TESTIMONY: PLAYING FOR
QUEEN WARMS COLD NIGHT
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.
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.”
Members of the Fiji Military brass band arriving from London after performing at Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday in London.