Phil Goldsmith (solo cornet) and LGB President Dennis Wilby recently travelled to Twickenham for The Duke of Cambridge Day (Corps of Army Music Day) which is based on the Duke having founded Kneller Hall, The Royal Military School of Music.
To celebrate this special event, the RASC / RCT Musicians’ Association Concert Band, (consisting of ex-serving members) had been invited to provide the day’s musical entertainment. This also gave Phil and Dennis, both members of the cornet section, an opportunity to be re-united with former colleagues.
Accompanied by their wives Helen and Margaret, the first person to greet them was Major Paul Norley, someone familiar to LGB members.
Prior to the band’s two impromptu performances, conducted by Major (Retired) David Marshall, a former Director of Music of the RCT Staff Band, a Drum Head Service was led by David Loftus, followed by the traditional march past, which included serving Army band musicians, students from the Royal Military School of Music and the RASC/RCT Musicians’ Association Concert Band veterans, many who hadn’t been on a parade square since their long gone Army days. The music was performed by the Band of the Blues and Royals.
Most of the Association veterans had travelled the length and breadth of the UK (one from Germany) to be part of this unique occasion and there were many tales to tell over a drink (non alcoholic, of course) prior to the serious business of providing music (unrehearsed) for the distinguished gathering which included senior Army officers, ex-Directors of Music and Kneller Hall staff.
Phil, returning to Kneller Hall for the first time since 1966, served from 1962 – 1974, being a student at Kneller Hall from 1966 – 1967. He was a member of both the RASC and RCT Staff Bands (the RASC changed its name to RCT during Army reorganisation). Throughout his 12 years’ service, he played cornet, horn, trombone and was a member of the fanfare team, playing under the baton of three Directors of Music, Major G. F. Dean, Desmond Walker and Bill Allen.
Dennis was called up for National Service in 1956, joining the Royal Army Service Corps Staff Band following a recommendation to the Director of Music (Major G. F. “Dixie” Dean) by Harry Mortimer. Dennis served until 1958 and throughout his entire service was the band’s Principal Cornet, missing only one band engagement (Woolwich Tattoo) due to getting married. The Kneller Hall re-union (he last performed there in 1957) was particularly nostalgic, reuniting him for the first time in 50 years with former colleagues Les Ball (clarinet) and Mick Bolton (tuba).
The RASC/RCT Musicians’ Association Concert Band’s next public performance will take place on Saturday, July 14th 2012 at the Prince’s Hall, Aldershot, when Phil and Dennis will again take their seats in the cornet section.