Honiara : 14 November 2016
Letter to the Editor, Island Sun Newspaper.
Sharing some facts and memories related to the band
The late John Holloway, the first Commissioner of the RSIP, acquired musical instruments for the RSIPF Band from the United States Marine Corps soon after he became the Commissioner.
Brigadier General US Marine Corps (Ret) Jay W Hubbard visited Honiara in June 1998 when he was delighted to witness a display put on for him especially by the members of the band at Rove. He also attended the Queen’s Birthday Parade at Lawson Tama where, again, he had the opportunity of seeing the band at their best.
Before leaving for the US, the General said how proud he was that the US Marine Corps had helped the RSIPF Band with musical instruments and how “excellent’ he rated the band’s musical talents and abilities.
During the same period in June 1998, the then Resident British High Commissioner, H. E. Alan Waters, gave the band sheet music to aid their repertoire.
In the same year, the visiting Taiwanese Prime Minister told me how much he had appreciated the band’s performance on his official arrival at Henderson Airfield.
Also, in early 1998, there was a visit by a Singapore Navy ship carrying several hundred navy personnel on a regional visit. During that occasion the police band excelled aboard the vessel playing together with the members of the ship’s band. Again, I was told how much the RSIPF’s performance had been appreciated.
About the same time in late 1998, the members of the band, at my request, began giving music lessons to budding local musicians as part of the community policing approach then being implemented.
A similar programme was initiated in May this year after a request made by Mr. George Palua of St Alban’s Parish Council.
47 participants took part in the three-month music training course and 10 students were successful in gaining certificates from the RSIPF’s Band Director, James Maelanga.
In 2010, the band received several instruments formerly played by members of Australian Army Bands.
In a restructuring of the Australian Army, some Australian Army Bands were disbanded, and their instruments deployed to other Military and Police Bands.
Wing Commander Horder, who handed over the instruments at that time said, "there have always been strong ties between the Australian Army Bands and the RSIPF band and we are honoured to continue this relationship. We hope these instruments continue to be played long and loud well into the future."
When Wayne Buchhorn of the AFP commanded the PPF in the Solomons, he saw to the procurement of much needed ceremonial accoutrements for the RSIPF Band and, he too, expressed the hope that the newly acquired accoutrements would be worn for some considerable time to come.
In sharing these memories I am, of course, being less than subtle in once more stressing the importance and value to the RSIPF and the nation of retaining the RSIPF Band and it is once more my plea that the band be restored to full establishment as soon as possible.