The Band of the Grenadier Guards

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The Band of the Grenadier Guards

The “First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards” was raised in Flanders in 1656 and had its first musicians authorised by King Charles II in 1685, the year Handel and Bach were born. By 1725 two French Horns were added to the existing band of Oboes and in 1794 the Band included a Flute, 6 Clarinets, 3 Bassoons, 3 Horns, a Trumpet, 2 Serpents and “Turkish Music”, which referred to Bass Drum, Cymbals and Tambourine played by black musicians. By the latter part of the l9th Century, as well as having had its existing sections strengthened, the Band included a Piccolo, 3 E flat Clarinets, a family of Trumpets, an Althorn, 3 Ophecleides, Cornets, a Euphonium and Saxophones – an instrumentation fairly close to that of today.

From its present strength of 49, the Band is able to provide a concert band; marching band; orchestras; dance band; big band and small groups for more intimate occasions such as formal dinners. There is also an ensemble playing music from the 18th Century in period costume.

As a Regimental Band, the Band of the Grenadier Guards plays a leading role on State Occasions and at Public Duties. Together with the Bands from the other four Foot Guard Regiments (the Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards and Welsh Guards) the Grenadier Guards take their turn at the daily Mounting of the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace or at Windsor Castle, at Investitures, State Banquets and many other engagements for Her Majesty the Queen. As “Massed Bands” the five bands play together for the Queen’s Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour), the Remembrance Sunday Parade at the Cenotaph and at other major State and Ceremonial occasions. The Band of the Grenadier Guards also gives regular concert tours abroad and at home, as well as making broadcasts and recordings.

The Band is stationed at Wellington Barracks, near Buckingham Palace. In addition to being excellent musicians, each member is fully trained as a Medical Attendant in case of war.

Content Copyright SRC, Design Copyright 2008 Michael Enstone