With a queue spanning the perimeter of the iconic Lincoln Cathedral, the Band of the Royal Air Force College were preparing themselves for a night to remember as crowds flocked to celebrate and commemorate 100 years of the Royal Air Force.
With station execs and VIPs from every Lincolnshire station in attendance, the sheer magnitude of this event was very apparent in what is arguably the Royal Air Force’s most important and influential county. Myleene Klass, compere for the evening, opened proceedings with the sounds of the newly commissioned Fanfare for the RAF 100 from the pen of Principal Director of Music Wing Commander Piers Morrell ringing around the beautiful cathedral acoustic.
Vignettes from period dressed actors from the University of Lincoln added a real sense of context and realism to the occasion. The performers re-enacted not only true accounts of conflicts past, but also the emotional struggles of women and children left behind to ponder the effects of war on their loved ones.
The chance to celebrate and inspire was given to the audience when Myleene Klass asked past and serving members, including three bomber command veterans, to stand and take an applause of appreciation.
The mix of old favourites such as 633 Squadron and Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, combined with new works including Into the Skies, an RAF 100 commissioned work by Philip Lawrence and Lightning II, a work commissioned in 2016 celebrating the RAF’s new F-35 Lightning II fighter jet gave the audience a timeline of music spanning across the last century. Merlin, a new march composed by serving Royal Air Force Musician Cpl Tim Hynd and inspired by the Hucknall Flight Test Museum, was a particular highlight for both the performers and the audience.
With a standing ovation and The Royal Air Force March Past closing the evening, the band reflected on a job well done. There is no rest however, with more RAF 100 celebrations stretching countrywide throughout the rest of the year, the band’s loyal supporters are sure to see them in action soon, whether on the concert platform or on parade.
The Band of the Royal Air Force College would like to wish all serving and past service personnel a safe and successful centenary year.
Senior Aircraftman Andrew Belfield