Band of the Coldstream Guards

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Coldstream Guards Band
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers (4623734775).jpg
Background information
Also known asBand of the Coldstream Guards
OriginLondon, United Kingdom
WebsiteHome of the Coldstream Guards Band

The Band of the Coldstream Guards is one of the oldest and best known bands in the British Army, having been officially formed on 16 May 1785 under the command of Major C F Eley.


The band of the Coldstream Guards was officially formed under the direction of Music Major C.F. Eley on 16 May 1785.[1]

The band received its first British bandmaster in 1835 called Charles Godfry.[2]

On 18 June 1944 over one hundred twenty people were killed at Wellington Barracks when a German flying bomb hit the chapel. The director of the band was amongst the dead, prompting the appointment of Captain Douglas Alexander Pope.[1]

In 1960, the band started a new tradition, to tour from coast to coast in the United States of America and Canada. It still takes place.

In 1985, during the band's two hundredth anniversary year, the Coldstream Guards kicked off the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium, performing "a fanfare composed by the Director of Music Lt Col Richard Ridings".[3]

Two especially unusual performances took place in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the United States. On September 12, 2001, Queen Elizabeth II broke with tradition and allowed the Coldstream Guards Band to perform The Star-Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace, London, during the daily ceremonial Changing of the Guard.[4] The following day at a St. Paul's Cathedral memorial service, the Queen herself joined in the singing of the American national anthem, an unprecedented occurrence.[5]


There are several ensembles within the Band of the Coldstream Guards:

  • Concert Band
  • Marching Band
  • Brass Quintet
  • Jazz Trio
  • Fanfares
Coldstream Guards fanfare team2018


The Coldstream Guards Band plays regularly for ceremonial occasions and events. Some are listed below but this is not a comprehensive list.

The band also performs at other non-military events in the same way as other military bands such as the Grenadier Guards Band or other civilian professional organisations.

Key personnel[edit]

  • Director of Music: Major Paul Norley
  • Bandmaster:
  • Band Sergeant Major: WO2 Phil Dickson
  • Composer in Residence: Dr Peter Meechan

Album and Record Deal[edit]

In June 2009 the band signed a record deal with Universal Music imprint Decca, reportedly worth £1 million.[6] Their debut album 'Heroes' was released on 30 November 2009 and was nominated for Best Album of the Year for Classical Brits. The Band of the Coldstream Guards performed at the Classical Brits Awards gala at the Royal Albert Hall.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Band of the Coldstream Guards". Coldstream Guards. Retrieved 29 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Pomp and Circumstance - The Band of the Coldstream Guards, A History 1685 - 2017
  3. ^ "Regimental Band of the Coldstream Guards - Royal Salute (Live Aid 1985)". Retrieved 29 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Graves, David (2001-09-14). "Palace breaks with tradition in musical tribute". Telegraph. Retrieved 2020-03-29. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Steyn, Mark (17 September 2001) The Queen’s Tears/And global resolve against terrorism. National Review Online.
  6. ^ "Queen's guards sign to Decca". Complete Music Update. Retrieved 29 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]