History of The RDTC Marching Band
Romford Drum and Trumpet Corps was founded on 11th October 1957 by Richard Bouchard along with twelve boys, a few battered instruments and a loan of £100.
They adopted a traditional military style, which they maintain today. The striking green military uniform is strongly influenced by a close association with the Royal Green Jackets during the seventies.
The bands early days were spent marching through Romford on Sunday mornings and supporting local charities at fetes and garden parties. They quickly progressed and an appearance at the Soldier’s Sailor’s and Airman’s Family Tattoo at White City led to engagements throughout the home counties. Such was the Bands popularity there was soon a waiting list to join.
Soon the band had spread their wings and after successful band performances in Jersey, the isle of Wight, the Isle of Man and Spalding Flower Festival were invited on several trips to France where they quickly became personalities. Civic Receptions, television and press coverage were arranged, the Corps were now an international institution.
Further television appearances with Leslie Crowther, Jimmy Tarbuck, Frank Ifield, Reg Varney and Tony Blackburn, guests of Charlie Drake on ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’, Billy Smart and Chipperfield’s Circus spread their reputation nationwide.
Soon it was time for change and the Band enlisted girls! A popular decision for band members and spectators, this has led to many romances within the Corps, some resulting in inter-band marriages. In fact the Corps now boast a second generation of the Romford Drum and Trumpet Corps, having the children of ex-members in the ranks!
Trips to Europe became more frequent, the Corps visited Belgium and Germany and formed friendships with European bands which they still maintain. In 1974 the Corps performed at a music festival in Ostend, and were introduced to Jurgen Kuhlmann of the Billstedt Band who invited them to enter a contest in Busum, Germany. The band needed somewhere to stay and a small village opened their doors to welcome the band, the long association with Lunden had begun. Almost every band member since has at one time or another met with the people of Lunden, either during the bands holidays in Germany or when they visit Romford. In 1987 their bandmaster and one time Drum Major, Ronald Petersen was made an Honorary Vice President of the Corps. In 2002 the Corps visited Lunden, Germany to compete in the North German Championships, then welcomed Ronald Petersen and the Verein Lundener Spiellute back to Romford for a holiday. So close is our association that in October 2002 Ronald brought a group of band members to Romford to surprise Dick Bouchard at the Corps 45th Reunion.
An honour for the Corps was to be adopted by the Romford Branch of the Burma Star Association, through this they were invited to play on Horseguards Parade in the presence of Lord Louis Mountbatten who paid his respects by inspecting the band. The relationship with the Burma Star Veterans flourished and in 1995 they performed at the 50th and final reunion at the Royal Albert Hall with Dame Vera Lynn and our war veterans in the presence of the HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
The band has performed in the presence of the entire Royal family.
The National Youth Marching Band Championships were held for twenty-five years.
The contest started at a small school in Enfield but by the second year moved to Alexander Palace and a win for the Romford Drum and Trumpet Corps! After the fire, which destroyed the Great Hall the contest moved once again to the Royal Albert Hall and Romford succeeded in becoming the National Champions for 1987-88-89. Every band member who has appeared in this contest over the years recalls the experience with pride and honour, it is a great shame the Contest no longer exists.
In recent years the Corps have appeared on television many times including the Children’s Royal Variety Show at the London Palladium, on the Big Noise with their own version of the Shoop Shoop Song, had the frightening experience of playing on top of one of the largest cranes in London for the Six O’clock Show, the Disney Club, the Big Breakfast and made a promotional video for Sky Sports.
The band have played for the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and the Russian Convoy Veterans at the Cenotaph, for the Merchant Navy Veterans at Tower Hill and taken part in the VE Day celebrations in Hyde Park and the VJ Day Parade past Buckingham Palace. They also performed at Earls Court to celebrate the Queen’s 40th year of accession to the throne.
For the past five years they have played in the Gun Park at the Tower of London to entertain the runners in the London Marathon and have been regular participants in the Lord Mayor’s Show for many years.
In recent years the band have formed friendships with the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers Band, whose bandmaster, Clinton Bray, composed our march “Green and Gold” dedicated to Dick Bouchard, and the Minden Band of the Queens Division. The Corps have had workshops and performed in concert with both bands.
In March 2003 the Corps performed in the Market Place for HM The Queen when she visited Romford.
2003 also saw the band return to the contest arena and won three qualifying contests. This entitled the band to enter the ‘National Championships’. In November 2003 they successfully won achieving the double by winning the championships and the league title.
In 2004 the band remained undefeated and retained the National Title and League for the second time.
In 2006 the band entered the last European Championships helped in bath and scored the highest marks ever given in its history in the Concert element, it also achieved Gold Medal Status in the 4 elements of Parade band, concert band, mardi gras band and showband section in the competitions. This year saw the band record its first CD “Green & Gold” which included a track recorded with Roger Daltrey of The WHO.
Celebrating the bands 50th Anniversary, 2007 saw the band visit and perform in Gibraltar’s world famous St Micheals Cave. The band also celebrated its milestone year by holding a tattoo, reunion and dinner and dance.
In March 2010 the band launched their training academy for younger members as well as undertaking a tour of Delaware USA and for the first time in decades the band secured somewhere it can call home. Younger musicians can come along and learn to play brass instruments including: trumpet, trombone, horn, euphonium, tuba and more.