Tigers return to Africa!

In November 2023 after the conclusion of the annual Remembrance Service in Addis Ababa and following a conversation between the HM British Ambassador to Ethiopia and Director of Music (DOM), seeds were sown for a return to the country by the The Band of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment to deliver bespoke conducting Master Classes and ‘Introduction to Western genre repertoire’ to the Ethiopian National Defense Force Band (ENDFB).

The 2024 Short Term Training Team (STTT) consisted of the Director of Music (DOM), CSgt Shaun James, Sgt Lynn Rawlings and Cpl Nigel Turner, all specifically selected for their past experience(s) and knowledge in delivering musical support and technical expertise.

The first week saw the DOM being deployed alone, undertaking and demonstrating the necessary skills required to stand and lead a Military Band on the concert stage. Working alongside 5 ENDFB conductors using prepared scores and recordings, the budding maestros were soon showing huge improvement in their individual techniques, so it was time to put their new skills to the test…..in front of their own ‘live’ Band!

Captain Yitay in action
Captain Solomon under the watchful eye of DOM PWRR

Week 2 saw the arrival of the other three members of the STTT, where deep diving into the close ensemble work and improving individual instrumental skills could begin. As well as Full Band sessions, smaller groups were also created to allow more concentrated rehearsals and tuition. This was all building towards a Gala Concert on the final day of training, where ENDFB would have the opportunity to demonstrate the professionalism, advancement and musical progress they had made.

Sgt Lynn Rawlings instructing the lower brass
Cpl Nigel Turner teaching the clarinets

Whilst we were in ‘in town’ and on the request of the Embassy, we were also invited to perform at a high-profile African delegation event hosted by the British Ambassador. With guests drawn from across the continent, we played during the reception in the grounds of the residence with our upbeat music being very well received by all present!

Relaxing (posing!) in preparation for our performance ….

Of course, when visiting any new country, it is extremely important you sample local customs and cuisine, so we were delighted to be invited by the ENDFB seniors to a very famous Addis restaurant, where we were all introduced to cultural music and traditional dancing…..our ‘efforts’ soon appeared on Facebook! Additionally, in the surrounds of our hotel accommodation there was a crazy golf course, so it only seemed apt for a Brass v Reed ‘Tiger Cup’ tournament, which, although friendly at first, all became rather tense and competitive over the final few holes!


Friday was soon upon us and with the stage set, it was time to welcome our principal guests HM Ambassador Darren Welch, Brig Gen Mamecha, Col (DA) Mark Bavin as well as all trainees from the ENDFB Music School. The Band performed magnificently, rising to the challenge of playing such pieces as Buglers Holiday, 76 Trombones and Queen in Concert.

DOM conducting ‘What a Wonderful World’
Capt Solomon leading the trumpets in ‘Buglers Holiday’

The end of the event saw the British Ambassador address and offer his sincere congratulations for a truly spectacular concert, which was followed by the conveying of gifts, presentation batons and course certificates to all those who had participated.

A Quintet of Musical Directors
The team having been presented with their traditional Habesha’s

There is no doubt that this STTT was immensely successful and much was achieved in a very short time. ENDFB truly embraced the musical challenges they met and proved that the ongoing collaboration between both our organisations is really starting to be effective and making a significant difference to their operational output. We look forward to continuing our musical journey together.

The Band of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment was formed in 1993 and is one of 19 UK-based Army Reserve Bands. The Regiment, however (also known as the ‘Tigers’), can trace its lineage as far back as 1572, with its modern formations coming into force in 1992, on the amalgamation of the Queen’s Regiment and the Royal Hampshire Regiment.

As well as providing musical support to the population of Kent and The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, we deliver essential music capability to events and engagements across the UK and overseas. We have recently performed at the Birmingham International Tattoo, Winchester Cathedral and for the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay. Additionally of late, we have undertaken deployments to Gibraltar, Cyprus, India, and Uzbekistan.

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