The winner of the RAF Slow March competition is Senior Aircraftman Matt Leach with ‘Saeculum’. 13 musicians entered their own compositions, to find a new slow march for the RAF and mark 100 years of music in the RAF.
Meaning ‘Century’ in Latin, ‘Saeculum’ will receive its first public performance at the Changing the Guard Ceremony at Buckingham Palace in January this year.
‘Saeculum’ will also feature in graduation parades at the Officer Training Academy, RAF College Cranwell, and for processing the Colour at St Clement Danes Church during the annual Founder’s Day Service.
My vision for the new Royal Air Force Slow March was a piece that evoked pride, celebration and tradition. I tried to mirror some of the style and harmonic progressions of the RAF March Past to firmly plant this slow march within the existing musical heritage of the Royal Air Force."
Senior Aircraftman Leach
Senior Aircraftman Leach took to music at the age of 8. He advanced through the grades quickly, achieving Grade 8 Distinction on euphonium at the age of 16. Further studying on bass trombone at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama prepared him for joining RAF Music Services in 2019, where he has since composed a number of other works including a new wind band symphony, music for brass ensemble and backing tracks used in RAF Diversity and Inclusion training videos.
"As we are now firmly into the second century of the Service’s history we felt it was time for a slow march to be composed that would first and foremost be utilised to march the Queen’s Colour out of Buckingham Palace when we are supporting the Queen’s Colour Squadron to deliver public duties. 13 musicians across the Whole Force submitted compositions for consideration and I was delighted with the high standard that required the panel to deliberate at length to identify the preferred march. Ultimately we all agreed that Senior Aircraftman Matthew Leach from the Band of the Royal Air Force College had composed a march that met the brief perfectly and I eagerly await hearing it performed on 1st February when we march out of Buckingham Palace ahead of the Queen’s Colour."
Wing Commander Morrell
Principal Director of Music
Although completing less than 2 years in the RAF, Senior Aircraftman Leach has already completed a 4-month deployment to Newport, Wales, as part of a team tasked with supporting the NHS with the COVID-19 mass vaccination programme. For his outstanding work on this deployment, he was awarded the Commander 160th (Welsh) Brigade Coin for Excellence.
"It was an honour to compose the Royal Air Force’s new slow march and I am excited to hear the work performed live!"
Senior Aircraftman Leach