The Royal Air Force Central Band


http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafmusic/
Music has always been an important part of the Royal Air Force. From back in 1912 when the Service existed as the Royal Flying Corps up until present day - music has always served as a great source of motivation, honour and pride. This culminated in the formation of the Central Band in 1920, two years after the Royal Air Force was formed.

The Central Band has many notable achievements in its rich history. In 1922, it was the first ever military band to broadcast on BBC Radio - remaining to this day the most frequently featured military band in that medium. It was also the first military band to make a long-playing record: in April 1955 HMV released a recording of what is to this day the most requested piece in their repertoire - Eric Coates' music for the film 'The Dambusters'. The Central Band also ended a 155 year tradition by including women in its ranks whilst taking part in the 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Over the years the Central Band has made many recordings: 'Salute To Heroes', released in 1990, sold over 60,000 copies in two years, resulting in the award of a silver disc. Two complementary recordings, 'Heroes of the Air' and 'Salute to the Royal Air Force' have proved just as popular.

The Central Band is generally regarded to be the premier military band in the United Kingdom. As such, it is always in great demand, undertaking more than 370 engagements a year and travelling a distance of more than 64,000 miles. The band has represented the Royal Air Force at every major military event and performed at all of the principal concert venues in Britain.

The band is also internationally renowned, having the distinction of being the first band outside the USA to be awarded the 'John Philip Sousa Citation for Musical Excellence'.

In recent years the band has performed in Holland, Germany, Australia, Cyprus, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Hungary and the USA. In its bid to remain at the cutting edge of wind band music it has given highly acclaimed concerts with both the British and the World Associations of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles (BASBWE & WASBWE). More recently the band has forged links with the Royal Northern College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and the London College of Music.

As with all members of the RAF, Central Band musicians are required to support British forces on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Musicians have been deployed as ‘force protection’, guarding installations and supporting helicopter and air transportation squadrons.

The Central Band of the Royal Air Force is immensely proud of its achievements; it represents the heritage and ethos that all members of the RAF have contributed to. In it’s 90th anniversary year the Central Band can look forward to a bright and fulfilling future.
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