“The National Marching Band of the RAF Air Cadets (RAFAC) provided musical support to last weekend’s (8 July 2017) Annual General Inspection (AGI) at the prestigious Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College in Leicestershire.
The 43 strong band was led by Drum Major Cadet Flight Sergeant Edris Rada from 332 (High Wycombe) Squadron under the direction of the RAFAC’s Principle Director of Music, Wing Commander Gil Singleton RAFVR(T). Two thirds of the band was under 16 years of age.
In the past, musical support has been provided by regular Service Bands but the College was keen to cement a relationship with a band of similar age to the majority of those on parade and acknowledged that the RAFAC band’s musical skills made them a very welcome choice. The band performed appropriate music as each contingent of the parade marched-on and then played incidental music during the inspection. Visiting the Band during the inspection was Air Marshal Julian Young (Chief of Materiel (Air)) who told Flt Sgt Rada that the standard was excellent and that she was to pass this on to her colleagues.
Playing saxophone in the band was 17 year old Cadet Sergeant Emily Moore from 1084 (Market Harborough) Squadron. She is in her third year with the band. She said “the staff on these camps are really good and the cadets you get to meet are an equally good selection from across the country. I love the music and even love the drill! I was a member of my Squadron’s Band performing at the National Championships and learnt about the National Bands, five of the Squadron initially joined those bands. I enjoy all aspects of music camp as it is well organised.” Also on parade was 1330 (Warrington) Squadron’s Cadet Warrant Officer (CWO) Patrick Brierley (18) who has Grade 5 in Tenor Horn (the instrument he plays in the band) as well as playing piano and jazz trumpet. He added that “Music Camps are the most fun thing I do in Cadets. They all feature a proper community feel. If I had one piece of advice to cadet musicians it would be “join a band””.
CWO Madeleine MacKay had one of the more nerve wracking moments as she had a solo to perform. The 19 year old from 2425 (Nottingham Airport) Squadron had a piccolo solo at the opening of “Lord of the Dance”, she said “I was nervous to start with but once I started playing I loved every minute of it; it’s a pleasure to play it here”.
Wing Commander Singleton said “Few in today’s band had been on parade for either the 75th anniversary parade or similar events last year and playing at big events like this is a very different mind set. I was very impressed by their performance and am very happy. As ever the “behind the scenes staff made the camp run very smoothly”
The band’s next public performance is at the National Memorial Arboretum in September.
The parade’s reviewing officer Major General Rob Nitsch (the Army’s Director of Personnel) was fulsome in his praise of the band during his speech.
The band has already been booked to attend 2018’s Inspection parade!”
Report and Photographs courtesy of Squadron Leader Philip Jones RAFVR(T)
Corps Photographer (North)