New Zealand Army Band Premier Overseas Act At Basel Tattoo 2012
The Kiwi flag flew high on Friday night (13 July) when the New Zealand Army Band took its place as the premier overseas act among 23 other international groups as part of the Basel Tattoo 2012.
Opening with a Maori challenge, the NZ Army Band brought its unique blend of precision marching and music mixed with a fair smattering of humour to a crowd of close to 8,000.
Director of Music for the NZ Army Band, Captain (CAPT) Graham Hickman said that this opening night was among one of the band's most memorable for audience reaction to their performance.
"When Lance Corporal Vaea Peterson offered the challenge, the crowd started buzzing, but when the band dropped their instruments and performed the haka, the crowd went wild."
The NZ Army Band is well known for bringing a strong Kiwi sensibility and sense of humour to its performances rather than providing a traditional Military Marching Band display.
"Onlookers enjoy the more traditional musical aspects that events like the Basel Tattoo offer, but there is something about those quintessentially kiwi displays such as Pokarekare Ana and the haka that really resonate with the crowd," CAPT Hickman says.
"As a small band from a small army in a small country, being asked to perform at an event that is second in size only to the Edinburgh Tattoo is a huge honour not only for us, but for the rest of the NZ Defence Force and for the whole of New Zealand."
"It really confirms for us that the world looks at New Zealand, and the New Zealand Army Band, with a great amount of respect, and a great amount of affection for the kiwi spirit," he says.
The Basel Tattoo, Switzerland, runs until July 21.