The sergeant honed his skills with the Liberty High School Marching and Jazz bands and Warren Junior Military Band.
By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN -- Marine Corps Sgt. Michael R. Pratt, as a member of the Marine Corps Albany Band, participated in a monthlong series of performances in Scotland, which included playing for Queen Elizabeth II on Aug. 5 on her Golden Jubilee Tattoo.
During the performances at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo at historic Edinburgh Castle, Pratt's band, its headquarters in Albany, Ga., played for other dignitaries from around the world, including Marine Commandant Gen. J.L. Jones and former Marine Commandant Gen. C.E. Mundy.
A tattoo is an ancient evening military retreat ceremony originally used as a call to quarters for military personnel. The Albany Band, directed by Master Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Farquhar, is one of several performing Marine bands.
As added bonuses to his band performances, Pratt, a trumpeter who honed his skills as a member of the Liberty High School Marching and Jazz bands and the Warren Junior Military Band, was pictured in the July 30 edition of The Scotsman, Scotland's national newspaper, and was visited by his mother and sister, Elizabeth and Jennifer Pratt, both of Austintown.
They traveled to London and Scotland and watched Pratt's band play before 10,000 people Aug. 2 at Edinburgh Castle.
"As any parent would, I cried when I heard them play 'America, The Beautiful.' I cried again when they returned to the arena with the massed pipes and drums for the finale of 1,200 musicians and dancers from around the world," said Elizabeth, a nurse at Forum Health Beeghly Medical Center in Boardman. Pratt's father is Roy Pratt of Vienna.
The trip to England and Scotland doubled as a graduation present for Jennifer, who graduated Aug. 17 from Youngstown State University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.
Not much visiting
Elizabeth and Jennifer were able to visit with Pratt for only a couple of hours during a rehearsal Aug. 1, the night before the performance.
Elizabeth said her son particularly enjoyed making friends with members of bands from other countries.
Other units performing in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo were: Tri-Services Bands of the Royal Marines, Scots Guards and Royal Air Force with the Highland Band of the Scottish Division; 10th/27th Royal South Australian Regiment Band; Trompetterkorps Bereden Wapens, the Band of the Mounted Arms from the Royal Netherlands Army Band; Dhol Cholom, Pung Cholom and Thang-Ta, a martial arts and drum dancing display from northeast India performed by J.N. Manipur Dance Academy Ensemble; New Zealand Army Band; Royal Corps of Musicians, Tonga; the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards; and the massed Commonwealth Highland Dancers.
The Marine's Albany band's show included traditional military marches such as John Philip Sousa's "Semper Fidelis" and the "Marine Corps Hymn."
The tattoo ended with the massed entertainers marching through the doors of Edinburgh Castle and over its drawbridge into the arena, and playing, with the audience joining in singing, "Auld Lang Syne," Elizabeth said.