‘1812 Overture’ to blast The Square
The big guns will be out on Saturday night for a performance of a world-famous piece of music. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, commemorating the defeat in Russia of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, is distinctive in that performances can make use of real cannons.
And that’s what the piece will get when the New Zealand Army Band combines with the Palmerston North Brass Band and six 105-millimetre howitzers of Linton Military Camp’s 16th Field Regiment in The Square, Palmerston North, on Saturday night.
Under the batons of army bandmaster Staff Sergeant Phil Johnston and Palmerston North Brass Band leader David Maas, the combined 60-piece band commands impressive musical firepower, with the six artillery pieces providing plenty of added punch.
Starting at 5.30pm, Johnston said the concert would open with some lighter numbers, which include Puttin’ On The Ritz, Hine E Hine, The Florentina March and a number showcasing champion New Zealand cornet player Private Kyle Lawson.
‘‘Private Lawson has recently returned from the UK where he played in the world-famous Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band - regarded as the best brass band in the world.’’
The programme would end in a full ceremonial Beating Retreat with a 50-man guard, a tradition dating from England in the 15th century.
Palmerston North Brass has been practising on its own, with Johnston joining in on Thursday night, and a full combined band rehearsal on Friday evening.
Maas said the local players in his rising 28-strong B-grade band were excited by the prospect.
‘‘It’s a great opportunity for Palmerston North players to be part of an ensemble at this level.’’
Maas, a former member of the army band, said they would use the experience as part of their buildup to the national band competition in April next year. The band won the national C-grade title in 2015, and in its first year of B-grade is ranked fifth.
Weather permitting, there will also be an RNZAF flyover, with events broadcast on the city’s large video screen.
In the morning of the Overture, the NZ Army Band will accompany a 100-man guard, full ceremonial charter parade with colours flying and bayonets fixed around The Square. The 11.50am march-past marks 60 years of the charter bestowed on Linton Military Camp in 1956, which gave its soldiers the right to parade in the city. The 40-minute parade starts outside Cafe Express and makes its way round The Square and past the cenotaph.
The big guns will be out on Saturday for a performance of 1812 Overture.