Students Join Band of HM Royal Marines Collingwood

Five RNCM students joined the Band of HM Royal Marines Collingwood last week for the inaugural Royal Marines Band Service Graduate Placement Scheme.

Royal Marines 2

Trumpeter Ben Conway, flautists Pola Kompf, Cressida McKay-Frith and Grace Callaghan, and oboist Vanessa Hanson-Morris spent five days at the Portsmouth base, rehearsing with Royal Marines musicians under the leadership of postgraduate conductor Captain Sam Hairsine and alumnus Major John Ridley, the band’s Director of Music.

Culminating with a concert at St Mary’s Church, Fratton, the Scheme is designed to give students an insight into music making in the Royal Marines, offering a chance to collaborate with its musicians and to see what professional opportunities are available.

Royal Marines 4

Captain Hairsine (pictured below), a Director of Music with the Royal Marines who joined the RNCM in September to study for an MMus in Conducting, said: ‘It was fantastic to be back in front of a Royal Marines Band, but particularly with my fellow RNCM students in it. Hopefully they got a lot out of the week musically, and were also able to see that the Royal Marines Band Service can offer a great career in professional music.

Royal Marines 6

‘RM ‘bandies’ are a great bunch of people, and I hope that the students were able to see that even though we are in the military we are musicians first and foremost, with a fantastically varied and interesting career, and that we all enjoy a laugh! It was lovely to spend a week working and socialising with my RNCM mates, to hear them play really well, and see what they thought of the career I love.’

Royal Marines 5

Ben said: ‘The week was both fun and informative. The Marines have fantastic bands with opportunities to perform across the world in venues that many professional musicians could only dream of. The Band has such a strong dedication to their work and the feeling of unity is incredible strong. I had a great week and would recommend it to anybody.’

Due to the success of this year’s placement, work is underway to make the Scheme an annual occurrence. To learn more about the Royal Marines Band Service email [email protected] or follow them on Facebook.

1 March 2016