The Royal Corps of Army Music (RCAM) has welcomed Her Royal Highness, the Countess of Wessex GCVO in her capacity as Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps, where she opened the Corps Headquarters and Higher Training Wing at their new home in Minley, Surrey.
RCAM and the Royal Military School of Music (RMSM) had previously resided at Kneller Hall in Twickenham for almost 170 years, but it closed its doors on 31st August. The building had served hundreds of musicians since 1857, but the new facilities in Gibraltar Barracks will provide more practical and functional spaces which were unavailable at Kneller Hall. Both the Land Warfare Centre and the Royal School of Military Engineering Group who are based at Gibraltar Barracks have supported with funding and the provision of space for the move.
“To have this new Higher Training Wing is more than we could have hoped for as Student Bandmasters." Student Bandmaster Christian Dullea, The Royal Corps of Army Music (RCAM)
Her Royal Highness was presented to Major General David Eastman Colonel Commandant, Colonel Suzy Holmes Corps Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel David Barringer MBE Principal Director of Music (Army), Nigel Atkinson Esq. the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire and personnel from the RMSM Higher Training Wing.
With the Band of the Coldstream Guards providing musical support, HRH The Countess of Wessex took a tour after formally opening the buildings and spoke to the Student Bandmasters who will be making use of the new facilities.
Student Bandmaster Christian Dullea said, “To have this new Higher Training Wing is more than we could have hoped for as Student Bandmasters, it includes brand new facilities, dedicated classrooms for junior and senior classes, a full reference library and everything we need for our personal development.”
The Royal Corps of Army Music was formed in 1994 and all regular Army bands are part of the Corps. The Corps is the public face of the Army and supports National and Defence interests around the globe and delivers musical support as the public face of the Army and supports defence interests around the world with 14 Regular Army bands, 27 global training team deployments and more than 750 serving Regular musicians.
Student Bandmaster Faye Snowdon explained how important it was for the Corps to have their Colonel in Chief open the new establishment, “We are so privileged to have had The Countess of Wessex visit us, she has been really invested in our growth as Student Bandmasters and she even attended one of our lessons earlier and gave us some feedback on the development of the Bandmaster trade. She is so enthusiastic for us as future leaders of the Corps and the passion she shows for us is really inspirational.”