By Alix Norman
June. It’s seriously hotting up out there and if you’ve any experience with Cyprus’ summers, then you’re currently readjusting your daily routine. Which means no more baking on the beach at midday, or enjoying the afternoon sun from your verandah. But this month isn’t all a fight to beat the thermometer: this is a time when the evenings really start coming into their own, allowing for the best type of end-of-the-dayget togethers.
With two musical evenings coming up this week, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice. Saturday and Sunday both see performances by the Central Band of the RAF, here in Cyprus, on tour. The first is a concert at St John’s School in Episkopi, the second a dinner dance at Curium Beach, and both are a chance to take a deep breath of cooler air and enjoy a wonderful evening of entertainment.
Both concerts are organised by the Cyprus branch of SSAFA (Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association) in conjunction with the RBL (Royal British Legion), charities which do sterling work for military and ex-military dependents on the island. Under the auspices of the Headquarters Episkopi Station, the two charities work throughout the year to raise funds for those in need, the money always going to local causes.
“Both the outdoor concert and the dinner dance are annual events,” says Andrew Spencer, Episkopi Station Events Coordinator. “Last year both nights were absolutely lovely; the
College Band from Shrivenham were playing,” he says, explaining that the RAF have three main bands who rotate the Cyprus trip. “This is the second time we’ve had the Central Band of the RAF,” he continues. “They’re absolutely tremendous; professional musicians who spend their lives studying, learning and playing music. In fact, if you’ve ever been to – or seen on television – any of the royal functions, this is the band you’re watching.”
With a history going back almost a hundred years, the Central Band are recognised around the world not just for being at the forefront of ceremonial events, but also for their links with radio broadcasting (they were the first band ever to be heard on the BBC) and their recording prowess. Performing in excess of 580 engagements and travelling more than 45,000 miles each year, the Band is renowned worldwide for its ongoing commitment to musical excellence and diversity.
“The entire Band is about 80 musicians strong,” says Andrew. “They break down into various sizes, thus the Saturday night sit-down concert at the amphitheatre of St John’s will incorporate about 35 musicians. It’s going to be a wonderful evening: the sun going down over Pissouri, and families coming from across the island.” With a repertoire that will include light concert music from recent films and shows (“ABBA, James Bond theme tunes, music everyone knows”), the concert is a great opportunity for the whole family to come on down and picnic – yes, it’s a bring your own cool box event – under the stars.
“The Band will include items aimed specifically at children,” says Andrew. “A couple of years ago they produced maracas and so forth, and had the children join in, marching up and down the steps.” With ticket prices reflecting the generational cross-section (adults €10, 13-16 years €5, under 12s free), Saturday night’s concert is a great event for friends and family all. However, if you’re looking for a little more romance in your outing, then perhaps the Sunday event is the better choice.
A buffet dinner dance at the Sunshine Restaurant on Curium Beach, the music will be provided by the Red, White and Blues division of the Central Band of the RAF. “Again, it’s a lovely setting,” says Andrew. “And the band will be playing everything from the forties to the noughties, Glenn Miller to Take That.” Though the dress code is casual (“nobody’s expecting black tie in this weather!”), the evening will definitely have an atmosphere of old-world class, with couples taking to the dance floor even before the buffet has been served. And there’s an added bonus to the event: the Episkopi Military Wives choir performing a musical interlude while the audience enjoys dinner.
So, let’s celebrate these beautiful June evenings and enjoy some world-class music while the sun sinks slowly over the Mediterranean. Lucky? Yes, I think we are.
JUNE 7 – CHARITY BAND CONCERT
The RBL and SSAFA present the Central Band of the RAF at St John’s School, Episkopi at 7.30pm (doors open at 6.30pm)
Tickets cost €10 for adults and €5 for 13-16 years (under 12s go free)and are on sale at Episkopi and Akrotiri HIVES, CESSACEpiskopi, RBL Limassol, SSAFA Branch Episkopi or on the door, or by calling 99430167 or 99556916
Audiences are reminded to bring a cushion and a coolbox
JUNE 8 – SUMMER DINNER DANCE
The SSAFA BRANCH Episkopipresents The Central Band of the RAF ‘Red, White and Blues’ and The Episkopi Military Wives Choir at the Sunshine restaurant on Curium Beach at 7pm for 7.45pm
Tickets cost €20 including the buffet, and are available from the RBL Club House, the SSAFA branchEpiskopi, the Sunshine Restaurantor by calling 99430167 or 99556916
Prebooking is essential as places are limited
There will also be a raffle during the evening