Page 120 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
P. 120

   The Director of Music conducts the Salamanca Band who provided music throughout the Queen’s Birthday Party
The Salamanca Band and Bugles formed up at Martyrs Alley, Azerbaijan
 Salamanca Band and Bugles
The Salamanca Band and Bugles continue to   tising our performance that evening in downtown
support 6 RIFLES and the Rifles Regimental Community with a large volume of Freedom Parades and reunions for the antecedent Regiments during the year, culminating in The Rifleman’s Gathering in July. But some of our most demanding and effective work during the year is done on behalf of the Government abroad tied to our partnered nations.
When the reader thinks about Defence Engagement they won’t immediately be thinking of music as the sharpest tool in the box. The Band and Bugles have been heavily involved in Defence Engagement activity in the South Caucasus for four of the last five years now, forging relationships with the military in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan with great success. If used correctly, music can create fabulous opportunities for PR, opening doors and winning hearts and minds on a national scale.
This year saw a party of 41 band members head to the region for their annual deployment. This was the largest team that we have deployed to date and allowed us to be flexible in our approach to each engagement and to match the sound made by many of the foreign bands we encounter in the Kavkaz region who often field bands up to 60 strong!
After arriving in theatre in the early hours on day 1, the Director of Music, Capt Clayson, was whisked off for a live TV interview on Armenia’s version of ‘This Morning’ with the Defence Attaché. As well as adver-
Yerevan. Phil and Holly, the presenters, were very keen to establish why the British Government were so keen on building relationships with the Armenian people, and immediately the opportunity was taken for our message on the importance of the relationship to be passed to the national audience. Meanwhile, the Band and Bugles were already engaging with and building the relationship with the Armenian MOD Band who we were performing with that same evening. We have recently hosted two of their musicians in Wyvern Barracks and they were very keen to meet their British friends again.
Our evening performance was outside the famous Opera House in Yerevan in the presence of HM Ambassador, a high ranking Armenian Governmental representative, and thousands of local Armenians who stopped by to see the Bands perform. Without the chance to acclimatise, the evening temperature in the mid 30s was challenging our physical and mental stamina - a feature of the tour throughout.
Our new CO, Lt Col Pearce and new RSM, WO1 Wheatley joined the Band on day two, giving them the chance of seeing the Band in action. The QBP in Yerevan saw them performing to ambassadors and diplomats from many nations. Featuring our Buglers, our Concert Band and the Soul Band, we put on a great show and all the team were themselves great ambassadors for The Rifles in front of an interna- tional audience.
Day 3 saw a road move to Tbilisi and to break up the journey, we stopped at the Children of Armenia Foundation (COAF) Centre in Vanadzor. COAFs’ mission is to offer the very best opportunities to empower Armenian Children who don’t live in the cities. The Soul Band, led by Musn Jones and under the guidance of the Bandmaster, WO1 Adams, led the children from the centre’s rock band through a swift two-hour workshop and the afternoon was completed by a demonstration and joint performance with their pop group to around 300 excited children who had been brought in from the surrounding villages. Everyone in attendance was struck by the energy and enthusiasm in the room! The children and audience appeared to enjoy it as much as we did.
  Bugle Major Gait at the Queen’s Party, Yerevan

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