The New Zealand Army Band performing at the 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Photo credit Martin Scott Powell

NZ Army Band shines

by Mike Isle

The New Zealand Army Band was presented with the Pooley Sword on the final night of the 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, an award given to the act that has made the greatest contribution to the Tattoo as chosen by fellow performers.

Director of Music, Major Graham Hickman, said it was a great honour to receive the award on behalf of the band, who had trained hard to bring New Zealand to the world stage.

“It’s been a memorable month for the band, with live audiences totalling around 220,000 in front of Edinburgh Castle,” Major Hickman said.

In Scotland for their sixth Edinburgh Tattoo, the New Zealand Army Band have performed in front of capacity crowds for 24 performances.

“The band performed exceptionally every day, even under some rather trying weather-related circumstances!” Major Hickman said.

“The audience response certainly helped — we received a lot of feedback about being the crowd favourite. Receiving the Pooley Sword has topped it all off. It’s very humbling to be recognised in this way by our fellow cast members.”

The New Zealand Army Band is known for bringing not only its elite talent but also its unique cultural heritage and a playful kiwi edge to its performances with performances often including well-known kiwi tunes, plenty of good humour and intricate drill manoeuvres. Based at Burnham Military Camp, the band has served New Zealand at events and festivals including the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Basel Tattoo in Switzerland and the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II.