MORE ON BANDS !
THE ARTICLE BILLY GOAT MUSINGS last week reminded us that there were several excellent Bands, some now forgotten.
There were, of course, the fore runners of the Band mentioned, the 1RAR Band, and the 2RAR Band, one usually based among the Shonas whilst we Amandabele had our own. They were resplendent in their Greens, whilst the Police had their own Band in the BSA Blue and Gold.
Whilst these Regular Army Bands will be well remembered by those of us old enough to remember such celebrations, there were also at least two Territorial Army Bands, which should not be forgotten.
The lesser known was the Corps of Engineers Pipe Band based in Harare. This only existed during the conflict of the Seventies, and I suspect was formed largely of pipers and drummers wishing to find a niche for themselves . I was privileged to have been invited to join this Band, but my Commission would have prevented my release from my unit, I had wanted to become a serving Bandsman.
Of more interest, was the 2Bn. RRR Pipe Band based in Bulawayo! This Band was one of the finest in the region. It regularly won 'Victor Ladora' at both Local and South African Highland gatherings, especially the Royal Scottish Gathering in Johannesburg.
Indeed in 1931 this Band was commemorated with the publication of a bagpipe tune, the '2nd Battalion, The Royal Rhodesia Regiment. I thought that this tune was now little known outside our beloved City, but actually came across it in Calgary, Canada, in 1996!
The band became successful through the quality of its tutors. After the Hitler War, the British Government disbanded many of its fine Regiments, and servicemen left on the streets in the post war recession, immigrated to the Colonies. With them went some of the finest Piper Majors, pipers, and drummers in the World. It was not long before the World Champion Pipe Bands came from Canada, New Zealand, and 'God forbid a repetition,' Ireland!
One such immigrant to Bulawayo, who shall remain nameless, was a World Champion Piper. He later became a World Champion drinker.
The 2Bn RRR Drum Majors Mace and Sash used to be on display in the Bulawayo Club.
This band was fortunate enough to be fed from the Northlea school Pipe Band, which itself was a champion School band both here and in South Africa.
In deference to the Bulawayo Pipe Band, they too were a Band of note. Probably the first Pipe Band to be formed in this Country, the Band was originally formed as a Private Limited Company to raise the funds to buy its equipment! It never paid a dividend, and its shares were never worth enough to trade!
Does the Bulawayo Pipe Band still exist today bFollowing the recruitment of Piper Malcolm Jansen and long time tenor drummer Ernie Cock, into the heavenly Pipe Band, plus the inimitable Laurie Bond, if it exists it must be in very reduced size, but possibly remains a tribute to the will to survive!