Boys’ Brigade Beat Retreat at Edinburgh Castle

Posted on: Monday, May 08, 2017

150 musicians from across Scotland played in The Boys’ Brigade’s 60th Anniversary Beating Retreat on Saturday 6th May at Edinburgh Castle.  This event was organised by The Boys’ Brigade – Edinburgh, Leith & District Battalion in partnership with Edinburgh Risk Management General Ltd.

The event featured the Massed Pipes & Drums, Central Band of The Boys' Brigade, 3rd Johnstone Brigade Band, and 2nd Port Glasgow BB Band; and saw them march from Parliament Square to Edinburgh Castle, performing a short routine on the Castle Esplanade.

Gavin Ross, 1st Galashiels company, and member of The Boys’ Brigade’s Central Band, said: "Marching towards Edinburgh castle with the central Scotland band is without a doubt the best experience I have ever had through playing an instrument. The castle makes for such an awe inspiring venue and playing from the balcony looking out over the city is one of the best feelings a musician can have.

“It's an opportunity I would never have gotten had it not been through this band and I am certainly grateful that I have been able to participate in this event."

Bill Stevenson, CEO of The Boys’ Brigade in the UK and Ireland, said: “What a fantastic evening at Edinburgh Castle with so many talented young musicians. It was particularly fitting to enjoy the 60th anniversary of Beating Retreat in glorious sunshine.  

“Well done to all the bands and especially the team at Edinburgh, Leith and District Battalion.

“Music of all kinds is an important part of the programme in many of our groups.  The Beating Retreat is a fantastic spectacle where BB young people really excel.”

The event attracted around 500 spectators over the course of the evening, to watch bands from across Scotland perform. BB musicians (bass, woodwind & pipe) from Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Fife, Stirling, Dundee and Edinburgh all participated. 

The bands performed for Major General M L Riddell-Webster CBE DSO, Governor of Edinburgh Castle; and Diane & Alex Mackie, Edinburgh Risk Management General Ltd.

Beating Retreat is a military ceremony dating back to the 16th century when drums were used as signals in the battlefields.

Beating the Retreat was the cue for troops to retreat from battle as light faded.

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Thank must go to:

  • all the Leaders, Boys & Girls who performed during the concert at Parliament Square, the march to Edinburgh Castle and the Beating Retreat ceremony on Castle Esplanade, and
  • the many Leaders and Boys who all did an excellent job in supporting the event in various ways. 

Photos from the event can be viewed here.

For more infomation on Beating Retreat, visit /beating-retreat/