Edinburgh Castle - Saturday 28th May 2005 (8pm)
Every May, there are two major events in Edinburgh where the BB is on public display. The first of these happens during the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland where the BB provide the Guard of Honour for the Lord High Commissioner on Assembly Sunday. The second is the Ceremony of Beating Retreat at the Castle. This is an account of this year’s Retreat held on 28th May.
|Bugle Band||Central (Brass) Band||Flute Band||Pipe Band|
First Rehearsal - Tulliallan
Following preliminary meetings of representatives of all participating bands, the programme is agreed and there is an initial full rehearsal a few weeks before the event. This usually takes place at Tulliallan, where all bands meet to discuss, practice and review final arrangements for the Retreat.
Dress Rehearsal - George Heriot's School
pattern of the day follows the same format each year and commences with a
rehearsal held in George Heriot's School Playground in the afternoon.
The Bands then receive an evening meal.
This is followed by an impromptu concert in Parliament Square before
marching up the High Street to the Castle for the Retreat Ceremony at 8.00pm.
participating bands started arriving for the rehearsal from 1.30 p.m. onwards.
Some of the flute band arrived earlier than anticipated and started off
with a game of football in the grounds.
Brass / Bugle Band were due on the playground first 2.15 to 2.55 p.m., however
due to the roadworks on the Forth Bridge, both Tulliallan and Dunfermline were
delayed and we did not get underway until around 2.25.
After ½ hour practising new drill manoeuvres, the band moved from the playground to the grass areas to the front and side of the main school building for sectional rehearsals coming together later to go over the joint trumpet/ bugle items.
pipes then moved onto the playground where they rehearsed until 3.35 to be
followed by the flute band. As
mentioned above, while one band is using the playground the other participants
make full use of the school’s grounds to rehearse their own items.
year, as the rehearsal was running some 15 minutes ahead of schedule, the full
rehearsal took place at 4.00. The full rehearsal follows the actual performance
programme, starting with the bugle fanfare and running through to the march
past. Any glitches in both drill
and playing are sorted at this time.
the full rehearsal, the bands moved to the school refectory where a hot meal was
provided. This year the choices
being, Scots or steak pies, pizza or macaroni and cheese.
After tea there is time for a final cleaning of the instruments and changing into uniform. More time was spent relaxing here too, due to Edinburgh’s Saturday Parking restrictions being in force up until 6.30 p.m.
Bands gathered in Parliament Square from around 6.45pm; and between 7.00 and
7.15 gave a short concert to all the tourists who were in the area.
With the performance at the castle in mind, each band in turn played a
couple of numbers, followed by a massed item.
Before the March up to the Castle a General Salute is sounded.
police arrived to hold up the traffic and the bands paraded to the Castle up the
Royal Mile taking it in turns to play along the route.
Upon arrival at the castle, prior to the retreat taking place, the Chief Guest, Captain Stuart Samson, Director of Army Bagpipe Music came to meet the participants.
Bugle Fanfare “Silver Bugles” sounded from the Ramparts above the drawbridge
at 8.00, this was the signal for the Pipe Band to march off from the castle onto
the esplanade. Once in position the
pipe band were followed by the Trumpet/ Bugle Band and finally the Flute Band.
All Bands in position at either end of the Castle Esplanade, the stage is
set for the Retreat itself.
first item on the programme is always the Pipe Band performing a number of airs
and drummers call, they follow the standard pattern of a pipe band display,
marching down the esplanade, countermarching and forming a circle.
At the end of their programme, they march down the esplanade and take up
position, between the other two bands.
Brass / Bugle Band are next to perform. Marching up the Castle Esplanade they
perform a couple of items of figure marching before performing their programme
facing the audience. The musical
programme consists of Brass Band marches from the Brass Band and Bugle Band
Marches from the bugles. There is a
drum solo and a joint item from bugles and brass.
At the conclusion of the programme the band has returned to the starting
point at the foot of the esplanade.
next item was the flute band, performing various airs marching around the
esplanade before performing to the assembled guests. Once the performance was
finished and they had marched back down to their place at the foot of the Castle
Esplanade, the finalé takes place.
finale involves all the assembled bands playing Amazing Grace,
this was followed by The Massed brass and bugle bands performing the
Evening Hymn, This year The B.B. Vesper Hymn “Great God Who Knowest All Our
Needs” to the tune ”Whitburn” and “The Scots Sunset” a new arrangement
of “My Love is Like a Red Red Rose” with “Sunset”.
Finally once permission has been given by the Chief Guest to march off,
the Massed Bands march past playing “Scotland the Brave” and “Heilan’
Laddie” returning to the Castle for dispersal.
the castle the bands dismiss and before leaving, this year our senior Drum Major
George Sim decided that it was time to hand over the mace to someone else.
To mark the occasion we had a short presentation ceremony.
On behalf of the Central Band I would like to wish George our best wishes in his retirement and thank him for all his input to not only the “Retreat” but the BB over many years.
would like to congratulate most of all, all the performers who took part in the
most difficult of weather conditions. The
Castle Esplanade is quite exposed and when it is windy, it is very difficult to
control heavy instruments. The wind
also has an affect on the sound all bandsmen produce. All in all it was a very good night’s entertainment for the
audience in very windy conditions.
on behalf of the Central band, I would like to thank Richard Knowles and his
committee on the running of the Retreat itself. Also to all the Bands who have travelled both form the
Edinburgh Area and from across Central Scotland, without whom there would be no
thank you is also extended to the authorities at Edinburgh Castle for the
background organisation at the venue, George Heriots for allowing the use of the
school facilities, the police at Tulliallan for the rehearsal facilities and
locally for looking after the march up from Parliament Square.
Finally on behalf of the bandsmen a final thank you to Robert Doig and his team for the preparation of our evening meal at Heriots
55th Edinburgh Coy. /
Central Band /
Scottish Bands Committe
|Fanfare||Trumpets / Bugles:||Silver Bugles|
|March on||Pipes & Drums:||Pipe Major Neil
1st Scottish Horse
|Brass Band / Drum & Bugles:||Mechanized Infantry|
|Performances||Pipes & Drums:||
|Brass Band / Drum & Bugles:||
|Fifes & Drums:||
from The Great Escape
|Massed Bands||Amazing Grace|
|Retreat Ceremony||Brass / Bugles||Vesper
A Scots Sunset
|March Past||Massed Bands||Scotland