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Stockholm: Bands and Bayonets

One of the "benefits" of a monarchy is pomp, and even the egalitarian Swedes are not immune to this attraction. Every day there is a changing of the guard at the Royal Palace, complete with military band. But the guard is composed of conscripts doing a regular tour of duty, wearing modern uniforms, carrying modern automatic rifles (complete with bayonets), and equipped with cell phones. In fact, if you walk down almost any Swedish street during any part of the day, roughly a third of the people seem to be talking on cell phones. (Some restaurants post signs begging people to turn off their cell phones during meals.)

Allegedly, during the summer some of the ceremonies involve more elaborate uniforms, but this was October, not summer. The band shown below, on the other hand, was far from ordinary: it consisted only of drummers and trumpeters using old-fashioned valveless trumpets. It takes considerable skill to sound good with such instruments, and they sounded grand.


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Photos (c) 1997 Lawrence I. Charters

Revised October 25, 1997 lic
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