Leading the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band & Corps of Drums, he enjoyed celebrating the island and her people all over the world as well as on home soil.
Now, after nearly 20 years, Major Dwight Robinson has passed on the baton.
Succeeding him, Lieutenant Sheldon Fox was appointed to the Regiment’s new role of Band Officer in September.
Maj Robinson’s musical career has included tattoos in Bermuda, Jamaica, Australia and Scotland.
He took part in Far East and Caribbean tours and represented the island at the Musikschau der Nationen (Music Show of Nations) in Germany.
Maj Robinson, who plays the trumpet, said: “What is most notable for me is certainly playing for the home crowd.”
Among his memorable performances – as well as numerous Bermuda Day parades – is the unveiling of a statue of former Miss World Gina Swainson.
Maj Robinson recalled: “That was a couple of years after she had actually won the beauty pageant, but it was still an occasion where we were celebrating someone who has performed and achieved well on a global stage, much like we’re doing now with Flora Duffy.”
He became Bandmaster in 2003 and Director of Music in 2006, effectively holding both roles since until Lt. Fox’s onboarding as a Staff NCO and subsequent Band Development Officer.
Maj Robinson said: “I’m really proud to be a Bermudian and having the opportunity to celebrate us, whether it’s locally, whether it is on the international stage, that’s a great concern of mine and something that I’ve always tried to position the band into being able to do.”
Asked what is needed to make a good bandmaster, Maj Robinson replied: “an appreciation of balance—work-life, particularly but also appreciating disparities in learning and the importance of matters to different people. Appreciating those differences and keeping the varied considerations in balance is important.”
“Music came naturally to me and appreciating that music and all of the elements around music don’t always come as naturally to everyone, so knowing how far to push an individual person, is something that would make a really good bandmaster.”
Maj Robinson added: “Because this is a unique organisation that we work for, we kind of have to play both sides of a conversation – yes, I have to be empathetic to you as a fellow musician or as a subordinate musician, but at the same time, I also have to hold you responsible for the requirements of the organisation.
“Finding where that needle fits can be tricky.”
Maj Robinson now has the post of career management officer – responsible for recruitment as well as the development and promotion of soldiers across the battalion.
He said his advice to Lt Fox was to “have fun”.
The new Band Officer, a cornet player, and his fellow musicians have been busy since his appointment in September.
Lt Fox said: “Within the first week, Her Majesty had passed so we did the proclamation parade.
“We also had the Peppercorn Ceremony and the band has done community engagements pretty much on a weekly basis since September.”
He added: “We do private events and we’ve also gone out and played at the football game for the Royal Bermuda Regiment football team, so we went out and supported them with a little bit of music as they were playing.”
Lt Fox, who attended the US Naval School of Music (NAVSOM) and graduated from the Senior Musician Course, Virginia Beach, Virginia in 2018 and completed a Student Bandmaster Development Course in Jamaica in 2019, explained that as a composer and the band’s second-in-command for the past five years, his own musical arrangements were already used.
Lt Fox attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Camberley, UK and commissioned a Lieutenant in December 2020, effectively serves as the Band Platoon Commander.
He plans to work with other musical organisations on the island, visit schools and demonstrate that “music is a very important part of the fabric of Bermuda”.
Lt Fox, who is also the Bandmaster for the Salvation Army Bermuda Divisional Band and Deputy Bandmaster at North Street Citadel Corps, added: “This is something that I’ve always wanted to do and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to continue and give back to the community.”
He added: “My main focus is developing my soldiers and taking care of them, that’s the overarching plan, moving forward.”
Looking ahead to the band’s role in Remembrance Day this week, Lt Fox explained: “We have some set pieces that we play every year to look back, like specific marches that have either a victory feel or historical context.”
He added: “As they lay the wreaths at the Cenotaph, we tend to play music that’s appropriate, so a nice, solemn hymn or we look back to the great funeral marches of Beethoven or Chopin.”
He pointed out: “We’re always looking for musicians.”
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