Skirl of the pipes and cannon fire at the Cape Town tattoo

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Starting tomorrow the Castle will again host the annual Cape Town Military Tattoo, a spectacular event showcasing military bands and intricate drill manoeuvres all culminating with a real bang.

The bang will be provided by the Cape Field Artillery’s saluting troop during the performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, the second last act of the tattoo programme followed by the final muster, when all tattoo performers come together with bid the audience farewell. The evening’s entertainment ends with the lone pipe on the roof of the Castle, bidding a final good night to all.

The main performance will start with a recreation of the 16th century Key Ceremony by a selected squad from the Castle Guard, dressed in the old-time uniforms of the Halberdiers. This will be followed by performances by some of the country’s top military bands including the SA Army Band, the SA Navy Band and the SA Military Health Services Band.

This year’s edition of the Cape Town tattoo will definitely be a pipes oriented one with no less than six pipe bands taking part. They are the Drums and Pipes of the Cape Town Highlanders, the Pipes and Drums of the Cape Field Artillery and of the Cape Garrison Artillery as well as the Knysna and Districts Pipe Band, the Algoa Caledonian Pipe Band from Port Elizabeth and 1 Med Pipe Band from Durban. All told there will be about 100 pipers in the arena at one time – an experience not to be missed according to Lieutenant Colonel Philip Coetzer, one of the Reserve Force officers involved in this year’s event.

Sea cadets from the Navy Training Ship (TS) Woltemade will also be a part of the precision drill proceedings during the tattoo. They are all volunteers from grades eight to 12 who have chosen to become part of the military and, according to TS Woltemade Officer Commanding, Lieutenant Paul Jacobs, take “great pride” in their precision marching.
“Given the socio-economic problems facing the Cape, we believe it is important the youth be exposed to the discipline synonymous with soldiering. These youngsters are all volunteers and it is a tonic to see how committed they are to produce the best possible. In addition they also develop team work of the highest order. Many past icons in the South African business world put their success down to the discipline and military background they were taught as soldiers. It will be so rewarding if only one of these youngsters could have the same experience,” he said.

Highland dancers, silent drill teams and gun-runs are also planned for the tattoo which starts at 20h00 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a matinee performance on Saturday at 16h30.