History of the Amersham Area

Music of the Great War

Band at Marlborough House-001

poppy_image_ww1_databaseIn November 2014, Amersham Band had the privilege of playing at Marlborough House in The Mall at an inaugural event to launch a world-wide project called Music of The Great War.

The band performed a new arrangement of World War One songs composed by Rob Wiffin, Professor of Conducting at the Royal Military School of Music. The launch event had the support of Her Majesty the Queen who sent a message of congratulation. Following the performance the band received an inaugural certificate presented by the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

The wonderful medley comprised eleven songs from the period, including favourites such as It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Mademoiselle from Armentieres and Pack Up Your Troubles (In Your Old Kit Bag). The band first performed the arrangement in Amersham Memorial Gardens in July during the World War One Commemoration and this eventually led to an invitation to play at Marlborough House.

Music of the Great War is a 5 year project using music of the period to educate and encourage schools, colleges, town bands, and the wider public across the UK and the world to learn in a positive way about the events and the experiences of the troops involved from all sides and how music played its part. Each year a short medley of music and songs from WW1 will be created and made available to bands to learn and then perform on Armistice Day (11th November) to commemorate the centenary of the war.

Band Historian, Caroline Perkins said “One hundred years ago Amersham Band marched through the town on several occasions as part of the recruiting of soldiers for World War One, and was involved again at the end or the War during the peace celebrations. Working with the Amersham Museum we identified two soldiers who had played in the band at the time and went to war. Both were fortunate to have survived the conflict to return and live in Amersham after the War. It has been a huge honour for the band to be part of the Music of the Great War project, as music was such an important part in keeping up morale, both for the troops and those at home.”

You can hear the band here.