The coronation of King Charles III takes place on May 6th. (74) at Westminster Abbey in London. Lieutenant Colonel Craig Hallatt will also play a key role in the ceremony. As the chief musical director of the British military, he is one of the highest-ranking musicians in the royal palace. Among other things, Hallatt was responsible for the musical implementation at the funeral ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022), who died on September 8 at the age of 96 - he also played at the monarch's grave herself. However, the musician is also responsible for other projects, for example he was on board as a consultant for the current show "Highland Saga" and contributed the title "Balmoral Farewell" to the associated album.
Currently, however, the planning of the coronation is in the foreground for the leading bagpiper. The program "will be of a celebratory nature and appropriate to the occasion," reveals Hallatt in advance. In an interview with the news agency spot on news, the musician tells what else the royal fans can expect at the big event and which moments with Queen Elizabeth II he will never forget.
Lieutenant Colonel Craig Hallatt: A carefully planned, prestigious, world-class event aimed at a global audience - not just the people of the UK.
Hallatt: There is a lot of rehearsing, planning and preparation so that we have a perfect performance on the day of the coronation.
Hallatt: His Majesty the King enjoys music as much as his mother does. He has played a part in what music will be heard, but other members of the royal household and staff, senior officers and military musicians like myself have all had input. Although I cannot speak about the final programme, it will be of a celebratory nature and appropriate to the occasion.
Hallatt: His Majesty the King will experience the same devotion and loyalty as Queen Elizabeth II during her reign. You and the Royal Family are part of the very essence of our nation.
Hallatt: I've been in the military for 38 years, spending most of my time as Music Director in the British Army, which commands 750 professional musicians. I have to make sure the standards are upheld and our musicians perform well at every opportunity. When we're performing for the royal family, that's even more important. Because we are on a parade and we need to be elegant and professional. This is a very exciting situation, but incredibly fulfilling.
Hallatt: Queen Elizabeth II was the epitome of a good person. Something we should all strive for. She was always professional, kind in her questions and interested in how the people she spoke to and the musical ensemble she directed were doing. She often authorized the selection of music for ceremonial occasions such as a royal garden party, both at Holyrood Palace and Buckingham Palace, and also for the ceremonial changing of the guard when she was in residence at Windsor Castle.
Hallatt: The final music was played by the Queen's piper, Pipe Major Burns. He played for her every day. It was always very exciting to play for the Queen as she had a keen interest in many different types of music and a keen sense of right and wrong notes so you had to be very precise.
Hallatt: Playing in front of the royal family is always a challenge. You have to give the best you can. I spent a large part of my time conducting, directing the musicians. This is very challenging but also rewarding. I have conducted military bands and orchestras many times, at garden parties at Buckingham Palace and at ceremonies. Also in Trooping the Color, where you are very close to the monarch and also have to control a horse. That wasn't always easy.
Hallatt: In 2010 the Pope was visiting Edinburgh and my band, the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, provided music for the Guard of Honor upon his arrival. It was always customary that the Queen never waited for anyone - the people waited for her. But on this occasion and as a sign of respect, she waited for the Pope to arrive. As she did so, she inspected the band and, having only seen me conducting at her garden party the day before, said, "Oh, you again" as she approached the band. She had a very good sense of humor and said it with a smile.
Hallatt: I think because they are the sound of Scotland and the Queen really enjoyed her summer holidays at Balmoral. That's why I composed the music "Balmoral Farewell" for bagpipes and other instruments that are synonymous with this country.
Hallatt: I met most of the members of the royal family, including His Majesty King Charles and Queen Camilla. Countess Sophie of Wessex is also the Royal Army Music Colonel and she is always very interested in what we do as an organization and visits us regularly. All of the family members I have met have always been polite and interested in understanding our role in the army. They also took an interest in the welfare of our musicians. The mood is usually very serious when we perform because we are professionals and have a job to do so there isn't much opportunity for fun moments.
Hallatt: "Highland Saga" is one of the most spectacular music groups I've ever seen. Incredibly talented, brilliantly managed and backed by professionals, the show is quite simply magical. For me it's the best stage show in the world - and I've seen a lot in my career. The musicians are extremely talented. It's an international show with performers from so many different nations, packed with exciting music, a great story and moments of reflection that bring tears to your eyes. I am very impressed. The album is a snapshot of a brilliant show.
If you want to watch the "Highland Saga" show, you still have until June. The project started in Ravensburg on April 1st, followed a day later by Fulda. From April 20th it will continue in Aachen, Weimar, Chemnitz, Karlsruhe, Saarbrücken, Nuremberg, Bochum, Wetzlar, Bielefeld, Berlin and Lübeck. The final will take place on June 3rd in Bremen. The album for the show "Highland Saga - Scotland My Love!" has been on sale since March 24th.