A very different view of the 1812 Overture

If you’ve ever wondered what is happening outside the Castle of Good Hope, while the massed military bands inside the arena are playing the 1812 Overture at the Cape Town Military Tattoo – this video taken by fellow photie Brent Best will give you some insight into the complicated process of ensuring that the Cape Field Artillery Saluting Troop fires their 25-pounder guns at precisely the right moment.

Staff Sergeant Andrew Imrie, who also happens to be the Pipe Major of the Cape Field Artillery Pipes and Drums, is the fire control officer. He’s the one shouting “Stand By!” and “One Fire!” “Two Fire!” “Three Fire!” “Four Fire!”

Synchronising the gunfire to the music inside the arena is no mean feat.

Thank you, Brent, for capturing this wonderful footage, wailing car sirens and all.


4 thoughts on “A very different view of the 1812 Overture

  1. Clearly car alarms are pretty sensitive , I noticed the alarm on my car had gone off when I got back to my car , thought someone had perhaps tried to fiddle but now I know the reason 😉

  2. Hey Reggie – as always that is a part of the Tattoo that I always look forward to. This year I loved the way there was a “light show” through the canon smoke! I have also heard that the old walls of the castle are quite sensitive to the explosions….

    • Same here, I also love the drama of the 1812, but I haven’t been outside for the gunfire for the last three years – Lorraine is so brilliant at consistently photographing the exact moments when those guns fire, that it makes more sense for me to capture the moments *inside* the arena. Apart from that, taking photos of the 1812 means shlepping a tripod around all evening, which is more gear than I want to carry! Oh, as well as ear-protection – I had snagged hubby’s industrial-strength earmuffs that he uses when drilling holes in our walls, but felt I’d probably look a bit of a dork if I carried those too around all evening. And those teeny-tiny things you can squish inside your ear *always* pop out at the critical moment. So, much as I would love to get a rockingly good shot of the 1812 guns firing, I prefer to leave it to the expert – Lorraine. I don’t do so well with loud explosions!

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