Celebrating military music and culture through Military Tattoo
By: Kgabo Mashamaite
The Natal Mounted Rifles (N.M.R.) parade grounds in Durban became a hive of activity between 11 and 13 July 2012 as members of the public were treated to a spectacular music and drill display by members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) during the annual KwaZulu-Natal Military Tattoo.
The aim of the event was, among others, to celebrate five successful years of military parades, music and re-enactments by military personnel from all Services and civilian organisations, including international guest appearances.
Members of the public could not have asked for more as the year’s KwaZulu – Natal Military Tattoo 2012 event provided them with a double dose of a top – notch military music. The organisers decided to spoil them by staging two shows per day, the first starting at 17:00 and the second at 20:00 over three days.
The event organisers provided an opportunity for those military music lovers who could not make it because of other commitments during the day by a repeat performance in the evening.
The 121 SAI Bn from Mtubatuba opened the proceedings with Zulu dance, to the delight of the foreign holidaymakers. The SA Army Band Kroonstad took to the stage and capped the proceedings with a ballet performance. The SA Air Force choir under the direction of Pat Sathekge serenaded the audience with sweet melodies and the SA Army Band Polokwane, made their first appearance at the show.
The SAMHS Pretoria Combined Pipes and Drums also took to the stage to perform items such as Amazing Grace, among others.
Spectators were also treated to other military traditions such as the gun - running demonstration in which three teams from the Air Defence Artillery Formation took to the stage to demonstrate their strength and speed by dragging an anti – Aircraft gun from one point to another in under three minutes. The SA Navy Precision Drill squad also set the scene alight with their well executed drill moves, while the 2 Field Engineer Regt exhibited an Improvised Explosive Device and assured the public of the SANDF’s ability to provide safe and secure environment to the South Africans.
The Royal Hospital School Band from the United Kingdom, which was on a tricentenary tour on their way to Cape Town, also made a one – night only international guest appearance on 12 July 2012.
The highlight of the event was the massed bands consisting of 130 musicians,