Four UCT students – Andrew de Blocq, Michael-Jon (MJ) Rosslee (both pipers), Amber Vogel and Caitlin Foley (both tenor drummers) – flew to London last weekend to perform in Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday party celebrations, which took place from 12 to 15 May 2016. Their band, the Drums and Pipes of the Cape Town Highlanders, were invited to join a handful of other pipe bands from around the world to perform in the celebrations that were held within the grounds of Windsor Castle.
A large pageant show, which has taken two-and-a-half years of planning, was performed on the castle esplanade for over 20 000 guests over four nights, including various members of the royal family. The show celebrated Queen Elizabeth's extraordinary reign and featured international artists including Kylie Minogue, James Blunt and Andrea Bocelli.
The massed pipes and drums featured in a scene commemorating the Queen's time in Scotland, and they were accompanied by highland dancers and caber-tossers, creating the feel of a true highland gathering.
Foley is one of six band members who were chosen to have tea with the Queen – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
She said, “I'm really excited, but slightly nervous about all the etiquette required! She has led such an extraordinary life – living through the Second World War as a child and then taking the throne at the age of 27. She's been an inspiration to generations and has served her people with modesty for 63 years. It will be an immense honour to meet Her Majesty the Queen.”
The Cape Town Highlanders are Cape Town's most successful pipe band, competing locally at a high level and traveling the world representing South Africa at different international showpieces. In the recent past the band has visited Scotland, Switzerland, Germany, Korea and now England. The band has a rich regimental history, including associations with the Queen Mother, so it is fitting that they performed for Queen Elizabeth.
The final show, on Sunday 15 May, was broadcast live on ITV in the UK. South African viewers will be able to watch the recording on DSTV Channel 123, ITV Choice, on the evening of 21 May.
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