Father and son duo Private Leigh Martin and Corporal Raynor Martin will return to their home town of New Plymouth when the New Zealand Army Band plays there next week.
The family has a long connection with both the New Plymouth music scene and the Army Band; Leigh’s father, Ken Martin, was an army musician during World War II, and his first tuba teacher was former Army Band member Trevor Bremner.
The band has taken the Martins around the world since Leigh joined the Army and the band in 2005 aged 44, and Raynor in 2009.
“I’d always wanted to join the band as a teenager so when there was an opportunity later in my working life I took it, selling up home and business and shifting our family to Christchurch,” Leigh said.
In 2009 he left the Army Regular Force – staying in the band as a Reservist - and returned to New Plymouth, where he was Musical Director of New Plymouth Brass until 2019. In late 2019 he transferred back to Christchurch and rejoined the Army as a Regular Force soldier.
Raynor Martin, who played trumpet and cornet, joined the New Plymouth Learner Band as a youngster when his grandfather was conductor “so music is in the Martin blood”.
Both Leigh and Raynor will be playing in New Plymouth at the New Zealand Army Band Live concert on 25 November at New Plymouth’s TSB Showplace Theatre Royal.
“Playing to the New Plymouth crowd and my family will be a real highlight of this tour,” Leigh said.
Raynor said he appreciated any opportunity to perform for his family, and hoped his grandmother would be there to watch as “she hasn’t seen me perform in a while”.
Both father and son said they had been lucky to play throughout the world thanks to the Army Band, including at the Edinburgh Tattoo in Scotland.
“I have been very lucky in my career to perform at many big events. Playing the Last Post at the 100th commemoration of the Battle of the Somme in 2016 and in Passchendaele in 2017 were huge honours,” Raynor said.
“And performing for the Queen at her Diamond Jubilee and 90th Birthday Celebrations was also amazing. But the one that sticks out is still marching out the gates of Edinburgh Castle to 9000 people every night for a month at the Tattoo.”
Leigh Martin said the opportunity to work alongside his son was “a real honour”, and having a common interest of music and brass band meant they were close.
COVID-19 had changed the Army Band’s plans for 2020 but the Martins said there were still plenty of opportunities.
“I feel very lucky in the current climate to have a job in the music industry. Although we are soldiers in the Army, we still strive to be the best musicians we can be and are lucky enough to perform regularly,” Raynor said.
New Zealand Army Band Live features the Army Band showcasing its signature style through varied performance pieces, from traditional brass band to big band to the latest hits.
Where: TSB Showplace Theatre Royal, New Plymouth
When: Wednesday, 25 November