MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga., -- The relentless Southwest Georgia heat has hardly hampered final rehearsals for the Albany Marine Band's upcoming performances at the 2002 Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Edinburgh Scotland Aug. 2-24.
A tattoo is a historic evening military retreat ceremony that dates back many centuries. Originally used as a call to quarters for military personnel, it was also a signal for local pub owners to secure, or close, their taps.
This is the 53rd year of this event, which many consider the oldest and most prestigious tattoo in the world. Last year's performances drew a total attendance of more than 250,000 with an estimated, worldwide television audience of 100 million. This year's theme is "Her Majesty the Queen's Golden Jubilee'" and event organizers say ticket sales are up dramatically from the same period last year.
In addition to possible record-breaking crowds, numerous dignitaries ranging from Queen Elizabeth II to Gen. J. L. Jones, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps are scheduled to attend during the performances.
As the featured act during the majority of the performances, the Albany Marine Band has prepared a presentation that is uniquely American Marine, according to Master Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Farquhar, bandmaster.
"We're going to hit them with exactly what they expect when U.S. Marines invade Europe," Farquhar said. "We're going to hit them with the tradition, discipline and polish we're known for and compliment that with some variety and musical acumen that I don't think they're expecting."
Selections during the band's performance will take audiences on a musical journey through traditional military marches, such as John Philip Sousa's "Semper Fidelis" to screaming brass and a saxophone solo in a scorching Jeff Tkazyik arrangement of "In the Mood," made famous by Doc Severson and the Tonight Show Orchestra. A rousing tribute to America and New York City will close the band's performance.
Previous international performances and growing musical acclaim contributed to the band being specifically requested for this event, Farquhar added.
"This is a tremendous honor," he said. "Not only are we representing our base and the surrounding community, but the entire Marine Corps and nation as well.
Military flight schedules have not yet been confirmed, but the estimated departure date is July 24. A grueling rehearsal week precedes three performance weeks that will include nightly performances Monday through Saturday and a weekly afternoon matinee during the band's stay.
The band will debut its tattoo performance at the base change of command ceremony at MCLB Albany Friday.