Tour of Kneller Hal
On a thankfully dry Wednesday morning 3rd July 2013 members and guests visited Kneller Hall, home of the Royal Military School of Music.
An excellent morning coffee taken at the NAAFI, known locally as Jenny’s, was followed by a tour of the Chapel which contains a stained glass window which is a key and important feature. There are also memorial plaques, each with a story to tell. Going outdoors into the park, we then listened to the army bands rehearsing excerpts from “Music from Films and Shows” for the performance they were giving that evening in the current series of Summer Concerts in the Park – a wonderful sound in the open air.
Then, on to the Museum which has a collection of musical instruments, musical documents, prints, manuscripts, paintings and uniforms which illustrate a fascinating account of the history of military music.
The School was established in 1857 with the revolutionary aim of standardizing the different instruments, their arrangements, their pitch and key signatures. Until then military music was known for producing an embarrassing and humiliating cacophony of sounds, even when playing the National Anthem, on state occasions.
The site at Kneller Hall combines the Headquarter Corps of Army Music and the Royal Military School of Music. The Headquarters gives direction and professional advice on army music matters.
We were guided by Major Roger Swift whose encyclopedic knowledge of military music matters, including the evolution of wind instruments, made the whole tour both highly instructive and packed full of interest.
President John Demont thanked Major Swift mentioning that the Club was especially privileged to have him with us on this, his last day before retirement. Michael Frazer was also thanked for having organized the outing.
Members and Guests then completed the tour with a tasty buffet lunch at the local Admiral Nelson in Whitton.
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