Grenadier Side Drummer
The Band of the Grenadier Guards is one of the world's premiere military bands and has a long and distinguished history.The first mention of music in the Regiment is a Royal Warrant issued by King Charles II in 1685, the year of the birth of Bach and Handel, authorising the maintenance of twelve Hautbois in the King's Regiment of Foot Guards in London.
The Regiment's music was then gradually expanded by the addition of other instrumentalists; three more Hautbois were added in 1699 and two French Horns in 1725, according to the St James's Evening Post, Bugle Horns costing £27 were added in 1772.
By 1783 the Band had attained the perfect balance of two Oboes, two Clarinets, two Horns and two Bassoons - a mere eight players. But the strength of the Band increased rapidly in the latter part of the 18th Century so that in 1794 it is recorded as comprising one Flute, six Clarinets, three Bassoons, three Horns, one Trumpet, two Serpents and 'Turkish Music'. (This being Negro time-beaters who played the Bass Drum, Cymbals and Tambourine).
In the 19th Century many notable changes took place as new instruments and techniques were invented; in 1848 the Band listed two Flutes, one Piccolo, three Eb Clarinets, eight Bb Clarinets, three Bassoons, four French Horns, a family of Trumpets, one Althorn, three Tambourines, two Ophicleides and Drums. Still later were added Cornets, Bass, Euphonium, Flugel Horn and Saxophones and by 1858 the Band must have sounded much as it does today.
During its long history the Band has made many tours abroad including: USA and Canada, France, Italy and North Africa, Gibraltar, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Germany, Switzerland and many short visits to France and Belgium.
The Band is permanently based at Wellington Barracks, London, from where its established strength of 49 Musicians are able to provide musical support to the British Army primarily through participation in State and Ceremonial occasions.
These include The Queen's Birthday Parade, the daily Guard Mounting Ceremony in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, at Investitures, State Banquets, State Visits and at many of Her Majesty's engagements at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and elsewhere.
The Band shares these duties with the Bands of the other Foot Guards Regiments - and together these form the 'Massed Bands' for The Queen's Birthday Parade and other ceremonial occasions on Horse Guards Parade in London.
The Band are also able to provide a concert band, marching band, orchestra, dance band, a fanfare of trumpets and a trio from within their strength of forty nine. The band is formed with male and female musicians.
Although the Band is permitted to tour abroad, to broadcast, to make records and to undertake private engagements its main function is that of a Regimental Band.
In the event of War the whole Band provides essential war-time reinforcements as medical orderlies.