CWO Copeland Attends National Band Camp

Recently I attended the summer camp of the RAFAC National Marching Band.

It composed of a long week stay at RAF Halton, in which around 65 cadets trained and rehearsed old and new pieces for future performances throughout the year. A large majority of the musicians were new and varied from all levels of skills and knowledge; the camp was a perfect opportunity to apply their skills and further develop their musical ability.

Most days followed a similar structure. After breakfast at the mess, we would have Warrant Officer’s hour, where our uniform would be inspected to make sure it was up to standard and to also develop our drill particularly with band specific manoeuvres like spin wheels and counter-marches. This would then follow up with sectionals, with the band lucky enough to have the assistance of experienced staff as well as current members of the Royal Marines Band Service. Later in the day, we would consolidate our work into full band rehearsals for a few hours, where we would combine drill with music and gradually adapt and build our performance. We also had free time to socialise with our friends as well as revision and sport sessions.

Despite the camp having the primary purpose of training cadets for future gigs, at the end of the week we had the opportunity to lead the parade in Doncaster, celebrating the centenary of the Royal Air Force. It was a lovely experience to be a part of such a large parade, in which over 1,000 cadets participated. I thoroughly enjoyed the week and I feel I have accumulated skills that I can bring back to 148 (Barnsley) Squadron’s own band. After a fantastic week at RAF Halton, I look forward to performing with the National Marching Band in the future!

By CWO Shannon Copeland