Sometimes the internet just takes notice of something and it becomes a viral hit. I’m not sure if 2.3 million views can be considered a viral hit these days, but I have been surprised to see all the attention a recent video of the Irish Guards Band playing the intro music to the Game of Thrones show. The video took place on July 15th during the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Being positioned left of the center gate indicates that the band would later lead a detachment of the new guard to St. James Palace. The blue plumes of Saint Patrick in their bearskins denote the band’s identity.
The popularity of this video comes from the contrast of the serious music the audience expects to hear and the popular culture reference that ends up being played. While British military bands are some of the best when it comes to traditional military music, these are modern, adaptable organizations that can provide small ensembles, jazz groups, rock bands or even full orchestras to meet the needs of the occasion. Sometimes, bands such as the Band of the Irish Guards will play something slightly out of place to amuse and entertain the large audience that gathers to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
What’s funny about the attention this video is getting is that it is nothing new. Bands at the Changing of the Guard ceremony in London (and at Windsor Castle) often play contemporary selections. I have included below a list of some of these instances in no particular order. Unfortunately, some of the best videos of bands playing contemporary music are no longer on YouTube. For example, during the 2008 Official State Visit of French President Sarkozy to the UK, the band played Darth Vader’s Imperial March as he inspected the honor guard.