Singing soldiers are all set to march into Norwich
Three serving soldiers and pop album chart successes are bringing their unique brand of armed forces charity-supporting musical-tour-de-force to Norwich.
Musical outfits with a military twist are all the rage at the moment, with the Military Wives Choir taking the Christmas number one spot.
But this three-piece troupe, known simply as The Soldiers, were the ones who started it all. Since forming they have had three hit albums, with two in the top 10 and one reaching a height of number three.
Comprising 39-year-old Colour Sergeant Richie Maddocks of the Band of the Grenadier Guards, 43-year-old Sergeant Major Gary Chilton of the Band of the Army Aircorps and 26-year-old Lance Corporal Ryan Idzi of the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, the band are the first group of serving soldiers to have had music chart success.
The trio, who have more than 60 years' experience between them, sing in aid of Help for Heroes, the Royal British Legion and the Army Benevolent Fund.
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The group – who perform a mix of rock and roll and soft, slow ballads – are due to perform at the Norwich Theatre Royal on Monday January 30.
Recently promoted from staff sergeant to colour sergeant, Mr Maddocks has spent time as a military musician in the Minden Band of the Queen's Division, performing in Norfolk in the past.
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Mr Maddocks said: 'We are not a choir, we like to play rock and roll.
'And I think people like us for the combination of the fact that we are genuine soldiers – we have to put in leave to do this tour and as soon as it is done, it's back to barracks – the charities we raise money for and the fact that we do play good music. The music is good and reflective, it makes people think.'
The trio's albums, Coming Home, Letters Home and Message to You, all feature covers heavily but do carry some original songs.
They have also recorded with Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, performing the Bee Gees classic I've Gotta Get a Message to You.
Mr Idzi also once reached the bootcamp stage of X-Factor.
'Support shown to the armed forces in the current climate is amazing,' said Mr Maddocks.
'If they can have a CD of good music to take home, and feel good for supporting the armed forces, it is a great thing.'
To book tickets call Theatre Royal Box Office on 01603 630000.
Are you or someone you know doing something for charity? Call reporter Joe Wilkes on 01603 772 439 or email firstname.lastname@example.org