Director of Music (Lt Col Wayne Hopla)
"back to Tashkent”.
Recently, in June 2022, a musical delegation from the UK was invited to Uzbekistan for a combined visit to the Orchestra of the National Guard and to build a working relationship with the Presidential Band. The delegation was led by a highly regarded musician who was honoured to deliver Musical Masterclasses and specialised Workshops to the Presidential Band in Tashkent.
The week-long programme was designed to achieve two main objectives. Firstly, to introduce new and challenging Western music to the Uzbek musicians, and secondly, to further strengthen the working relationship established during the initial visit. The first two days of the programme were dedicated to intense rehearsals, which prepared the musicians for a packed concert that attracted National TV coverage.
The concert was a resounding success, with the audience of 500 treated to a unique blend of traditional Uzbek music and Western repertoire. One of the highlights of the concert was the world premiere of a piece called "Alan's Song," composed and conducted by Wing Commander Huyton, the UK Defence Attaché. The musical score was arranged by the delegation leader and presented to the Orchestra of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
After the concert, the delegation leader travelled to Samarkand on a bullet train. In Samarkand, he walked a part of the Silk Road and visited famous mosques and mausoleums. He also visited a traditional instrument maker known as "The Professor" and was permitted to try playing a long metal trumpet called a Karnay. He quickly realized that his true talent lay in playing the Euphonium, not the Karnay.
Despite the busy schedule, the visit to Uzbekistan was a great success, and the delegation leader looks forward to returning with a small ensemble from the PWRR Band later in the year. He is excited to deepen the professional relationship and collaboration with his Uzbek brothers and to make music together once again.
This visit highlights the power of music in bringing people together, bridging cultural differences and building strong relationships between nations. The shared love of music enables musicians from different countries to connect and learn from each other, creating a lasting bond that extends beyond borders. We can only hope that more such exchanges continue to take place in the future, bringing people and nations closer together.