Soul Music for Sarajevo
Lt. Jim Sheldrake
First published in
SFOR Informer#154, December 19, 2002
A military band from the UK spent a weekend in Sarajevo
as part of a tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina, playing concerts
for SFOR troops and the residents of the city. Concerts were
held at Camp Butmir and also in the centre of Sarajevo, where
musicians played a variety of popular tunes. They also supported
a charity evening that raised money for children whose lives
have been affected by war in Europe and Africa.
Sarajevo - The Saturday shoppers in downtown Sarajevo were
treated to a performance by a touring military band from the
British Army. The musicians came from the Minden Band of The
Queen's Division and spent a week in the country playing concerts
for British soldiers and other SFOR troops at Camp Butmir,
the Banja Luka Metal Factory and Sipovo.
Shopping to music
The Sarajevo concert was organised by Ines Kuburovic from
the Sarajevo Arts Agency and took place in the square outside
the Catholic Cathedral. A large crowd soon gathered to watch
the band, conducted by WO1 Chris King, playing a variety of
popular tunes. Along with music from composers as diverse
as Frank Sinatra and Johann Sebastian Bach, they also performed
the themes from Star Wars and Mission Impossible. The band
finished with a selection of popular Christmas carols. One
young spectator was lucky enough to be given the conductor's
baton and took charge of the band for a short while. Among
the crowd was the High Representative, Paddy Ashdown with
his wife Jane, and plenty of television crews and reporters
were on hand to record the event for the evening news programmes.
Blues in Butmir
The musicians don't just play together as a large military
band. The previous evening, a small group of soldiers known
as the 'Midnight Hour' Soul, Blues and Pop Band played a charity
concert at the newly refurbished Café Royale, Camp
Butmir. 'Midnight Hour' played a selection of contemporary
music, including tunes from the films The Blues Brothers and
The Commitments. During a lively concert that got the whole
bar singing, 'Midnight Hour' were joined on stage by Flt.
Lt. Tony O'Neill as a guest backing singer.
Support for children
As well as providing a great evening of music for the staff
at HQ SFOR, money was raised for HOPE and HOMES for Children,
a charity that supports young victims of war and disaster.
Mark Cook, a UN Commander in the Croatian War, founded the
organisation in 1994 which now runs projects in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo, along with other countries
in Eastern Europe and Africa. In the Balkans, HOPE and HOMES
for Children work with local partners to replace institutional
orphanages with family based care. They also aim to prevent
the abandonment of children and influence national childcare
After a hectic weekend in Sarajevo, with a real purpose, the
band went on to play a concert in Bugojno, before flying back
to their base at Bassingbourn Barracks in the UK.
Nations of SFOR: UK