1 August 2016: Swiss Military Band plays in Asia

Media release, 22.07.2016

In 2016 the Swiss Confederation celebrates its 725th National Day which will be honoured by Swiss nationals living in Asia as well. At the initiative of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Chief of the Armed Forces, Lieutenant General André Blattman, an ensemble consisting of 14 musicians from the Swiss Military Band will provide the musical background for the festivities at embassies in Seoul (South Korea), Beijing (China), Manila (Philippines) and Singapore.

From 23 July to 9 August 2016 the festivities to celebrate the Swiss National Day and the centenary of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad at four Swiss embassies in Asia and among Swiss nationals living in South Korea, China, the Philippines and Singapore will receive a military and musical accompaniment. A special ensemble of the Swiss Military Band will perform anthems, songs, folk music and traditional musical works from Switzerland.

The tour

On Tuesday 26 July the young musicians will begin their tour in Seoul giving a concert with the Korean Military Band to celebrate National Day. The band will also perform at the Swiss NNSC (Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission) Camp on the anniversary of the 1953 armistice treaty and with the Songong District children’s orchestra at the Under Stand Avenue cultural centre.

The journey will continue to Beijing where a concert will be held for local citizens and Swiss expatriates at the “Swiss Taste” Restaurant. Along with a Chinese music ensemble, the Swiss Military Small Band will also perform for the military attachés in Beijing, and on 1 August, on the occasion of the Swiss National Day festivities at the Swiss embassy.

On 2 August the band flies to Manila where it will perform with the Philippine Army Band at the Philippine Army headquarters in the Taguig district. The Swiss Military Small Band will also give concerts at events for the local Swiss club, the official diplomatic National Day celebration, the Swiss embassy and local people.

The last stage of the tour will take the band to Singapore where on 6 August the Swiss Club will hold its traditional Swiss National Day celebration, attended by some 700 guests. In addition to performing at the celebration, the band will also accompany the children’s Chinese lantern parade around the 1 August bonfire. Another highlight will be the concert played with the Singapore Armed Forces Band on 7 August. The joint performance by the two military music bands under the 50-metre steel “Supertrees” at the famous Gardens by the Bay will most likely enthral the local and international audience.

Outstanding culture representatives

The Swiss Army Band orchestras are outstanding ambassadors for Swiss culture and regularly play at major events in Switzerland. They also perform at international events and with this make an important contribution to international relations. Their performances in Asia will provide musical support for official FDFA diplomatic events.

The Swiss Military Small Band comprises 14 of the most talented young musicians to have completed recruit school at the Centre of Excellence for Military Bands. Lt Colonel Patrick Robatel leads the delegation and Captain Stéphane Terrin is the musical director.

Accommodation, food and transport costs for the tour are covered by the regular budgets of the embassies in South Korea, China, the Philippines and Singapore, and by contributions from Swiss and local sponsors. The musicians’ travel expenses of around CHF 75,000 will be paid by the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS).

More than 11,200 Swiss nationals live in South Korea, China, the Philippines and Singapore today. “The Fifth Switzerland”, as the collective of the Swiss nationals living abroad is called, comprises around 740,000 Swiss.

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