July 22, 2008

Major Pipes Up With a Fanfare for Tattoo


A SPECIALLY commissioned fanfare is to open every show of this year's Edinburgh Military Tattoo, it was revealed today.

Organisers this morning unveiled the official programme for the event, which will feature more than 1000 performers from around the world.

Each of the 25 performances will be opened with the fanfare Op Corporate, composed by Royal Marine Major Mick Dowrick and said to be a "stirring" piece for bagpipes.

This year's Tattoo will also feature the first performance by an Indian military band in 46 years, with 40 musicians from the Indian Army Chief's Military Band, renowned for its faultless co- ordination of music and movement, travelling from Delhi to wow Capital audiences.

Other highlights include a display of "meticulous drill" by the Guard of His Majesty The King of Norway, whose bayonet-tipped rifle routines have been among the most memorable of the show on the seven previous occasions they have performed.

For the first time this year the Norwegian contingent will provide the Castle drawbridge sentries while performing the Guard of Honour duty in the show's final sequence.

The Territorial Army will also be part of this year's Tattoo, with members from all walks of life parading on the Castle Esplanade showground alongside regular army compatriots from August 11-14, to celebrate the TA's centenary.

The show will close with a poignant piece of music, The Centenary Toast, played by the Lone Piper and written by Captain Steven Small, director of Army Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming, to mark the TA's anniversary.

The Tattoo is one of the most popular events during Edinburgh's festival season, with around 217,000 people expected to see the show during its run. Tattoo chief executive and producer Major General Euan Loudon, taking charge for his second year, said: "I plan to present the best of Scotland's heritage along with a wonderful variety from around the world, which I hope Tattoo visitors will delight in."

Performers from America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UK will be taking part in this year's 59th Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The programme also includes long-established favourites such as the massed pipes and drums, and there will be some "showbiz razzmatazz" with the appearance of one of America's most televised university marching bands, the 100-strong Golden Eagles Marching Band from south-east Missouri. The Massed Highland Dances will see the Tattoo's own Highland Spring Dance troupe join up with 50 dancers from Canada.

There will also be a large number of participants from Singapore, including a detachment of Gurkha Pipes and Drums, a 55-strong police military band, and an all-woman police pipe band.

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo runs from August 1-23, and has already sold out.

Organisers said there could be some re-sale tickets available from the box office in coming months, and the entire event will be televised on BBC1 on August 23.

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