Changing of guards in army band

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday July 16th, 2013


YOUNG Carolyn Bakukasi and veteran Keithy Beu may be separated by a 40-year age gap but yesterday they proudly marched together as members of the First Pacific Islands Regiment (1PIR) youth band platoon at Taurama Barracks.

Bakukasi, 22, and Beu, 62 marched together as one to keep the band’s tradition alive.

The 1PIR pipes and drums band were a national icon that took part in all major historical events in the country but suffered from a lack of manpower because of the retirement of members.

Bakukasi is one of 87 young people and three females who have been learning how to play pipes and drums and marching for the past six weeks.

“For us, the girls, it’s the first time to go through such training,” she said. “We are very happy and proud to be part of the PNGDF band.

“I’ve learned about playing instruments that I never knew I could play.

Beu said the enthusiasm of the young people was infectious.

“They are too good,” he said. “They have learned very well what we taught them.”

Band leader Lt Nicky Aina said there was an urgent need to revive the band.

“The members are growing old,” he said. “There is no recruitment. We decided to develop a youth development concept for recruitment.

“Our servicemen are growing old so we can’t continue to rely on them.”