Two musicians serving with the Band and Bugles of the Rifles will form part of the massed bands lead contingent for Her Majesty The Queen’s funeral procession on Monday.
The Band and Bugles of the Rifles and The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas will be the first band that everyone will see and hear as they lead the Queen’s coffin on its final journey through London, from Whitehall to Wellington Arch.
During the procession six pieces of music will be played including Beethoven’s Funeral March and the National Anthem.
Bandmaster Warrant Officer Class Two Nixon (WO2) and the newest band member, Musician Garrod, although at different stages in their military service, are joined by a common thread – participation in the biggest performance of their careers.
Music is woven into the fabric of military life. It is a call to arms and the drumbeat that marks time. A bugle playing the last post has played a key role in military funerals over the centuries.
At the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, not only the eyes but the ears of the world will be focused on the participating soldiers and musicians.
WO2 Nixon, who has played at numerous occurrences of the Changing of the Guard, Trooping the Colour and at the wedding of HRH The Duke of Cambridge (now the Prince of Wales), said:
“We have done many rehearsals for this over the years; it has been well planned out and we are well prepared for this.”
The Bandmaster, who has served for 14 years with the Band of the Grenadier Guards, Band of the Queen’s Division and at the Royal Military School of Music, said:
“As a British Army service person there is no greater honour than accompanying your former Monarch to her final resting place.
“I feel immensely proud to be part of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, she had a great relationship with the Army, and we all feel an immense loss at her passing.”
Clarinet player Musician Garrod, the most junior member of the band who joined a week ago directly from training, said on hearing the news of the Her Majesty The Queen’s death:
“I was shocked and saddened. The first thing I did was ring my grandma who is very proud of the Monarch and our Nation and told her that hopefully she’d see me having a role in the funeral in some way.”
“I’m pleased to be here playing my part on this momentous historical occasion. Obviously, it is a very sad occasion which has affected the whole of the Armed Forces, but this is the best way I can show my respect and I look forward to doing that.”
“It will be quite nerve-wracking, I’m excited to take on that challenge and I know the rest of the band are too, and I’m sure we will do our best for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and for His Majesty King Charles.