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Sunday, 6 January 2013

North Region Music Camp

by Cadet Tom Hepworth

On the morning of the 27th of October, six cadets from 1224 Wharfedale Sqn left to join the coach heading to the first ever North Region Music camp. This was to be my fourth band camp, though as it was my first region camp, I was unsure of what to expect.

When we arrived we were given our room numbers and given time to unpack before being sent out on a familiarisation exercise so we could see the layout of the base and learn some facts about it. Following that we just had time to get dinner from the Mess before the first muster parade, it hadn’t occurred to me before this just how many cadets were on camp, just over 150. It is the largest camp I have been on so far.

But it wasn’t just a marching band camp, there were a number of ensembles to pick from, including; Marching Band, Concert Band, Corps of Drums and Pop and Rock Group (led by 1224’s very own Sgt (ATC) Sam White), all the groups would be working towards an on base performance towards the end of the week for parents, honoured guests, and other cadets.

I was in the marching band during the day and the concert band in the evening, this meant I was playing almost non-stop for most days during the week. As we were all split up into separate flights based on which group you were performing in, we didn’t get much chance to mix with other cadets who were in different ensembles during the day, but in the evenings we were granted use of the Red Rose Club to socialise.

Unfortunately, due to the typical English weather, the marching band was unable to play outside, as the rain would damage some instruments, and so we became “The Marching Band that didn’t march!” Nevertheless, we carried on rehearsing the marches in our new home ‘The Red Rose Club’ so we would be ready for the performance at the end of the week.

Mid week each flight was given two half days off for shooting and field craft, some flights got the chance to use the outdoor ranges, before a few cadets caught hypothermia and it was banned, and so we shot on the indoor ranges instead. On our other half day we took part in field craft, which involved learning how to build shelters and being taught camouflage and concealment, unfortunately for us it was raining on the day which made the experience slightly less enjoyable.

At the very end of the week we had one final rehearsal with every ensemble, which gave us a chance to see what everybody else had been working on throughout the week, then there was just enough time to clear out the accommodation before rushing back for the final performance.

As we had to stay in our own performance areas during the final performance, we did not get the chance to watch each other perform, but from what we were told, it all went without a hitch.

I really enjoyed my first regional band camp and am looking forward to the next one!

All Photos by Pilot Officer Richard Pallett RAFVR(T)