Pipes & Drums in the Rhineland

The period following the excesses of the carnival season in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Rhineland Palatinate is normally very quiet as Lent sets in and the revelers recover from their hangovers…

This year however, a couple of days after Rosenmontag,  the local burgers turned out in their thousands to attend a series of performances given by the RAF Waddington Pipes and Drums as part of the Musik Parade show. Packed houses in  Koblenz, Westzlar and Munster gave the band a very warm reception with standing ovations in every venue.

Five shows in three days meant a lot of time sleeping on the bus as we travelled from our centrally situated hotel in Monheim am Rhein. The trip brought back some very pleasant and nostalgic memories to some of the older members of the band who had served in North Rhine-Westphalia and played throughout this area with the RAF Germany Pipes and Drums.

After a very busy winter the band were on top form having played extensively in our local area as well as the Berlin Tattoo in November and the British Military Tournament at Earls Court in December.  As it turned out, Waddington’s finest hit the ground running which was just as well as rehearsal time was at a minimum and focused entirely on the grand finale. This was conducted by a Russian General no less (how times have changed) with the New Zealander singer Cristal Benton and our own Pipe Major Finlay MacGhee filling the solo slots.

So onwards and upwards as we dive into another busy season, coming soon is “RAF Waddington in Concert” at Lincoln Cathedral in April . The station Voluntary Band will be joined by Pipes and Drums, The RAF Voluntary Choir, The Spitfires and Squadron Leader Ruth Shackleton  Mezzo- Soprano in a concert entitled “Wings over Lincoln”. This is to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Dam Busters Raid. The proceeds of this concert will go to the Royal Air Force Association and the Royal Air Force Benevolent fund charities. The whole show will be compered by Mr. Alasdair Hutton OBE ( the voice Royal Edinburgh Tattoo).

Scandinavia is a place less trodden by our intrepid musicians so we are all looking forward to our trip there in May when we have the opportunity to add an exotic Scottish flavour to the Smorgasbord of musical delights on offer to the Swedish public at the world famous Malmo Tattoo. No doubt as we speak box sets of, “Wallander” are being trawled through in an attempt to pick up some useful phrases.

If you require any more information on the band please visit our website www.rafwaddingtonpipeband.com or contact the Pipe Major at the band room.


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