Royal Marines Band Service History
The original Royal Marines Band Service (RMBS), together with its headquarters, the Royal Naval School of Music, was founded in 1903 to provide Bands for the Royal Navy.
The task of forming the school was assigned to the Royal Marines and from then on the Band Service became an integral part of the Royal Marines Corps. Its original home was Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth where it remained until 1930 when it was transferred to the Royal Marines Depot, Deal.
After the outbreak of World War II, it moved to Malvern, then it divided with the Junior Wing moving to the Isle of Man and the Senior Wing to Scarborough before reuniting at Burford in 1946 and finally returning to Deal in 1950.
The amalgamation of the Divisional Bands with the Royal Naval School of Music to form today's Royal Marines Band Service also took place in 1950 when the headquarters and training establishment were re-named the Royal Marines School of Music.
Today all Royal Marines Bands are required to provide every imaginable musical ensemble including orchestras and dance bands. To achieve this, most musicians, except solo specialists, are required to attain a high standard on both a string and a wind instrument.
As a result of this special amalgam of expertise, Royal Marines Musicians are regarded as one of the most versatile in the military musical world. The Corps of Drums receive an equally thorough training and pride themselves on maintaining the highest standards of drill, bugling and drumming. Their glittering presence at the front of all Royal Marines Bands on the march gives the bands a visual impact that is second to none.
The Royal Marines School of Music (RMSoM) in Portsmouth is where the exacting process of producing military musicians and buglers worthy of the Royal Marines begins. With a very productive link with Portsmouth University, Royal Marines Musicians can now attain civilian qualifications linked to each stage of their training and professional promotion courses.
All musicians are eligible to register on a fully funded course, with our partner academic institution, the University of Portsmouth, to gain a BMus (Hons) degree. Male and female students, aged between 16 and 32 are educated in all aspects of music. They are taught by professors of the highest calibre and take musical direction from Gordon Campbell (The Big Band Director).
The students are also instructed in all aspects of military ceremonial in order to ensure that the worldwide reputation enjoyed by the RMBS for both it's music and precision marching is maintained. At the School of Music the future of the Band Service, based upon the experience of the past and the professionalism of the present, is forged; here the young instrumentalist is tempered and honed to the sharpest edge before taking his or her place in one of the 5 Royal Marines Bands.
As their careers progress Musicians and Buglers return to the RMSoM to undergo further musical training to qualify them for higher rank. This culminates in a place on the Student Bandmasters Course, which is widely recognised as one of the most demanding courses of its type.
Students study all the main music disciplines; the orchestral and contemporary wind band repertoire and they work with renowned figures from the world of music including the composer Gordon Langford.
The Military Role
In addition to music making, Royal Marines Musicians and Buglers are trained for a specific military role. Royal Marines Bands were involved in both the Falklands conflict and Operation Granby in the Gulf.
In the latter part of 1998, Scotland Band were deployed in HMS Ocean and assisted in relief work in Nicaragua and Honduras in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch.
More recently the RMBS distinguished themselves on both Operation Fresco (Fire Strike) and Operation Telic (Iraq) in 2003.
Royal Marines Bands continue to fly the flag abroad with many prestigious engagements undertaken including appearances in Turkey, the USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Europe and Australia, to name but a few.
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