Midst the inevitably sorrowful build-up towards the disbandment of our Staff Band there have been many acts of spontaneous generosity; none less than that of the Commandant and Director of Music of the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall who decided to pay their own farewell to the Band by inviting them to participate, very fully, in their "Grand" Concert during the last week of July 1983. They were kind enough also to invite the Director General Army Medical Services, Director Army Dental Services and Director Army Nursing Services who joined the three and a half thousand strong audience for the open air concert. The very rural setting is quite superb and the musical results most pleasing ( despite the occasional Jumbo Jet from Heathrow!) and can be highly recommended to anyone if they are near Twickenham on a Wednesday evening between May and August.
The concert itself was most enjoyable and very varied in content. Lt-Col Duncan Beat, the Director of Music, had put a lot of thought into the programme planning in order to feature our Band in various high spots. The opening Fanfare was a "First public performance" of "In Ardius Fidelis" (the Corps Motto) by our Solo French Horn player L/Cpl Bill Evans (transferred to Royal Army Ordanance Corps Band on disbandment) it frightened him to death hearing it on the 24 strong Kneller Hall Fanfare team! The third item on the programme was the haunting Oboe Solo "The Watermill" featuring Sgt. Reg Kirkpatrick (took redundancy on disbandment). The next item to feature was the RAMC version of "Dixieland Jamboree" featuring WO2 (BSM) Mick Feehily, Bass, (became AMS TA Bands Bandmaster on disbandment) , Sgt. Keith Leonard, Clarinet, (took redundancy on disbandment) Sgt. Mick Leyland, Trumpet, (emigrated to Australia on disbandment) and Musns. Glen Jones Percussion (transferred into the Corps as a Medical Orderley on disbandment), and Marcus Gibbons, Trombone, (Transferred to The REME Band (became Drum Major) on disbandment and is now BSM at Kneller Hall). Quite by chance the son of our Director of Music, Musn. Peter Carson, Life Guards ( became Trumpet Major State Trumpeters) was attending a course at Kneller Hall and the powers that be decided that Major Carson, as guest Conductor of the evening, should conduct the Haydn Trumpet Concerto with his son Peter playing the Solo Part. The concert concluded with "Wellington's Victory", a musical extravaganza which included marching bands and fireworks.A truly memorable evening and by their subsequent comments was more than appreciated by the Directors of our Corps.
Acknowledgements to The RAMC Journal. Lt-Col Roy Eyeions OBE and Keith Leonard.