Facts & Figures
Symphonic Wind Band
Who we are
The Band of the Grenadier Guards is comprised of musicians from The Royal Corps of Army Music and is one of 14 Regular Army Bands in the British Army. It is one of the oldest and most iconic military bands in the world. Formed in 1685 at the request of Charles II, the band began as an ensemble of Hautbois (a forerunner to the oboe). This heritage demonstrates the omnipresence of the band throughout a turbulent period of wind instrument development, culminating in the adoption of the wind band instrumentation of today.
The band’s quick march, The British Grenadiers, is one of the most recognisable melodies in the world. The regimental slow march, Scipio, was gifted to the regiment by the composer and admirer, George Frideric Handel.
The band has the task of representing the Regiment and as such recently visited locations in Belgium to mark their liberation during the Second World War.
The Band of the Grenadier Guards has fulfilled a varied and exciting programme of events over the last few years. Many people do not realise the diversity of the ensemble, able to perform at a spectrum of occasions. There are some events where one might not expect to see the band, including the launch of Fantastic Beasts: Wizarding World Wands, performing for vast crowds of Harry Potter fans. Also, at Twickenham Rugby Stadium in support of England vs. South Africa during 2018.
The band has also been seen on an international stage, including a brief tour in Murcia, Spain for the Festival of the Three Kings. During 2019 the band toured Belgium to mark the 75th Anniversary of their liberation during the Second World War. Additionally the band toured Japan, performing in various locations including Osaka, Yokohama and Tokyo. The tour included various parades, workshops and concerts – a feast for the senses and a chance to experience a fascinating country!
In September 2021, the band toured Belize for three weeks, working alongside the new Belize Defence Force Band. The highlight was taking part in the formal ceremony, celebrating the country's fortieth year of independence.
Want to join us?
The Royal Corps of Army Music can offer full time employment as a musician within the British Army. A pensionable career potentially to the age of 60. Fantastic travel opportunities with the chance to perform at great venues and events around the world.
The Royal Corps of Army Music is interested in your performance and potential rather than just music qualifications.
Not all musicians have recognised musical qualifications so you may be able to join us based on merit at audition. If you have the required skills or can demonstrate you have the potential we are looking for, we can help maximise your musical development. Interested? Please get in touch here.
It’s an immense privilege to be able to arrange and compose music Sgt Shelton
SERGEANT SHELTON – HORN & PIANO
Sergeant (Sgt) Chris Shelton grew up as a keen member of The Royal British Legion Band and Corps of Drums, Romford. Having discovered that he could further this interest professionally, he joined the Army as a horn player in 2007.
Sgt Shelton was initially assigned to the Band of the Parachute Regiment as principal horn. During his five years in the band, Sgt Shelton toured extensively, from the Falklands to Cyprus. In November 2010 he was deployed to Afghanistan on OP HERRICK 13 with 16 Air Assault Brigade. As part of a six-piece pop group dubbed ‘Jukebox’, Sgt Shelton spent the festive period travelling between patrol bases and checkpoints, bringing live music to coalition forces on the very front line of Helmand province.
Sgt Shelton moved to London in 2013 to join the Band of the Irish Guards. While serving there he gained his BA (Hons) degree in music and started to build a reputation as a keen arranger and composer. His works have since been used for numerous high profile state ceremonial events, Scarlet & Gold, and also The Household Division Military Musical Spectacular. More recently his fanfare 'Ascension' was chosen to celebrate The Royal Corps of Army Music receiving its royal title. In 2021, Sgt Shelton was assigned to the Band of the Grenadier Guards and was appointed as Household Division Staff Arranger.
His most recent composition entitled ’The Platinum Jubilee March’ has been selected as the massed band’s quick troop for the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Parade. When asked how he feels about this, Sgt Shelton replied “It’s an immense privilege to be able to arrange and compose music for such a world-renowned and talented force of musicians. The Queen’s Birthday Parade returning to Horse Guards Parade was always going to be a momentous occasion. The fact that it coincides with Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee makes it all the more special. As composer, playing a role in this is far beyond anything I would have ever imagined, I’ve been pinching myself on rehearsals!”
Lance Sergeant Wong
British Army Music is recruiting right now. For more information about joining the British Army as a musician, get in touch with the Corps Engagement Team.