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Big night on tap at Tattoo

Written by Charlene Gunnells
Thursday, 05 August 2010 10:38

Today is a big day for the band and pipes cadets -- their first performance before nearly 9,000 people is tonight. Around the dorm there is a buzz of activity where normally things have been quiet. Everyone is getting their uniforms ready, shining brass and instruments and doing some last-minute rehearsing.

blog_5_augThe morning started off sunny and a cool 62 degrees. It has clouded over and there is a misting rain right now at about 4 p.m. That's pretty typical for Edinburgh it seems. By performance time at 9:30 p.m. local time, we are hoping the rain will have stopped.

Tonight there are two dress rehearsals at Edinburgh Castle. The second will be in front of an audience of around 8,700 people. Friday night is opening night. Some faculty staff, parents and alumni, including former Commandant of Cadets and retired Army Brig. Gen. Emory Mace will be at the Tattoo show Friday night.

We ran into Gen. Mace this morning at his hotel near Edinburgh Castle. He is part of a Citadel Alumni Association tour to Edinburgh. The group arrived this morning and is experiencing the jet lag that comes with international travel. We are looking forward to seeing the many parents of band cadets who are making the trip to Scotland too.

Before I go, you may have seen the outstanding video and photo that appeared in the media of a stunt motorcyclist jumping over the Regimental Band. The photo was staged for the media, and the cadet who turned to look at the biker did so because he was asked to by a Tattoo official the second time the biker made the jump. It was a fun event and an outstanding photograph.

The Citadel and its band are highly respected here in Scotland. We hear daily how impressed people are with the cadets and that they are admired for their hard work (14-hour days) and their professionalism. They are well thought of among Tattoo officials who have been extremely generous and helpful to the band and the staffers traveling with them. Living with the Band Company for the last week, I can tell you they have sacrificed a lot to be here this summer on behalf of the band and the college. It is not a vacation. There are long days of rehearsals and 29 performances in 21 days. Rest assured they are doing The Citadel, Charleston, S.C., and America proud.

Now it's off to get ready for a very exciting night. We will update you soon with more video, photo slide shows and blog posts.

Photo: Bagpiper Andrew Christ and bass drummer Robert Robinson set up in the common room of their Scotland flat to get their uniforms ready for tonight's Tattoo dress rehearsal.