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2010 Tattoo Travel Blog (Page 3)

The Citadel Department of External Affairs is blogging the journey to Edinburgh and back with the Regimental Band and Pipes. Thank you for joining us and for your support!

Meeting Royalty

Written by Charlene Gunnells
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 00:35

Later today several cadets in the Regimental Band and Pipes will get to meet Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. She is coming to meet select Tattoo participants during rehearsals.

This year Her Majesty The Queen conferred a royal title upon the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which recognizes its six decades of service to culture and entertainment. The nightly festival of music and entertainment is now called the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This is the first occasion that one of Edinburgh’s International Festival events has been awarded such a distinction, Tattoo Chief Executive and Producer Maj. Gen. Euan Loudon said.

"We are enormously proud to receive such a prestigious honor which, as we embark on our Diamond Jubilee Year, is a wonderful endorsement for this unique national institution."

The royal family has been closely connected with the Tattoo since it began in 1950. Queen Elizabeth was present that year when Sir Thomas Beecham conducted the Massed Bands during the finale sequence. Then, in 2002, the Tattoo helped celebrate the queen's Golden Jubilee with a spectacular production, which featured performers from across the Commonwealth.

Special guests in Scotland

Written by Charlene Gunnells
Tuesday, 03 August 2010 19:37

We had a few special guests at Tuesday night's rehearsal at Edinbugh Castle.

Citadel President Lt. Gen. John Rosa, his wife Donna Rosa and Provost Sam Hines and his wife Laura stopped in to watch the Regimental Band and Pipes practice their portions of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which opens Friday. Tom Culler, who kicked off the fundraising effort to send the band to Scotland, is here too and attended last night's rehearsal. We will have photos and video on Wednesday. It's going on 2 a.m. and is time to hit the rack. I say that with no pun intended because the twin beds in our rooms are metal racks and quite uncomfortable.

Long days and nights

Written by Charlene Gunnells
Tuesday, 03 August 2010 03:13

Today is going to be a busy day at Tattoo rehearsals. Up at 7 a.m. and in rehearsals by 9 a.m. We're back at Redford Army Barracks with the other bands, most of them professional musicians, practicing for the open dress rehearsal Thursday (tickets required) and the opening night show on Friday. Today we will learn more about the show's finale and how the Regimental Band and Pipes will be involved. Monday's rehearsal for the pipe band was particularly grueling with many hours of playing and marching. Cadet Danielle Vincent, who calls the Lowcountry home, said afterward that in her six years of playing bagpipes she has never played so much. The pipers rehearse nearly every night after they return to the University of Edinburgh dorms until the wee hours of the morning. I could tell they were whipped last night because our floor -- the pipe practice hall -- quieted down at about 11 p.m., rather than 1 a.m. More later.

In awe of Edinburgh Castle

Written by Charlene Gunnells
Monday, 02 August 2010 04:05

day_1_castleThis morning the band and pipes walked onto the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle for the first time. It was both thrilling and intimidating at the same time. Muster was at 6 a.m. for the short bus ride from the University of Edinburgh dormitories to the castle. With strict instructions to not play a single note until 7 a.m., the cadets practiced marching and took in the splendor of the castle on a damp, cold morning in Scotland. (Video coming soon.)

Maj. Gen. Euan Loudan, who oversees the Tattoo, and Steve Walsh, Tattoo production manager, looked on during rehearsal, occasionally offering advice on performance and marching technique. Behind them were tourists that had wandered into the castle grounds to take pictures and videos as the band and pipes practiced its seven-minute feature segment.

day_1_castle_touristsDuring dress rehearsals Thursday, up to 8,700 people plus media will pack the grandstand for the Tattoo. Opening night Friday is expected to be much the same.

After an hour-long practice this morning, the Regimental Band returned to the University of Edinburgh for breakfast and a break before afternoon rehearsals. The Pipe Band went directly to Redford Army Barracks for breakfast and a full day of rehearsals. Everyone will be back at the castle later today.

Cadets land in the news

Written by Charlene Gunnells
Sunday, 01 August 2010 00:00

scotsman_paperIt's Sunday and many of the cadets are out an about in Edinburgh and cities nearby. Sundays are their day off from organized rehearsals but behind the scenes there is work going on in meetings. It is all in preparation for next week. It's is going to be hectic as the band and pipes start rehearsals with all the other performers who are arriving in Scotland today. The preview night performance is Thursday and opening night is Friday. Things are about to pick up speed.

Friday and Saturday the cadets rehearsed their music, marching technique and performance. They have a few surprises in their show. We're hoping to be able to bring those to you, but we don't want to spoil the surprise for the 8,700 spectators who will come to Edinburgh Castle for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo opening night.

In the meantime our band has already made a name for itself here in Edinburgh. This week we met a photographer from The Scotsman, the country's largest newspaper. He had come to our dormitory to take pictures of another Tattoo group and was intrigued by the cadets. He came to rehearsals at Redford Barracks and took loads of pictures. One of them, the one in this photo, was in the Saturday edition of The Scotsman. Two of the cadets pictured are from the Charleston area - Christopher Tipton, the trumpet player in the center is a Stratford High School graduate from Summerville and Kelly Oliver, far right, is a West Ashley High School graduate from Charleston.

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