The annual army music competition stretches military musicians, many of whom, daily accompany ceremonial drill as part of a brass band, and encourages them to step up and perform solo, on instruments and music that may be far from their comfort zone.
Today saw Musician (Musn) Moss of the Band of the Scots Guards, Musn Overend of the Band of the Irish Guards, Musn Warrington of the Band of the Welsh Guards, Musn Faulkner of the Band of the Grenadier Guards, Musn Habershon of the Band of the Coldstream Guards, Musn Stephens of the Band of the Household Cavalry, Musn Dafydd of Countess of Wessex's String Orchestra and Musn Crewe of the Band of the Irish Guards compete for the title of Army Musician of the Year 2023
Household Division Musician of the Year 2023
Musn Ed Habershon, from Chichester, of the Band of the Coldstream Guards, can usually be found accompanying troops at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle as they are about to Change the Guard but he also has another weapon under his belt.
Today, against some of the toughest competition in the business, he hit the right note when he won the prestigious Army Musician of the Year competition playing Bach’s Concerto in D Major BWV 972 on the Piccolo Trumpet
When not performing in London for the Royal Family or heads of state on major occasions, he performs at a range of gigs across the UK and around the world with the Band of the Coldstream Guards. But today the pressure was really on, as Musician Ed Habershon, was competing against the best from the Bands of the Army’s Household Division, and entrants included a wide range of instrumental performances, ranging from the trumpet, saxophone, bass trombone, flute, clarinet, violin and euphonium
The annual competition stretches musicians, many of whom, daily accompany ceremonial drill as part of a brass band, and encourages them to step up and perform solo, on instruments and music that may be far from their comfort zone.
Musn Habershon said: " It was amazing to play with The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra as a soloist, it’s an opportunity you don’t often get. It was a real privilege. Everyone in the competition played so well to a really high standard. Going forward this win has given me a lot of confidence. There’s always room for improvement though, so I’ll keep working hard.”
Everyone in the competition played so well to a really high standard. Musn Habershon, Band of the Coldstream Guards, winner of Army Musician of the Year 2023
The Household Division Musician of the Year Competition took place on Thursday 21 September in the sumptuous setting of the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, on Birdcage Walk, London.
The contestants who had been selected from among the finest young musicians in the Bands were judged by a steely panel made up of the Deputy Commander Headquarters London District Brigadier Jeremy Lamb, the Chief of Staff Headquarters London District Colonel Guy Stone, the Principal Director of Music for the RAF, Wing Commander Piers Morrell, and Dr Brett Baker, Principal Trombone of the world-famous Black Dyke Band and a brass player of world standing.
Each performance was exemplary with pieces by Musn Emily Overend playing Reflections from Escapades by John WIlliams on the Saxophone and Musn Dafydd playing Violin Partita No.2, BVW 1004 i. Sarabande Czardas for Violin and Orchestra by Bach, on the violin standing out. Likewise Musn Faulkner playing Flute Concerto Op 107 by Chaminade on the flute, Musn Moss playing Philip Sparke's Trumpet Concerto, Musn Warrington's Konzertantes Allegro on the Bass Trombone, Musn Stephens on the Clarinet and Musn Crewe on the Euphonium all really impressed the judges and the wider audience, which was made up of members of the public and service personnel from the Bands and the wider London Garrison.
But Brigadier Lamb announced it was Musn Habershon playing Bach’s Concerto in D Major BWV 972 on the Piccolo Trumpet which pipped the other participants to first place, the judges decision was difficult but unanimous and all praised the very high degree of skill involved in each performance. Everyone impressed.
The Household Division Fund sponsored three prizes in support of the competition, which were awarded as follows:
- 1st Place £500 and The Household Division Musician of the Year Shield was awarded to Musn Habershon of the Band of the Coldstream Guards, playing Bach’s Concerto in D Major BWV 972 on the Piccolo Trumpet
- 2nd Place £250 Musn Emily Overend of the Band of the Irish Guards, playing Reflections from Escapades by John WIlliams on the Saxophone
- 3rd Place £150 was awarded to Musn Dafydd, of The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra, playing Violin Partita No.2, BVW 1004 i. Sarabande Czardas for Violin and Orchestra by Bach, on the violin
Paid to play
Unlike most professional musicians whose living is notoriously precarious, Army musicians are paid full time to perform at famous, high-profile events in the UK and all over the world.
The Royal Corps of Army Music
The Royal Corps of Army Music is made up of 13 Regular bands and one string orchestra that play everything from military marching music to jazz and contemporary, and is always looking to employ new musicians with a wide range of specialisms. Join them and you'll spend your days rehearsing and developing music for concerts and performances alongside like-minded people in a structured full-time, salaried and pensionable career up to the age of 55, with the chance to gain promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. The job includes regular opportunities to be paid to ski, play sport or go on Adventure training as well as receive full funding for a range of professional qualifications up to Doctorate.