As all eyes turn towards Brazil for the forthcoming World Cup, the Qatar Army is sending its bands to London to prepare for the 2022 World Cup in Doha.
The Guards Bands that perform everyday in Central London for the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace are the envy of the World when it comes to Pomp and Ceremony. With the help of a government approved company called SIS-7 and Qatar’s National Academy of Professional Training, Qatar’s Army Bands and String Orchestra have been receiving the best possible training here in Central London in readiness for the World Cup in 2022.
In an excellent show of Defence Diplomacy, Wellington Barracks (the home of the Guards Bands) has opened its doors to lend a helping hand to recently retired Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Barnwell (former Senior Director of Music for the Household Division) and an SIS-7 team of ex-Military Musicians all drawn from the Guards and Royal Marines Bands.
From their training base in Mayfair, home of 7 Rifles, Colonel Barnwell said, “the British Army has been absolutely tremendous and so generous with their help”. The Corps of Army Music loaned musical instruments to the Qatar Army String Orchestra and the Household Division permitted its prestigious Guards Bands to host the musicians from Qatar in some highly beneficial joint rehearsals. “It’s another 8 years before these boys step out onto the pitch to play the anthems at that opening game, but this kind of unique experience will stand them in good stead”.
SIS-7 is currently working with the Senior Band from the Qatar Army on a “train the trainer” mission. Members of this band are unlikely to be amongst those who march out on to the pitch for that opening game, but they will have an important role to play during the build-up.
The accompanying Officer for Qatar’s Senior Army Band, Colonel Ahmed Hassa M Khenji, asked if he could reciprocate in some way for all the help his musicians have received from the British Military. They will visit the Royal Hospital Chelsea on 28 May to perform a short open-air concert for the In-Pensioners during which SIS-7 will make a donation of £8,000 to the Chelsea Pensioner’s Appeal as a token of their appreciation. SIS-7 Chairman, Gordon Mitchell said, “it’s the least we can do.”
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