day parades – is the unveiling of a statue of former Miss World Gina Swainson.

Major Robinson recalled: “That was a couple of years after she had actually won the beauty pageant but it was still an occasion where we were celebrating someone who has performed and achieved well on a global stage, much like we’re doing now with Flora Duffy.”

Major Robinson became bandmaster in 2003 and director of music in 2006.

He said: “I’m really proud to be a Bermudian and having the opportunity to celebrate us, whether it’s locally, whether it is on the international stage, that’s a great concern of mine and something that I’ve always tried to position the band into being able to do.”

Asked what was needed to make a good bandmaster, Major Robinson replied: “An appreciation of balance – work-life, particularly but also appreciating disparities in learning and the importance of matters to different people.

“Appreciating those differences and keeping the varied considerations in balance is important.

Pivotal role: Major Robinson pictured with the Governor during The Queen’s birthday celebrations (Photograph supplied)

“Music came naturally to me and appreciating that music and all of the elements around music don’t always come as naturally to everyone, so knowing how far to push an individual person, is something that would make a really good bandmaster.”

“Because this is a unique organisation that we work for, we kind of have to play both sides of a conversation. Yes, I have to be empathetic to you as a fellow musician or as a subordinate musician, but at the same time, I also have to hold you responsible for the requirements of the organisation.

“Finding where that needle fits can be tricky.”

Major Robinson now has the post of career management officer – responsible for recruitment as well as the development and promotion of soldiers across the battalion.

Lieutenant Sheldon Fox was appointed to the regiment’s new role of band officer in September – and has had a hectic schedule since then.

The cornet player and his fellow musicians have been busy since his appointment in September.

Lieutenant Fox said: “Within the first week, Her Majesty had passed so we did the proclamation parade.

“We also had the Peppercorn Ceremony and the band has done community engagements pretty much on a weekly basis since September.

“We do private events and we’ve also gone out and played at the football game for the Royal Bermuda Regiment football team, so we went out and supported them with a little bit of music as they were playing.”

Lieutenant Fox attended the US Naval School of Music and graduated from the Senior Musician Course, Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2018. He completed a student bandmaster development course in Jamaica in 2019 but explained that as a composer and the band’s second-in-command for the past five years, his own musical arrangements were already used.

He attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England and was commissioned a lieutenant in December 2020. He now serves as the Band Platoon Commander.

He plans to work with other musical organisations on the island, visit schools and demonstrate that “music is a very important part of the fabric of Bermuda”.

Lieutenant Fox, who is also the bandmaster for the Salvation Army Bermuda Divisional Band and deputy bandmaster at North Street Citadel Corps, added: “This is something that I’ve always wanted to do and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to continue and give back to the community.”

“My main focus is developing my soldiers and taking care of them. That’s the overarching plan, moving forward.”

Looking ahead to the band’s role in Remembrance Day this week, Lieutenant Fox explained: “We have some set pieces that we play every year to look back, like specific marches that have either a victory feel or historical context.

“As they lay the wreaths at the Cenotaph, we tend to play music that’s appropriate, so a nice, solemn hymn or we look back to the great funeral marches of Beethoven or Chopin.”

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Published November 09, 2022 at 7:37 am (Updated November 09, 2022 at 7:37 am)

RBR bandmaster hands over his baton

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