The Band OF the RAF College

The Band of The Royal Air Force College

Director of Music: Squadron Leader Richard Murray
Bandmaster: Warrant Officer Ian Laidler
Band Sergeant: Flight Sergeant Mark Chappell
Drum Major: Chief Technician Simon Carter

Since its formation in 1920, The Band of the Royal Air Force College is arguably the band which is most steeped in musical history and tradition.

Based at RAF College Cranwell, Lincolnshire since its formation, the Band continues to perform at a diverse range of venues and engagements across the UK and in countries worldwide.

The Band of the RAF College at Lincoln Castle for Somme Commemoration parade

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On parade, the Band has performed at the world-renowned Edinburgh Tattoo, changed the guard at Buckingham Palace and was the first RAF Band to change the guard at Edinburgh Castle, in July 2014. Battle of Britain sunset ceremonies, marching displays, freedom parades and displays at air and county shows also form a major part of the Band’s itinerary. A highlight was playing a pivotal role in the 70th Anniversary celebration of the Dambusters Raid, at RAF Scampton, in May 2013, which was featured live on BBC television.

In 1923, The Band of the RAF College became the first military band to broadcast on BBC Cardiff. More recently, the Band broadcast on BBC Radio 2 with Clare Teal. The CD recording of American Legends follows on from other successful recordings, such as ‘Sing! Swing Wing’, by The RAF Swing Wing big band and the RAF Charitable Trust’s 2014 ‘RAF In Concert’ Tour CD.
The Band of the RAF College marching at Lincoln Castle

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The Band enjoys performing at concerts throughout the year, many in support of charities such as the RAF Benevolent Fund and Royal Air Force Association. A highlight for many musicians is the annual RAF Charitable Trust concert series, performing a dozen cities, in several of the country’s major concert halls. In 2011, the band featured with Brian May and Kerry Ellis in the prestigious outdoor concert ‘Anthems in the Park’, at RAF College Cranwell, and in 2013 featured with ‘Jonathon and Charlotte’ of Britain’s Got Talent fame.

The Band enjoyed an exciting and varied 2016, starting with a tour of Australia and New Zealand, where the Band performed as part of the ‘Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Down Under’. Following that, all the RAF Bands took part in the Sims Cup Drill Competition for the first time since 1998, which was held in front of the RAF College. Other highlights included recording the CD for the 2016 ‘RAF In Concert’ Tour and performing live on Facebook, at the prestigious Symphony Hall, Birmingham, reaching over 55,000 people.

The Band of the RAF College on stage at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham
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2017 has already seen the Band perform for HM The Queen, unveiling the Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial, performing in a special tri-service Drumhead Service of Dedication on Horse Guards Parade, in London. The Band is also looking forward to a busy 2018, celebrating the Royal Air Force Centenary year.

As serving members of the RAF, Band personnel are also required to support various operations worldwide. Personnel have served in Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq, Cyprus and The Falkland Islands, fulfilling roles that have included aircraft guarding, ambulance driving, convoy commanding and passenger handling.

The Royal Air Force Music Services leads the way for others to follow.

Royal Air Force Swing Wing

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