Strike up the band for royal couple

Todd Smith says brass bands are a regular presence in British royal ceremonies
Todd Smith says brass bands are a regular presence in British royal ceremonies

New Zealand junior euphonium champion Todd Smith shrugs when he's asked how he feels about playing in front of British royalty next month.

He is a member of the Marlborough District Brass Band and learned last week it will be performing in Seymour Square, Blenheim, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will lay a wreath at a commemoration ceremony on April 10.

"I don't even know what we are doing yet, but I do know we are playing," 18-year-old Todd said.

"The brass band is a very British tradition," he said.

The royal couple will lay a wreath at the war memorial to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and to those who lost their lives in that and subsequent conflicts.

Band director Kevin Moseley said other young band players had also shown Todd's apparent indifference to the royal visit but the occasion would be one they remembered in later years.

"I can remember playing when the Queen came. I can still say ‘I had the opportunity to play for the Queen'.

"If Prince William becomes king, these kids can say ‘I played for the king'."

Mr Moseley said the band had been asked to play in Seymour Square for half an hour before the arrival of Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

A military bugler and drummer would play during the wreath-laying while the Marlborough District Brass Band will play the New Zealand National Anthem when the royal couple arrive at the square.

Asked if serious rehearsals were planned before April 10, Mr Moseley said band members did their best for all important ceremonies. "Like Anzac Day . . . it's very much like that.

"It's very important and it has to be done right and the band will rehearse to make sure we get it right."

The Marlborough Express