September 18, 2016
This is the musical wrap-up for the Salute! Neighbours for 75 Years exhibit: a free concert featuring the world-renowned Band of the Parachute Regiment. This year the Band have been invited to perform at Spruce Meadows and British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) – the largest training area used by the British Army. BATUS has generously arranged for the Band to visit Medicine Hat after their time at Suffield, and they will perform at the Esplanade Theatre on September 18th. We are greatly looking forward to their arrival!
The Parachute Regiment was formed on 1 August 1942, but it did not have any musical support until 1947. At this time the 1st and 2nd Battalion Bands were formed in Aldershot from Bandsmen from varying infantry regiments whose 2nd Battalions were being put into suspended animation after World War II. A 3rd Battalion Band was formed a year later from newly recruited musicians. Each Band was directed by a Warrant Officer Class One, Bandmaster. All three Bands accompanied their respective Battalions, providing musical and medical support wherever they were stationed.
As a result of a Defense Review in 1985, the three Battalion Bands were disbanded and reformed to produce two larger Regimental Bands – The Falklands and Pegasus Bands. They collectively supported the three Battalions of The Parachute Regiment and additional Airborne Forces. ‘Options for Change’ in 1994 resulted in the formation of the Corps of Army Music, and consequently the amalgamation of both Bands to form The Band of The Parachute Regiment under the command of a commissioned Director of Music.
In 2001, the Band was posted from its ancestral home of Aldershot to the historic Roman town of Colchester. The Band maintains a heavy schedule of both military and civilian engagements throughout the United Kingdom and abroad, and has visited such diverse locations as the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Iraq, Qatar, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Norway, Malaysia, and much of Europe.
During the Christmas period of 2010, the band deployed to Afghanistan for two months alongside 16 Air Assault Brigade and was employed predominantly in musical duties, providing short periods of rest and recuperation vital to the morale of troops deployed on Op HERRICK. Additionally, some band personnel were utilized in the main Field Hospital at Camp Bastion, whilst others undertook various forms of guard duty, allowing soldiers a break in their routine.
Although the personnel in The Band of The Parachute Regiment have changed over the years, the culture and traditions remain the same. The Band continually seek to enhance their reputation for musical excellence and are very proud to represent The Parachute Regiment, Airborne Forces and the British Army, both at home and abroad.