The Service Cadets’ Massed Pipes and Drums had the honour of Beating Retreat before Her Majesty The Queen at Balmoral Castle on 8 August.
ACF Cadets from as far afield as Northern Ireland joined forces with their RAF Cadet and Combined Cadet Force counterparts for the spectacular performance in sunny Royal Deeside.
After a packed week of rehearsals at Gordon Barracks in Aberdeen the Cadets produced a performance fit for royalty.
The Massed Pipes and Drums came from the following Cadet units: Army Cadet Force –The Black Watch Battalion, 1st Battalion The Highlanders, 2nd Battalion The Highlanders, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Battalion, West Lowland Battalion, Lothian and Borders Battalion, 2nd Battalion Northern Ireland. Royal Air Force Air Cadets – Highland Wing, West Scotland Wing, North-East Scotland Wing, South-East Scotland Wing, York Wing, London & South East Region. Combined Cadet Force – Campbell College CCF.
Piping and Drumming has a long tradition in the Cadet Forces, but has taken a significant step forward since the establishment of a structured approach to tuition over the last 13 years.
A week-long course of instruction is held at Cameron Barracks, Inverness around Easter each year for some 200 youngsters. This concludes with Retreats in Dingwall and Inverness and this year they mounted a spectacular Retreat at Edinburgh Castle in late April.
This was the fourth occasion on which the Massed Pipes and Drums have played before the Queen at Balmoral. In 2012 the Cadets had the privilege of playing at the Jubilee Garden Party and also Beat Retreat in 2014 and 2016. Several of the Cadets taking part will already have played on two occasions, but for many this was their first time.
The programme of music was jam packed, with each cadet committing all the music and moves to memory. The music included renditions of: The Battle of the Somme, Scotland Forever, Balmoral, Cullen Bay, Highland Cathedral, Scotland the Brave, The Black Bear, and Highland Laddie.
Prior to the March Off, Cadet Drum Major Paula Paulina from 2nd Battalion The Highlanders ACF came forward to request permission from Her Majesty to take leave.
Following the performance Her Majesty was introduced to Cadets and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, taking the time to chat to and congratulate each individual on a job well done.
The performance also marked the final day of involvement with the ACF of Colonel Malcolm MacBean MBE after a hugely impressive commitment to Cadets spanning 52 years.
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