New Zealand Army Band takes top prize at Edinburgh Tattoo

The New Zealand Army Band concluded a memorable appearance at the 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo by being presented with the Pooley Sword, awarded to the performers who have made the greatest contribution to the event.

CAPTION: Major Graham Hickman of the New Zealand Army Band, right, receives the Pooley Sword at the final show of the 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Photo courtesy The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

It was the Band’s sixth appearance at the Edinburgh Tattoo, where it performed 24 times this year in front of capacity crowds.

Director of Music Major Graham Hickman said it was a great honour to receive the Pooley Sword award, which was chosen by fellow performers.

This year, more than 1,100 performers from across the globe appeared on Edinburgh Castle’s esplanade to entertain audiences at the event.

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

“The Band performed exceptionally every day, even under some rather trying weather-related circumstances. The audience response certainly helped – we received a lot of feedback about being the crowd favourite.

“Receiving the Pooley Sword topped it all off – it’s very humbling to be recognised in this way by our fellow cast members.”

Formed in 1964 as a traditional brass band to perform at state and ceremonial occasions, the New Zealand Army Band has evolved into a unique entertainment unit delivering innovative and exciting musical performances that are in demand around the world.

Known not only for its talent but also for its unique cultural heritage and a playful kiwi edge to its performances, its performances often include well-known kiwi tunes, plenty of good humour, and intricate drills.

Based at Burnham Military Camp, it 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.

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Brian Hartigan

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