Hamina Tattoo

Have you ever wondered why would military regiment need an orchestra? Well, you might say, they used to have them for marching or to intimidate their oponent with the wild beat of drums in the past centuries. We all remember the red coats fighting the blue coats (If you don't, get a clue and watch "The Last of the Mohicans":)) However, the question still stands, why would our modern military need a musical group? What is the purpose of tax payers money going to some shmuck playing violin instead of him/her defending our country. If anybody has an explanation, I'd like to hear it, feel free to leave us a comment.

Anywho, today's post will take us to our good ol' brothers up north, the mighty Finns. It is there, in a quite small and tranquile city of Hamina, almost by the Russian border and about 200 km from St. Petersburg, where each year get together military wind orchestras and perform for entire week in and around the city with the main concert taking place in the local Bastion. This even carries a good sounding name Hamina Tattoo. I have to say, I have never seen anything like it. This years Hamina Tattoo had orchestras from Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Lithuania, Hungary and of course mother Russia. The orchestras put on daily concerts in the city park or by the harbor called TervaSaari (which in translation means "Tar Island" hehe). These concerts are usually about 1-2 hours long, so just right.

There were a few highlights at this year's Hamina Tattoo that I thought were quite cool. First would have to be the Swedish Mounted Band of the Royal Guards which performed on horses. Can you imagine playing a trumpet while trying to control a horse, dressed in thick military dress in 25 degree heat? No thank you, but they were impressive. Second, would have to be he final concert at the Bastion where all the bands go one after another and perform musical numbers with marching, dancing and whatever they want to throw into the mix. It was very very impressive what these guys can do. Last, I'd have to mention the Russian orchestra. This year it was the Central Band of Leningrad Military District which was accompanied by the 165th Honorary Rifle Company. The soldiers would move with utmoust precission as one would expect of the Russian colossus. I also do not think it was just a nice thought to bring the rifle company, mother Russia like to show that she still can be the boss :). Well, that is it for the Hamina Tattoo experience. If you are in that area next year, I suggest you spend a day in Hamina and listen to the tunes. It was very nice.