Corps of Drums Training Day May 2012
A rookies perspective
ACF Corps of Drums workshop at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks Grantham 5th May 2012
We convened at 0845 where upon equipment, instruments and people were loaded onto the transport – some individuals commented that they had forgotten that this time of day existed on a Saturday! We departed the Hykeham ACF detachment 24 strong in convoy, which was until we realised we were minus the drum majors mace! We arrived at a windswept Grantham Barracks where we were welcomed by 2 Squadron and were taken into a briefing where the day’s activities and objectives were outlined. This event was a follow on from the last training day where all three corps of drums in Lincolnshire gathered to gain experience and swap ideas.
The drum corps then assembled on the main car park where an initial parade was conducted to ascertain individuals’ capabilities, before being broken up into smaller groups for personalised tuition. The flute players retired to the warmth of the classroom to preserve their delicate pinkies where they did their thing! The hardcore drummers remained outside in the driving rain – Scott of the Antarctic had nothing on this!
As expected I was with the group requiring instruction in the more rudimentary side of drumming. It was here that I found that I was rather good at what I thought only clocks did – tick tocking! With the drum majors wit, charm and enthusiasm he made the basics interesting and inspired confidence in our motley crew. All too soon however after the obligatory team photo, it was lunchtime allowing us the opportunity to reflect over the mornings activities and socialise with the other cadets.
The afternoon brought more rain, necessitating most of us to be classroom bound. Staff Gooding however took an enthusiastic group outside to sample the delights of the bugle. Whilst that was going on I had some one to one tuition with Sgt Gooding on the basics of marching in step, counter marching etc (basically no tick tocking!) before returning to the classroom where we practised the four basic beats and drum rolls.
Fortunately there was a break in the weather allowing us to perform a grand finale. This enabled us to encompass the days teachings into a parade and indicate to both ourselves and our instructors how far we had come. The parade features a stirling effort from the outnumbered flute players, plenty of counter marching and a manoeuvre that I thought was particularly clever; the bomburst!
The final assessment from Staff Gooding was that we have noticeably improved from the morning’s efforts, but we had some way to go. Everyone agreed that they found the day fulfilling and worthwhile despite the best efforts of the weather. Personally I left feeling mentally drained but aware of the proud tradition of marching bands, and a new found awareness of the protocol and discipline required to be successful within the corps. I’m also aware of my shortcomings as a drummer but with the support I know I will receive from the instructors, one day I will get there. It was a pleasure working with our cadets who are an enthusiastic disciplined bunch and a credit to their uniform.
CA Dean Towers