Band of the Irish Guards Appear at UNC Pembroke
The Band of the Irish Guards comes to Givens Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 8 p.m.
The Band of the Irish Guards is led by music director Major P. D. Shannon.
The Irish Guards were formed April 1, 1900, at the express wish of Queen Victoria, to commemorate the bravery of the many Irish Regiments who had fought in the South African campaigns.
The Regimental Band was formed at about the same time and consisted initially of 35 musicians and a warrant officer, C. H. Hassell, who was the bandmaster.
The band quickly gained a reputation for excellence, and in 1905 was invited to make what turned out to be the first of many tours of Canada.
There is a fine tradition in the British Army of bands providing musical support to troops on active service. It engenders a unique esprit-de-corps and during both World Wars, the Band regularly traveled to active service areas in order to give morale-boosting performances to the troops.
During World War II in particular, the commitments of the band had so intensified that its strength was increased to 65 musicians.
Over the years the band has toured extensively visiting Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Germany, Hong Kong, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Japan.
This year, the Band of the Irish Guards will make its debut tour of the United States of America. It was in Japan where the band was accorded the unique honor of being the first band ever to play in the Imperial Palace in the presence of the Empress and the two Crown Princesses.
The Band has toured Australia twice, once in 1957 for 10 weeks as part of a world tour, and more recently in 2004 for a six-week concert tour of both Australia and New Zealand.
With a current establishment of 49 musicians the band has a variety of professional ensembles that include a concert band, marching band, salon orchestra, dance band, fanfare trumpeters and several other smaller ensembles.
The band's main duty is to play, in turn with the other Four-Foot Guards Bands, for the Mounting of The Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace and for state ceremonial occasions and public duties.
The band has made many broadcast and recordings over the years and in the 1950s was chosen to give the UK premier performance of Paul Hindemith's "Symphony for Concert Band" live. The band has also appeared on television and in films.
Upon retirement from the service, a number of musicians have continued their careers with the National Orchestras, which included the Halle, the BBC Symphony and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
In addition to their musical activities, musicians are trained to give support to the Army Medical Services in the event of mobilization.
To order tickets contact the GPAC Box Office at (910) 521-6361 or (800) 367-0778 or for more information visit the Web site at www.uncp.edu/gpac
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