ABU DHABI // The staccato drums and booming brass section of the 230-member Abu Dhabi Police band is fully booked for the National Day holiday week, with 61 performances on the agenda all across the emirate.
"We received no less than 80 requests to perform at National Day events," Col Waleed al Shamsi, the director of the police training school, said with a hint of pride.
The band has come a long way since its inception 47 years ago, when 60 new members with no musical background were taught to play only marching music.
Today, the police orchestra can play the national anthems of numerous countries, as well as classical symphonies, and cultural and popular songs. They will also take their skills abroad to participate in a musical festival in Germany next month.
Col al Shamsi said the band had undergone intensive training from international experts.
"Police music is important because it inspires the police officer with strength and motivation," he said. "It is also used for drill training and marches, as each beat identifies when the arm should go up and when it should go down."
On the social side, the band participates in various occasions, from greeting official visitors to embassy parties and diplomatic functions.
"Having a police band also helps implement the Interior Ministry's strategy, to build trust between the community and the police," Col al Shamsi said. It showed a creative side to police officers and made the public at ease with them, he added.