THE Devonport Royal Naval Volunteer Band from Plymouth Naval Base hit the high notes at the Royal Naval Volunteer Band Festival.

The band was awarded overall Runner-Up Trophy at the annual Royal Naval Volunteer Band Association Festival.

Band Leader is Colour Sergeant Simon Nicholls, Royal Marines, said: “This prestigious competition forms part of the band’s annual inspection by the president of the association, The Second Sea Lord. Competing against the ten other volunteer bands from around the country the Devonport RN Volunteer Band from HMS Drake were awarded the overall Runner Up Trophy. This is a huge achievement and recognition of the band’s quality and work throughout the year.’’

This annual event was inspected by the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral David Steel, head of Royal Naval personnel who is also the President of the RN Volunteer Band Association, while the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Steven Wylie, was this year's guest of honour. The occasion also provided a chance to compete against the other ten Royal Navy Volunteer Bands throughout the country.

The band is an enthusiastic mix of serving, retired and civilian musicians. The players are all amateur musicians and give their time freely to represent and support the Royal Navy at military and non military functions and events.

They play a wide variety of music from military marches to modern popular numbers and songs from stage and screen. Highlights include trips to Ypres, Belgium to play at the Menin Gate on Armistice Day and a week’s visit to Cologne on engagements playing to over 100,000 people.

Later this year the Band will join with others in the Royal Naval Volunteer Band Association to form a massed band to perform at the Birmingham International Tattoo.

who joined as the full time Bandmaster of Devonport RN Volunteer Band in 2012. He is a serving Band Colour Sergeant from the Royal Marines Band Service, which he joined as a trombonist in 1989.

He said: This annual event provides a great opportunity for the ten Royal Naval Volunteer Bands from around the country to showcase their musical talents to the general public and to come together in the spirit of friendly competition. A lot of hard work goes into preparing for this the most important engagement of the year for the band, also everyone really looks forward to meeting up with old friends.”

The band has 48 members including the Corps of Drums who, in addition to being an integral part of the full band, also perform independently at many events throughout Plymouth.

The Devonport Royal Naval Volunteer Band has been based in HMS Drake, since 1995 after moving from the former Royal Naval Engineering College at Manadon. The Royal Naval Volunteer Bands can trace their ancestry back to the Royal Navy Blue Jacket bands and as such have been a part of Naval life for over 100 years.