Scarlet Sunset

Lt. Col. Sam Burns
First published in
SFOR Informer#142, July 4, 2002

The setting sun provided a striking backdrop for The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals as they performed a Sounding of Retreat June 15 before senior SFOR officers and guests in front of the Headquarters building.

Camp Butmir - The 23 men and women of the band, originally formed in the UK Army in 1920, have undertaken a seven-day tour of SFOR camps within Bosnia and Herzegovina. Band Master, WO1, Bill Booth explained: "This type of tour falls neatly within the remit of the band; we class this type of work as a ceremonial support and soldier moral tour."
Sounding Retreat
The ceremony of Beating or Sounding Retreat is a link with the past when at the end of the day it was customary to close the gates of towns or forts. A roll of drums from the post guard served as a warning to those outside to return.
Concerts, formal and informal
The band have been allocated a number of tasks; to perform concerts in the Sarajevo Museum, an informal evening within Camp Butmir, in a piazza in Sarajevo city centre and two Sounding Retreats, one in Butmir and one in Banja Luka. "We particularly enjoy playing to international audiences in settings we have not seen before. Informal concerts like the one in Butmir and in the square in Sarajevo are most enjoyable because we can interact with the audience. They are fun for us and I was thanked by a number of the audience after we had finished," said Booth.
For musician Adam Scowen this is his first tour of an operational area, he plays the French horn. "I enjoy playing music from the big musicals, TV programmes and movie soundtracks because the audience usually recognises them and enjoys them more. This has been a great experience for me, I look forward to the next time."

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Related link: Nations of SFOR: UK

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Photos: PO Susan Rose

The band plays during the Sounding Retreat ceremony.


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Entertaining the people of Sarajevo with the Orthodox Cathedral in the background.

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