Royal audience at the grand tattoo
By Sonia K and James Kon

Last night, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces presented their Supreme Commander and Minister of Defence, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, with a perfect 60th birthday gift at a celebration of musical might in an electrifying opening of the Brunei International Tattoo 2006 (BIT 2006) at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.

Accompanying His Majesty to the show were Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Saleha, Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar as well as His Royal Highness Prince General Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah the Crown Prince and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah.

Also present were HRH Prince Abdul Malik, HRH Prince Abdul Mateen, HRH Princess Hajah Masna, and other members of the Royal family.

His Majesty the Sultan And Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and the Royal entourage received a Royal Salute followed by the National Anthem. His Majesty then proceeded to inspect a Guard of Honour.

Carrying the theme 'Together We Celebrate His Majesty's 60th Birthday', the tattoo showcased military bands and stunning cultural performances from thirteen countries - Brunei, Australia, China, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Oman, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and United Kingdom.

The Grand Fanfare and Opening show comprised Combined Trumpeters, Tromboners and Traditional Musicians of BIT 2006 where they performed 'Dang Mengalai' and 'Going Home' whereas the Soloists and Combined School Choirs performed 'Tonight We Celebrate Our Love For You' and 'Dindang di Dindang'.

The main show started off with a grand fireworks display, followed by the entrance of the combined bands, pipes and drums of Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Royal Brunei Land Forces, Royal Brunei Police Force, Fire and Rescue Department and Prisons Department. The combined bands of home contingents performed 'Trumpet Voluntary', 'Spanish Gypsy Dance', 'Tequila', 'Eyes of A Tiger', 'Mucho Mambo Sway', 'The Final Countdown', 'Joget Pantai Seri Kenangan', 'Lawrence of Arabian' and 'Congratulations'.

The show also continued with a lively tattoo performances from Combined Indonesian Armed Forces Academy Drum Band, where they performed 'March Manouvre', 'Maju Tak Gentar', 'Mars TNI', 'Colonel Boogie' 'Happy Birthday' and 'Chindei'.

After the Indonesian contingent, it was the Singapore Armed Forces band's turn to woo the audience. And they belted out a number of different beats of performances for the crowd namely 'Few are Great', 'Alpheus concert march', 'Caravan, Sparkling Drums', 'Coronation March', 'Olympic spirit', 'Gelato Con Caffe', 'Samba De Janeiro', 'Bandstand' and 'Dang Mengalai'.

The first Middle East contingent to display their military band performances was the Jordanian Armed Forces Band, where performed a specially composed song called 'Happy 60th Birthday' for His Majesty. Other performances include 'Hadiyat Hop', 'Scotland the Brave', 'the Army of Jordan Sawer', 'Aida', 'Abdallah Al-Hashemi', 'Al-Bairyq', 'Happy Birthday' and 'Saydna Ya Saydna'.

The long awaited Philippines Military Academy's Silent Drill company, was welcomed with a large roar of applause from the crowds, as the Philippines contingent performed a breathtaking silent drill performance.

Follow suit is the Vietnam People's Army Military Band, where they performed mostly famous Vietnamese songs and music, like 'Phu Thong', 'Chien Thang', 'Hai Cang Ve Ta', 'Quan Doi Ta Quan Doi Anh Hung', 'Hat Mai Khuc Quan Hanh' and others.

The Royal Thai Armed Forces Band, performed three songs namely 'Rachawallop March', 'Grisadapiniharn' (Birthday) and 'Long Drum Brunei'.

A collaboration of Royal Brunei Armed Forces, the Jordanian Armed Forces and Royal Army of Oman, performed a combined pipes and drum performances where they played the music of 'Cock O' The North', 'Lynch Finger', 'The Gales', 'The Highland Brigade at Magersfontein', 'Joget Memikat Hati' and 'Atholl Highlanders'.

The band from Islamic Republic of Pakistan called Pakistan Army Tri-services Band on the other hand delighted the audience with 'March Allah-O-Akbar', 'Joget Kenangan Chandi Raatein' and 'Jewey Pakistan'. The Royal Australian Navy Band performed 'Proud Echo', 'Royal Australian Navy', 'The Alert March', 'I am Australian' and 'Waltzing Matilda', which sent the into loud applause.

The Royal Army of Oman Pipes and Drums performed 'Qaboos Lil Majd Hamy' (Protector of Oman), 'Al Khunjar' (The Khunjar), 'Rehmal Al Sharkia' (The Sands of Sharkia), 'Songs of Oman' and 'Gharak Allah' (God Save You).

General Headquarters Band of the Armed Forces of the Philippines per-formed 'Anniversary March', 'The Movies', 'GQ, Finale', 'Andrew Lloyd Webber', 'Argentina', 'Mot Boogie', 'Pinoy Big Brother', 'Dancing Queen', 'Happy Birthday' and 'Dahil Sayo', which evidently impressed the audience.

From Malaysia, the Malaysian Armed Forces Tri-Service Central Band played 'Perajurit', 'Gulabi Ankhen', 'HH March', 'The Final Countdown', 'Army of The Nile', 'Cik-Cik-Kabong', 'Kasih' and 'El Mombo'. The Light Cavalry band of The United Kingdom, meanwhile, gave a wonderful performance of 'Colonel Bogey', 'Ye Banks And Braes', 'If Yer Irish', 'Men Of Harlech', 'British Grenadiers' and 'The Light Cavalry'.

From China, the Military Band of The People's Liberation Army of China together with Cao Zhou Wushu Institute Kung Fu Team of China performed 'The March Of The Motorised Unit', 'Jasmine', 'A Man Should Strive To Improve Himself Constantly' and last but not least 'Epilogue'. The team of Wushu personnel put on an action pack display of highflying kung fu show.

And at the Grand Finale, which featured combined mass band of BIT 2006 performance accompanied with fireworks from Japan showcased performances of 'Conquest of Paradise', 'Negeri Brunei' (Hola Hela), 'Kampong Ayer', 'Menjulang Mahkota', 'Highland Cathedral', 'Overture 1812', 'VVIP Fanfare', 'Allah Peliharakan Sultan', 'And I Love You So', 'I Just Want To Say I Love You' and 'Dang Mengalai'. The Grand Finale and beautiful fireworks display was a hit and was most enjoyed by the invited guests.

The BIT 2006, was organised in conjunction with His Majesty's 60th birthday celebrations. Yesterday night's opening show's admission was by invitation only. The Brunei International Tattoo will run from today until the 1st August 2006. Last night's event was telecast live on RTB. - Borneo Bulletin (30th July 2006)