Band of the Irish Guards, Pipes and Drums of the Royal Regiment of Scotland at Center for the Arts

Posted: January 11, 2010 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: January 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm

The Band of the Irish Guards and the Pipes of Drums of the Royal Regiment of Scotland bring the British Empire’s pomp and grandeur to Mason’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Sunday, Jan. 24, at 2 and 7 p.m.

Renowned across the globe, these ensembles lift spirits with rousing marches, sailor ballads and Celtic folk songs. The program opens with a fanfare and the Irish greeting “Céad Mile Fáilte” (A Hundred Thousand Welcomes) and includes numerous traditional songs from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales; the national anthems of Great Britain and the United States; popular melodies such as “Greensleeves,” “Ode to Joy” and “Amazing Grace”; and a spirited tribute to the American armed forces.

A group of gifted musicians gathered by Queen Victoria, the Band of the Irish Guards was founded in 1900 to commemorate the bravery of the Irish Regiments, and quickly gained a reputation for excellence. This tour features the U.S. debut of the Band of the Irish Guards.

The band’s responsibility was to inspire an esprit de corps among the troops, and it traveled extensively through both World Wars to give morale-boosting performances for those on active service. With 49 musicians in its ranks, the band’s main duty is to play with four Foot Guards Bands for the Mounting of The Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace, and for state ceremonial occasions and public duties.

In addition, the band has toured around the world, and is recognized as the first band to perform in Japan’s Imperial Palace for the empress and two crown princesses. The band has also made many television and radio broadcast appearances, including the queen’s 80th birthday celebrations in 2006. In addition to their musical activities, members are trained to give support to Army medical services in the event of mobilization, and have assisted in the first Gulf War and Kosovo.

The Royal Regiment of Scotland first came into being in 1881 with the union of two distinguished Scottish regiments, the 91st Argyll Highlanders and the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders, which had been formed during the reign of King George III.

The regiments participated in numerous major campaigns, including the Battle of Waterloo during the Napoleonic Wars, the Battle of New Orleans and the Battle of Balaklava during the Crimean War, which earned them the moniker “The Thin Red Line.”

The battalion became part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland in March 2006, forming the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, and is now based in Canterbury, Kent, in England.

A discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

Tickets are $48, $40 and $24; tickets for youth through grade 12 are half price when the child is accompanied by an adult. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

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