RAF Summer Dinner

The band had an unscheduled outing on Thursday 26th July when we were engaged to play for the Officers’ Mess Summer Dinner at RAF High Wycombe. Whatever the reason, with less than three weeks to go the organisers had found themselves without a band to provide music for the occasion. This was when they contacted Aylesbury Concert Band. Fortunately we were able to oblige, though not without the help of a number of deps. At this time of year we have a lot of light music in the pad from playing at fêtes, which are ideal for accompanying a dinner like this, so conductor Rob Wicks was able to put together and rehearse a programme very quickly.

The dinner was planned to be held on the lawn outside the Officers’ Mess, which might have been risky given British weather, but the 2018 heatwave was still going strong and it was another sweltering hot day. As the band set up ready to play from 7.00pm the temperature was still nearly 30°C so we began the evening in shirtsleeves. We played for a while as the diners were enjoying aperitifs, and then played two sessions during the dinner with a break between. It was actually quite enjoyable to be playing outside on such a warm evening.

An evening such as this always ends with a loyal toast, to which the band plays the National Anthem. On this occasion one of the guests was from Holland, so a second toast to the king of the Netherlands was called for, requiring the Band to play the Dutch National Anthem.

The whole evening was a little outside the band’s normal experience, so all credit to the members for coming out at such short notice and playing well. One of the organisers emailed the next day to say Thanks from the Officers’ Mess at RAF High Wycombe to … the whole of the band for a superb performance last night. The music was outstanding and was commented on by so many people last night and this morning.