National 150th anniversary celebrations end with a bang

Two QE Sixth-Formers joined young musicians from across the UK for a special event at the close of year-long celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the Cadet Force movement.

Clarinettists Alex Liangas and Richard Collins, of Year 12, assembled with more than 150 other cadets at St Martin’s Plain camp, Folkestone, for the cadets’ annual music ‘concentration’ before taking to the stage for A Musical Spectacular – a special event in Croydon’s Fairfield Halls to end the Cadet150 year. Earlier this year, Alex and Richard were among 40 cadets selected for a Cadet150 band assembled to perform at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party.

At the Croydon finale event, cadets from the Army Cadet Force, Combined Cadet Force, Sea Cadet Corps and the Air Training Corps played in front of the Lord Lieutenant of London, Sir David Brewer, the Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Avril Slipper, and an audience of more than 500. The 1812 Overture ended the concert, when the bands taking part were joined by the Moscow Militia re-enactment society. In their period dress, they fired their muskets and cannons over the band at the famous climax to Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece.

Concert organiser, Colour Sergeant Adrian Beckett of the Welsh Guards Band, said: “To end the year in such spectacular fashion was the aim of Cadet Force Music. We have worked hard all year at various events around the country and it was now the cadets’ time to shine on stage, with some great surprises.”""

The Band & Bugles of The Rifles under the direction of WO1 Bandmaster Brydon performed alongside the cadets and made a triumphant return to Croydon following their homecoming march through the town last year, culminating in them being given the freedom of the Borough.

Another highlight was the return of Scott Ellaway, an ex-cadet from Powys ACF and now an accomplished organist and one of the top conductors in the Country. Like the other performers, he gave his time on the evening to raise money for the charity, Help for Heroes.

And Welsh tenor Wynne Evans, “Gio Compario” from the Go Compare television commercials, came along both to offer backstage support and to sing alongside the musicians from the Cadet Force.