Fiji Sun - - Playing For 29 Depart - Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika LITIA TIKOMAILEPANONI

The chill­ing con­di­tions in Lon­don did not de­ter Pri­vate Pirinis­ese Qer­e­natabua of the Repub­lic of Fiji Mil­i­tary Forces from her stint with the brass band at the Queen’s 90th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions. The 24-year-old lass from Nayau said the ex­pe­ri­ence was unique and some­thing she would never want to miss. “It was over­whelm­ing, and hav­ing the chance to see Her Majesty Queen El­iz­a­beth II, sit­ting in front of us watch­ing, when we al­ways see and read about it on the mag­a­zine and watch it on tele­vi­sion, it was amaz­ing,” Ms Qer­e­natabua said. “It was re­ally a good ex­pe­ri­ence while hav­ing ev­ery­one there cel­e­brat­ing her 90th birth­day and the at­mos­phere that night was dif­fer­ent al­to­gether.”

See­ing the roy­als

Pri­vate Wal­ter Mi­nati, who also went on the trip, said the high­light of his night was per­form­ing in front of the Queen with the band, and see­ing the Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge. “I saw Prince Wil­liam and Princess Kate which was just made my night ex­tra spe­cial,” he said. The 26-year-old of Le­vuka Vi­lage in Ovalau for 14 days the group en­dured the cold in Lon­don com­pared to the warm tem­per­a­ture in Fiji.

Great ex­po­sure

Repub­lic of Fiji Mil­i­tary Forces Lieu­tenant-Colonel Serevi Vonon­alagi said: “Although the sched­ule was tight and the weather was cold the boys gave it their all and it was also a great ex­po­sure for all of them.” Lieu­tenant-Colonel Vono­lagi was the tour leader. “When the group ar­rived at Lon­don they started re­hearsal on May 6-15 on­wards and these re­hearsal would go on un­til mid­night, these re­hearsals were done in one whole day,” he said. “Judg­ing from the num­ber of peo­ple who came to shake our hands and the re­ac­tion from the Queen af­ter the per­for­mance, it was a tremen­dous show. “We have been to other coun­tries in Scot­land, Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia etc. to per­form but this one was some­thing very spe­cial to us all be­cause it was Her Majesty the Queen’s birth­day which was done at her place.”

Photo: Litia Tikomailepanoni

Mem­bers of the Fiji Mil­i­tary brass band ar­riv­ing from Lon­don af­ter per­form­ing at Queen El­iz­a­beth II’s 90th birth­day in Lon­don.

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