Military music fest at Dockyard
An afternoon of entertainment from the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s Band & Corps of Drums reinforced by civilian musicians yesterday closed Heritage Month on a high note.
The audience of hundreds in the Victualling Yard in historic Dockyard was enthralled by a mix of military tunes, jazz, orchestral performances and pipes and drums.
Major Dwight Robinson, the regiment’s director of music, and the RBR band started the concert with a selection of classics performed by modern-day and veteran former regiment musicians.
Musician Gabriella Ratteray, 17, who plays flute and piccolo, is the youngest member of the Band & Corps of Drums and signed up more than two years ago.
She said: “I wasn’t really nervous, but I was surprised to see so many people.”
Musician Ratteray, a Bermuda Institute pupil from Sandys, added: “It’s important to keep music in the regiment going, especially the junior programme.
“It’s an important part of the RBR — it’s not the regiment without the band.”
Drummer Sam Webel, 18, from Paget, said: “I enjoy being in the band, meeting new people. Not just people my age, but from across the community.”
He added: “The turnout for the concert was amazing. It’s testament to what the regiment represents and what the band is.”
The performance was watched by former Sergeant Rodwell Wade, 73, who was a founding member of the band after the Bermuda Militia Artillery and the Bermuda Rifles merged in 1965 and who served for about 30 years.
Mr Wade, from Pembroke, said: “I thought it was very good to see all the young players and it was really nice to hear they’re trying to get more young people in — the band has always been a very important part of the regiment.”
The concert also featured the Bermuda Youth Orchestra and the String Collective alongside the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band.
Major Robinson said: “It was a fantastic turnout by the public — I was surprised and delighted. It was a wonderful summer’s day for the end of Heritage Month and this celebration concert.”
He added: “The Band & Corps of Drums is not only the public face of the regiment, but the element that connects us to our community service role.
“It’s a heartfelt connection — people like hearing the music and they relate that good experience to the rest of the regiment and gives them a feel-good factor about the organisation and its ability to serve our country.”
Marisa Stones, who works for the Government, watched the show with sons Liam, 11, and Seamus, aged 6.
But she admitted she might be biased as husband Sergeant Aidan Stones did double duty as he wore his regiment cap as a clarinettist and a Scottish Glengarry as Pipe Major of the BIPB.
Dr Stones, from Sandys, said: “It’s great to be out again after restrictions were lifted and have so many people here and it was lovely to have the strings showing the development of the youth with the orchestra and with the RBR band.
“It was wonderful. I’ve missed things like Beating Retreat ceremonies so much and it was great to hear the Regimental March at the end. Things are getting back to normal.”
Sergeant Stones, a 26-year veteran of the RBR, added: “It was hot, but I enjoyed it. It was a great concert and it all went very well.”
He added: “The band is a crucial part of the RBR’s image and it ensures we carry on the traditions of the regiment and provide a morale boost and support for the troops.”