Band of the Coldstream Guards
|Coldstream Guards Band|
|Also known as||Band of the Coldstream Guards|
|Origin||London, England, United Kingdom|
|Website||Home of the Coldstream Guards Band|
The Band of the Coldstream Guards is one of the oldest and best known bands in the British Army, having been officially formed on 16 May 1785 under the command of Major C F Eley, reflecting the fact that the Coldstream Guards regiment is the second oldest of the guards regiments. Although the band is not technically the oldest in the Army, it has the longest standing tradition of music, as from its earliest days the officers of the Coldstream Guards hired eight musicians to provide music for the regiment during the changing of the guard. This is an event which still occurs today, every day at eleven thirty in the summer outside Buckingham Palace.
The band received its first British bandmaster in 1835 called Charles Godfry, as previously most bandmasters had been foreign, such as the first who was German.
The Coldstream Guards Band was one of the very first British army bands to make a recording before World War I.
On 18 June 1944 over one hundred twenty people were killed at Wellington Barracks when a German flying bomb hit the chapel. The director of the band was amongst the dead, prompting the appointment of Captain Douglas Alexander Pope.
In 1960, the band started a new tradition, to tour from coast to coast in the United States of America and Canada. It still takes place.
In 1985, during the band's two hundredth anniversary year, the Coldstream Guards kicked off the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium, performing "a fanfare composed by the Director of Music Lt Col Richard Ridings".
Two especially unusual performances took place in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the United States. On September 12, 2001, Queen Elizabeth II broke with tradition and allowed the Coldstream Guards Band to perform The Star-Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace, London, during the daily ceremonial Changing of the Guard. The following day at a St. Paul's Cathedral memorial service, the Queen herself joined in the singing of the American national anthem, an unprecedented occurrence.
Current personnel of note
- Director of Music: Major Simon Haw MBE
- Bandmaster: WO1 Laura Stead
- Band Sergeant Major: WO2 David Wright
- Composer in Residence: Dr Peter Meechan
There are several ensembles within the Band of the Coldstream Guards:
The Coldstream Guards Band plays regularly for ceremonial occasions and events. Some are listed below but this is not a comprehensive list.
The band also performs at other non-military events in the same way as other military bands such as the Grenadier Guards Band or other civilian professional organisations.
Album and Record Deal
In June 2009 the band signed a record deal with Universal Music imprint Decca, reportedly worth £1 million. Their debut album 'Heroes' was released on 30 November 2009 and was nominated for Best Album of the Year for Classical Brits. The Band of the Coldstream Guards performed at the Classical Brits Awards gala at the Royal Albert Hall.
- Steyn, Mark (17 September 2001) [dead link] The Queen’s Tears/And global resolve against terrorism. National Review Online.