Top brass hit right notes with pupils

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The Army’s first-ever professional brass band got the wind up before its concert debut in Lancashire.

The honour of watching the historic first performance fell to youngsters at a primary school at Weeton Barracks near Preston – some of them children of nervous band members.

One pupil tries his hand at conducting

One pupil tries his hand at conducting

“It was a good debut for us to do before we hit the road for real next week,” said director of music Capt Justin Matthews. “There was a bit of pressure on because a few of the soldiers have children at the school and their wives and partners were also watching.

“But it was nice because, as professional musicians, the people you get to perform in front of the least are your family. For them to be able 
to come and see what we do was terrific.”

The Band of the Kings Division is one of three brass bands recently formed in a major restructuring of the Corps of Army Music. The shake-up has also produced three pop groups and a string orchestra.

“We all belong to the Corps of Army Music and the reason for the reorganisation was not, as many people suspected, financially driven,” explained Capt Matthews.

“We simply needed to do it because we weren’t supporting the Army to the best of our ability as we were.

“We wanted to provide more relevant music.

“As a result half of our band – all the woodwind section –left and last week we had a new half of brass players arrive.

“It’s been challenging, but exciting at the same time, getting ready for our debut within a matter of days.”

Even though the members of the band are professional musicians, they are still professional soldiers too. “First and foremost we are soldiers,” added Capt Matthews.

Following their successful debut at Weeton Primary School, the Kings Division Brass Band go off to perform in Wales and then Scotland in the next week.

They will also support the World War One Centenary and the D-Day Normandy landings anniversary – both in France – in the summer.