Seend musician is holding his breath for closing ceremony celebration (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Seend musician is holding his breath for closing ceremony celebration
2:00pm Friday 10th August 2012 in Devizes
Seend resident Tony Mort-imer will join 49 other members of the Reading Pipe Band in the Olympic closing ceremony at the 2012 Stadium in London on Sunday.
Mr Mortimer, 68, a retired RAF flight engineer, was delighted when the band was asked to perform.
He said: “We will be onstage for about 35 seconds but we will be there, which is the main thing.
“We’ve got our dress rehearsal on Thursday and then we next see our kit when we go up on Sunday.
“We were among six bands that were asked to audition for the ceremony and we were chosen. We don’t get any money, not even expenses, but it will be an historic thing to be taking part in.”
Mr Mortimer, who works part-time at the Stationery Cupboard in Devizes Market Place, got interested in playing the bagpipes when he was in his 20s. He said: “I was so impressed by two pipers I heard in a pub that I asked them if there was any chance of me learning to play.
“They gave me a chanter (the basic pipe which attaches to the bag) and left me to teach myself.”
While attached to the 1st Bomber Group, Mr Mortimer was recruited into the squadron pipe band and has been playing ever since. He travels every week to Reading to rehearse and then travels many miles – at his own expense – to perform.
He is sworn to secrecy about Sunday, even to the name of the piece they will play. He said: “We will walk up a ramp onto the stage, play the tune and then leg it.”
He added: “I have very much enjoyed watching the Olympics on TV so it will be a thrill to be there.”
The closing ceremony, being directed by Kim Gavin, is entitled A Symphony of British Music and will involve more than 4,100 performers, including 3,500 adult volunteers and 380 schoolchildren. After the march of the athletes, there will be a handover to the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, which will be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics, before the Olympic flame is extinguished.