With COVID restrictions finally beginning to allow the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas to return to normal working practices we were delighted to welcome Lieutenant General Richard Wardlaw OBE (Colonel Commandant of the Brigade of Gurkha) to visit the band in Shorncliffe.
In true band style we were able to upstage other departments by having our full fanfare team announce his arrival with the fanfare ‘Namaste’ written by Captain Basudev Gurung our Assistant Director of Music. This was well received, and the General was then presented a traditional Khada by the most junior band member before singing our visitors book.
While visits are always about the entire band and its trainees the first duty was for an opportunity for the Director of Music and Assistant Director of Music and ADOM to calibrate their leadership and command ideas by way of a formal office visit to draw from the vast experience of the General. He was extremely interested in what the band have achieved, very hopeful of our future success and very conscious of how the COVID-19 restrictions is affecting our band’s families in Nepal.
Prior to the General’s arrival we had spent all morning running the band’s internal musician’s solo competition. This meant we had chosen a young trainee winner and two senior finalists. The task of choosing the overall winner was down to the General. The winning trainee warmed up our guest with a wonderful performance of his favourite melody and our two finalists gave the General a difficult decision to make. The choice was made, and our congratulations go to Lance Corporal Gokul Rai on clarinet who was the overall winner of the band’s solo competition.
Stage two was a walk to our outside rehearsal area to the regimental march ‘Wings’ as a tribute to the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers. Here the General presented our young trainees with their musical achievement certificates and presented the trophies to our winning soloists. There was a final opportunity to engage with the entire band before our allotted time came to an end. An enlightening visit from a command point of view and a proud moment for our trainees and winners.