The Central Band of the Royal British Legion performed on both the Saturday and Sunday of Finals weekend of the 125th Wimbledon Championships.
At precisely 10:30am the gates to the All England Club were opened and the crowd flooded towards Heman Hill. This being Finals weekend, getting a good spot to watch the tennis on the giant TV screen was essential.
They were greeted by the sounds of the Central Band playing marches, swing, hits from stage and screen, trad jazz, popular classical and classic pop. As the sun beat down on SW19, the Central Band entertained the crowd for two hours.
By 12:30pm the Hill was full of tennis fans and picnics and prosecco seemed to be the order of the day – not forgetting the famous strawberries and cream! Journalists from across the world moved through the crowd and more than one member of the band had a camera crew film a close-up just as there was a particularly tricky passage of music to concentrate on.
At 1pm the Central Band walked onto Centre Court and, stood on the hallowed lawn, entertained the crowd as they took their seats for the final. The band played a mixture of marches such as ‘The Thin Red Line’ and ‘Blaze Away’; the fiery ‘Sabre Dance’; easy listening music including ‘Consider Yourself’, ‘New York, New York’ and ‘Hey Look Me Over’; and a medley of sea shanties that had the crowd clapping along.
As the Central Band played, the BBC went live from the side of Centre Court. Millions at home could hear the band in the background as Sue Barker interviewed tennis legends Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. This split opinion on the Twittersphere between those who absolutely loved the band, and those who didn’t love them quite so much!
The rousing ovation from the Centre Court crowd as the Central Band departed at 1:50pm to make way for the finalists made it very clear that they were definately “band lovers”.
See also: Central Band on Centre Court – photo from official Wimbledon website