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The Military Bands Banging the Drum at Shrewsbury Flower Show
06 Jul 2023

The Royal Signals (Northern) Band, seen here performing at Goodwood, is coming to Shrewsbury Flower Show along with two other Army Reserve bands. Katy Rink finds out who they are and where they come from!

A trio of massed military bands will play musical favourites from The Dambusters to Disney tunes at this year’s Shrewsbury Flower Show. Call me old-fashioned, but this is always my favourite part of the Flower Show evening musical entertainment. There's something almost spiritual about the sound of massed bands spilling out beautiful, traditional compositions - it grabs you in parts that other music never quite reaches.

Coupled with the visual spectacle of the marching military bandsmen resplendent in their uniforms, it's a tradition that we should honour and champion - as we do here in Shrewsbury. This year's Flower Show takes place in The Quarry in Shrewsbury, on Friday, August 11th, and Saturday, August 12th and we can expect to see The Band of the Mercian Regiment, The Lancashire Artillery Band, and The Royal Signals (Northern) Band.

All three Army Reserve bands will perform individual medleys both on the bandstand during the day and then also for the finale and fireworks. They will then come together for a grand finale on both days.

Director of Music of The Band of the Mercian Regiment, Captain Ian Johnson, said: “We are made up of 26 Army Reserve musicians who balance their wide range of civilian jobs with their Reserve commitments, and we are involved in a huge variety of concerts and parades locally, nationally and internationally in support of many regimental, ceremonial and charity events.”

Warrant Officer Dave Crowther, for The Royal Signals (Northern) Band, said they had previously performed at the Flower Show, but this year will be their first performance there for eight years, and they will have 27 musicians appearing.

“As well as some popular military favourites, we’ll be highlighting the 80th anniversary of The Dambusters, the 100th anniversary of Disney, and paying homage to the music of the great Ennio Morricone who died earlier this year,” he added. 

The Lancashire Artillery Band will be led by Major Guy Booth. They regularly perform at high-profile engagements both at home and abroad – including joining the massed bands at The Queen’s Funeral, and the proclamation and Coronation of King Charles III.

Their ranks include the renowned Pipes and Drums and the band is made up from former regular army musicians, music teachers and music students.

Leanne Kirkham-Garvey, for the Flower Show organisers, said: “We can’t wait to welcome the dynamic and rousing military bands to the show, and we know our visitors will be impressed with their performances and the attention to detail when it comes to their immaculate turnout. There’s a varied and exciting programme of music planned, and the massed bands will be an incredible addition to our fireworks finale extravaganza on both days of the show.”

So bring your rugs, your flags and your fairylights and get ready for rousing performances again this year! 

About Shrewsbury Flower Show

Shrewsbury Flower Show is renowned as one of the UK’s premier horticultural shows attracting exhibitors from all over the country. It has been held for over 130 years, and is organised by Shropshire Horticultural Society – a registered charity that has awarded numerous grants to organisations and activities across the county since its launch.

To find out more about this year’s Shrewsbury Flower Show and the entertainment that is set to take place, visit www.shrewsburyflowershow.org.uk