A saxophonist and a drummer spoke passionately about their experiences in the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band as they highlighted the opportunities it has afforded them.
Lance Corporal Azar Morrissey and Corporal Kallan Thomas were still at school when they became Junior Musicians. Being part of the Band and Corps of Drums helped them to develop while doing something they enjoy and getting paid in the process.
LCpl Morrissey, 22, said: “As clichéd as it sounds, it actually prepares you for life – time management, discipline, all of that.
“It’s what employers are looking for.”
An alto saxophonist, he joined the Band when he was a 17-year-old pupil at The Berkeley Institute.
LCpl Morrissey said: “I was probably there for about six months when I travelled to Estes Park, Colorado where we performed in a tattoo.
“More recently, we had an invitation from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment band; they invited six of us to go along with them to Gibraltar to do some ceremonial performances with them.”
The Sandys resident, who is a warehouse worker for Bermuda Air Conditioning, also became enamoured with other features of the RBR, which is recruiting now ahead of an initial training block next month.
He said: “It’s no secret within the whole battalion that I love the other aspects of the Regiment.
“I have no problem going out in the field. Everybody knows that if it’s time to do the other stuff, the ‘green’ work, I’m all there for it and that provides different opportunities for me to see the world as well.
“In 2019, I travelled with the Regiment to St Vincent, I’ve been in North Carolina twice and I’ve recently gone and spent around three months between London and Gibraltar.”
LCpl Morrissey said he would encourage others to join the Band – including people with a basic understanding of music – and added: “It’s a great opportunity: you’re getting paid to see the world, you’re making friends all around the world.”
Cpl Thomas, 30, a drummer, was in Primary 3 when he joined a group of children who took part in music lessons at Warwick Camp after school. In time, that gave him the chance to be among musicians not only from the Regiment but also from visiting bands.
As a Warwick Academy pupil, he joined the Bermuda Cadet Corps – now the RBR Junior Leaders – and later balanced that with his role as a Junior Musician, meaning he got paid to play.
Cpl Thomas said: “My first parade was the 24th of May parade, which was closely followed by my first major event, which was the funeral for Dame Lois Browne-Evans.”
His experiences since have included tattoos as well as performances in the UK’s St Paul’s and Canterbury cathedrals when he was attached to the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment band during his years as a student at the University of Brighton.
Now a teacher in training at the Whitney Institute Middle School, Cpl Thomas also teaches in his military life where he gives instruction in music, marching and other soldiering skills.
He said: “Just a passion to play is what we need, in all brass, woodwind and percussion instruments.”
Cpl Thomas, of Devonshire, added: “It’s nothing like being with people who support you, who are enjoying something with you that you all love to do together.
“It’s an experience that you can’t get almost anywhere else.” Residents aged between 18 and 50 are invited to join the RBR’s ranks by January 26 to take part in initial training, which will run from February 12 to 24.
* For more information or to sign up, visit www.bermudaregiment.bm or call 238-1045.
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