Over 100 young musicians make up the famous Christ’s Hospital school band, which gathers six days a week with its oboes, piccolos, tubas, drums and much more, to march all 880 pupils into lunch, through the school’s vast quad; this is a unique and spectacular tradition at Christ’s Hospital.
The band’s origins date back to 1868 when some of the pupils requested that instruments be purchased to enliven their marching drill. The Treasurer of Christ’s Hospital agreed and, with money from his own pocket, purchased a few instruments and paid the salary of the first Band Master. Over the years, the Band has grown from a small static group to a dynamic and highly-trained band of promising musicians.
The credentials of its bandmaster, Terry Whittingham, who used to work with the Grenadier Guards and Queen’s Own Highlanders, hints at the pupils’ abundance of musical talent.
Today, the band has an impressive record of engagements. It accompanies the School on its annual parade through the City of London on St Matthew’s Day and performs at Lord’s, the hallowed home of cricket, and Twickenham (RFU), where it entertains the crowds.
The band also takes part in the Lord Mayor’s Show each autumn and rounds off the academic year with an hour-long display of marching and counter-marching as a tribute to those who are leaving.