Notes on Scotland
America’s Band 2015 thanks you for your support!
Our participation in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo would not have been possible without you.
7,740 miles traveled
1 BILLION spectators via global broadcasts
COUNTLESS positive impressions made about The Citadel around the world
IMMEASURABLE memories and experiences for 86 talented and grateful cadets
America’s top Air Force ROTC cadet also leads America’s Band 2015 (August 27, 2015)
The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes became “America’s Band 2015” after being the only band in the country invited to represent the USA in the famed Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Preparing for the event’s 25 performances (that would be broadcast around the world to an audience of more than 1 billion people) was an epic task for the band and its leaders.
The Citadel Regimental Band Drum Major, Cadet Brian Bilbo, was among those who helped bring it all together. Whether it is marching on The Citadel’s iconic Charleston, South Carolina campus, or marching across the drawbridge of Edinburgh Castle, Bilbo is responsible for the flow of the band’s performance. His leadership, however, extends beyond the stage, and was recognized by the U.S. Air Force which named Bilbo the Air Force ROTC Cadet of the Year. A native of Loganville, Georgia, Bilbo is set to graduate with a degree in electrical engineering and commission into the Air Force in the spring of 2016.
Cadet Sophie-Leigh Clark and Greyfriars Bobby (August 25, 2015)
Cadet Sophie-Leigh Clark, shares her connection with the internationally-known story of Greyfriars Bobby, and how she links the story to her experiences at The Citadel.
Who: Sophie-Leigh Clark
Hometown: Originally: Durban, South Africa Currently: Ramsey, New Jersey
Major: History, with a minor in Intelligence and Homeland Security
Class of: 2017
What made you decide to attend The Citadel?: I wanted to enlist straight out of high school, but my mom directed me to go down the path of attending college.
Favorite performance in the Tattoo other than The Citadel: The Chinese Lotus Dragon Dancers
Favorite place in Edinburgh: The Elephant House and Greyfriar's Kirk
Favorite Scottish food: Steak and ale pie
Favorite American food: Southern fried chicken
Beyond Edinburgh into the castles and lochs of the Western Highlands (August 24, 2015)
Yesterday the band took to the Western Highlands to enjoy the beautiful scenery and to tour some of Scotland’s most famous castles. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo generously provided a bus for our use and the cadets enthusiastically chose the route which included Doune Castle, Kilchurn Castle and Inveraray.
Once we scooped up our boxed lunches from the cafeteria, we boarded the buses at 9 a.m. and were on our way for a ten hour trip! Our first stop was Doune Castle, of Monty Python fame, a 14th century castle set amid the Stirlingshire countryside. Doune was the most highly anticipated castle visit of the day with many cadets reminiscing about how much they love the movie and vowing to re-watch it as soon as we returned to Pollock Halls. While at the castle, many took an audio tour narrated by Monty Python’s Terry Jones. We learned about the history of the medieval castle’s residents, that a Declaration of Independence signatory was once imprisoned there, and that Outlander and Game of Thrones were also filmed at Doune.
After passing some of the most picturesque lochs and mountains pebbled with thousands of sheep (did you know Scotland has more sheep than people?), we stopped for a photo at Kilchurn Castle. Settled on the banks of Loch Awe, Kilchurn is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. Everyone took advantage of the (rare) sunshine and stretched their legs at this stop by exploring the banks of the loch.
Our last and final stop was Inveraray, an iconic town set on Loch Fyne and home to Inveraray Castle and Inveraray Jail. Once off the bus, everyone enjoyed their bagged lunches, which to the delight of the cadets, even included a Mars bar for dessert! Most cadets went to explore Inveraray Castle while others visited the jail, and some decided to cross a little souvenir shopping off their list. Inveraray Castle is the historic home of the Duke of Argyll and is set in a beautiful garden overlooking the loch. The castle features that are open to the public include an armory hall, dining room and tapestry room among many other rooms. A favorite of the cadets was the armory hall and an unexpected car show that was being held just outside the castle that showcased dozens of vintage automobiles.
After leaving Inveraray, we began our journey back to Edinburgh, driving over the Arrochar Alps and by the internationally-known, Loch Lomond. The cadets enjoyed their day exploring and took the time of rest up for their last full week of performances.
The Pipers Behind the Gates (August 21, 2015)
Each night before the royal military tattoo begins on the spectacular Edinburgh Castle esplanade, some of the world’s most talented military pipe bands gather behind the castle gates to tune their bagpipes and to warm up – becoming one, massed pipe and drums band.
The combination of the medieval castle perched atop a massive rock mountain, the haunting sounds of the bagpipes, and the spectacular views of the North Sea and the city create a magnificent spectacle that is only to be enjoyed by those fortunate enough to be behind the gates for sound check. And on this night, the activities were framed by a rainbow.