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Trooping The Colour

The Queen's Birthday Parade takes place on Horse Guards Parade in June every year.

The Band of the Grenadier Guards (Corps of Army Music) are one of the five foot Guards Bands that form part of the mass bands for the Queen's Birthday Parade, or Trooping The Colour.

Since 1748 this impressive display has been marking the Sovereign's Birthday by her troops of the Household Division. Over 1400 men and officers are on parade, as well as over 200 musicians.

During the ceremony the Queen receives a Royal Salute and carries out an inspection of the troops. The massed bands then perform a musical 'troop', followed by the escort of the Regimental Colour down the ranks.

After this the Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry march past, The King's Troop and Royal Horse Artillery then rank past. Once the Queen returns to Buckingham Palace the Royal Air Force perform a fly-past for the royal family as they gather on the balcony.

Preparations for the event begin almost as soon as the New Year begins; time is dedicated to all areas including music, drill, and kit. There are kit inspections prior to troop from by the Regimental Adjutant of The Grenadier Guards, and the Major General commanding London District. Every piece of kit has to be of the highest standard; belts are whitened, brasses are shined, and boots are polished to perfection.

As the band will be on show in front of the Queen and the whole nation, they need to be sure that they work smartly as a whole unit, everything is practised with precision. The preparation for this begins with 'Spring Drills'. This consists of the band practising all drill movements, with and without instruments.
Of course the music is a vital part of Trooping the Colour and is rehearsed in great detail. There are the regimental quick and slow marches to learn, as well as others which are used every year such as 'Les Huguenots'.

Trooping The Colour is a prestigious national event and for new members of the band it can be a daunting prospect. However there are always experienced musicians at hand to lead the way, some having performed on such State Ceremonial events for over 20 years. There are many rehearsals in the period leading up to Troop, so that by the time of the actual event, every area has been perfected. The first main rehearsal is on the weekend two weeks before Troop and is known as the Major General's Review, this is followed the next weekend by the Colonel's Review.

Trooping The Colour is a momentous event showing the pageantry and traditions of the Army.

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