21st March 2013 Washington DC, USA

Over 33 shows, 32 venues and 10,000 miles

The following is a guest blog by musician Paul Williams who plays cornet in the Band of the Scots Guards. Paul is currently taking part in the Pipes and Drums of The Black Watch and the Military Band of the Scots Guards 2013 US tour.

The Band of the Scots Guards and the Pipes, Drums and Dancers of 3 Scots (The Black Watch) has now been touring the United States for nearly 7 weeks. So far we have played 33 shows in 32 venues. The mileage is fast reaching 10,000, 31 hotel stays and covering 18 States. Nearly $38,000 has been raised in support of the Scots Guards Colonel’s Fund.

In order to give you a flavour of our show, I thought I would explain a bit about the performance:

Our show, entitled British Isles of Wonder, provides the audience with a musical journey throughout the Home Nations. Music such as the Keel Row, Jerusalem, Men of Harlech and the Piper of Dundee is played. The Finale section (involving all members of both units) starts with a tribute to the Armed Forces which feature the marches of the US Army, the US Navy, the US Air Force and finally the US Marine Corps. During the performance of the marches, ex-members of the forces are invited to stand and be acknowledged by the remainder of the audience. The volume of the applause, whooping and cheering is symbolic of the respect and thankfulness the American public feel for their Armed Forces.

The finale was composed by previous Director of Music, Major Simon Haw MBE. The finale also includes Amazing Grace (a clear favourite with our audiences), the evening hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, the Last Post, and its American counterpart Taps. These pieces provide a fitting ending to our evening of British military pageantry.

The Scots Guard Band perform during their US tour.

Just last month, we performed at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. On this occasion, our performance of the Finale was particularly moving as it was dedicated to Sgt Shawna Morrison US Army, a graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, who was killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.

Outside of the performances, we have been really fortunate to fit in some sightseeing as well either during our time off or on journeys between performances. We have been able to visit Graceland (the home of Elvis Presley) as well as the Gateway to the West, a horseshoe shaped building in St. Louis representing the beginning of the West in the US.

During our performances, the quality of the venues and the warmth of the audience has not ceased to amaze us. We count it as a privilege to represent the Scots Guards, the wider British Army and the UK in such a way.

More about the tour: Regimental dancing, flashing red ceremonial dress, and historic music by the Pipes and Drums of The Black Watch and the Military Band of the Scots Guards have entertained American audiences since they first visited the United States in 1872. Beginning in 1955, they have regularly toured the US coast-to-coast. Having played troops into famous battles like Waterloo, these world-renowned musicians have toured the globe, performing at official state functions and engaging many cultures around the world. Organised by CAMI Inc., this 2013 tour combines both historic Regimental bands as they perform 59 shows in over 50 cities over 3 months around the US and Canada.

About Major General Buster Howes

Major General Buster Howes OBE is currently serving as the Defence Attaché at the British Embassy in Washington. Buster was educated at Christ’s Hospital and York and London Universities and…

Major General Buster Howes OBE is currently serving as the Defence Attaché at the British Embassy in Washington. Buster was educated at Christ’s Hospital and York and London Universities and was commissioned into the Royal Marines in 1982.

Initially Buster served as a troop commander in 42 Commando RM, deploying for the first time on operations, in Northern Ireland. After training a recruit troop, he qualified as a Mountain Leader and was then posted to Recce Troop, 45 Commando RM. After a stint as AdC to Major General Training, Reserve and Special Forces RM, he was appointed to the 2nd Division, USMC, as a Regimental Operations Officer (for the First Gulf War). He subsequently commanded Charlie Company, 40 Commando RM; Commando Training Wing at CTCRM; 42 Commando RM (for the Second Gulf War); and 3 Commando Brigade. Buster has worked in personnel policy, in the Fleet HQ; as a planner in the Rapid Reaction Force Operations Staff of UNPROFOR, in Bosnia; and as a strategist in the Naval Staff Directorate, in MOD. He has attended the Naval Staff College, the Higher Command and Staff Course, the Royal College of Defence Studies and the Pinnacle Course. He has served as a Divisional Director for ICSC(L) at the JSCSC, and as COS to Commander Amphibious Forces (CAF). He was Chief Joint Co-ordination and Effects, in HQ ISAD X in Kabul and then Director Naval Staff, in 2007.

In addition, he also served as Head of Overseas Operations in MOD before being appointed Commandant General Royal Marines/CAF in February 2010. Buster commanded Operation ATLANTA, the EU Counter Piracy Mission in the Indian Ocean for 15 months up to 1 August. He is also a member of the Navy Board, Captain of Deal Castle, President of the Royal Marines Mountaineering Club, and Vice President of the RNRM Children’s Charity.