OBE For Top Military Musician
The head of the Portsmouth-based Royal Marines Band Service who played a major part in the musical celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has been awarded an OBE. Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace, 47, organised and conducted the music at the Jubilee Muster and Review of the Armed Forces at Windsor in May.
It is a very humbling experience that someone should put me forward for this honour and I believe this award goes some way to recognising the work that the Royal Marines Band Service continues to provide both musically and operationally for our country.Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace
As Principal Director of Music for the RM Band Service he led massed bands from the three services – more than 450 musicians and pipers – in front of the Queen and a worldwide television audience of millions.
His 30-year career has included many other highlights, including serving with the Royal Marines Band on the Royal Yacht Britannia for five years. During the Gulf War of 2003 he led the band acting as casualty handlers in concerts on HMS Ocean and Ark Royal just days before the start of the conflict.
“This was where young servicemen and women – knowing the start of hostilities were imminent – sang passionately Rule Britannia and Land Of Hope And Glory, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end,” he said.
“This was operational music working to best effect.”
Lt Col Grace added his career had provided opportunities to develop his music, travel the world, and serve his country in an operational role.
“But above all it has given me opportunities to serve and work with some of the most talented and dedicated people you could ever wish to meet,” he said.
“I could not have done this without the support of my wife Isobel and equally without the work and commitment of all the members of the Royal Marines Band Service.
"They are always an inspiration and I continue to believe that I have the best job in the world and there is nothing that will beat leading the greatest military Band Service in the world.”
He added it was a total honour and absolute privilege to have been recognised in this way by the Queen.
“It is a very humbling experience that someone should put me forward for this honour and I believe this award goes some way to recognising the work that the Royal Marines Band Service continues to provide both musically and operationally for our country.”
Burnaby Road Sports Ground, Portsmouth. PO1 2HB
HMS King Alfred, HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Portsmouth
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