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Tivoli's very own guard, music school and orchestra

The Tivoli Youth Guard

The Tivoli Youth Guard

Tivoli's very own guard, music school, several musical groups – and an icon recognised far beyond Denmark’s borders.

The 100 boys and girls that now make up the Tivoli Youth Guard are the current face of a tradition stretching back to 1844, when the world’s first youth guard was formed as a “Lilliputian Military”. After Tivoli opened successfully in 1843, its founder, Georg Carstensen, decided to give himself a Tivoli Boys Guard as a birthday present for Tivoli’s second season – and so it came to pass.

Today the Tivoli Youth Guard is a year-round music school for boys and girls aged 8-16 who have passed the entrance exams. The Drums and Fifes and the Tivoli Youth Guard Band are elite youth ensembles in their fields, while the Colour Guard specialises in the military tradition surrounding the Tivoli Youth Guard. At the same time, all sections are the foundation stones of the schooling and upbringing that the boys receive during their time in the Tivoli Youth Guard.

Like Tivoli itself, the Tivoli Youth Guard is well-known in many parts of the world. The Guard regularly travels abroad to represent Tivoli and Denmark through music and parades. The uniform of bearskin hat, red jacket and white trousers form a visual icon that instantly symbolises much of the good that Tivoli and Denmark represent.

The history of the Guard

The 100 boys and girls that now make up the Tivoli Youth Guard are the current face of a tradition stretching back to 1844, when the world’s first youth guard was formed as a “Lilliputian Military”. 

After Tivoli opened successfully in 1843, its founder, Georg Carstensen, decided to give himself a Tivoli Boys Guard as a birthday present for Tivoli’s second season – and so it came to pass.

Excerpt from the book, “Tivoli-Garden”, which was published as part of the 140-year anniversary in 1984:

“The ‘Little Military Guard’, or the ‘Lilliputian Military’, as it was also known, originally comprised 30 boys in total, including one officer, one sergeant and four drummers. They were paid one mark a day, four open sandwiches and half a pint of beer for performances, but the enjoyment of being involved far exceeded the pleasure of earning these pittances for most of the boys, even if they were often much needed.

“The Tivoli Boys Guard originally used the changing room in the basement of the Pantomime Theatre, ‘a dark, unpleasant room filled with props’, but moved after a year to a room underneath the roller coaster, but here there was such a racket when the carriages went over that it was impossible to hear anything. In 1844, the Guard appeared six times in the Gardens, also amusing the public on 13 October by participating in a sack race on the Open Air Stage in front of the Concert Hall.”
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Listen to the Guard

Obviously, the Tivoli Youth Guard often performs at Tivoli, and as the children have to keep regular school hours, the best time to hear them is at the weekend or late in the afternoon.

During the summer season, there are generally two parades through Tivoli on both Saturdays and Sundays – as well as on Wednesdays during the school holidays. The Tivoli Youth Guard Band also performs concerts on Sunday afternoons on the Open Air Stage or in the Concert Hall.

During Halloween in Tivoli, there are various performances around Tivoli every day And during Christmas in Tivoli, you can watch parades involving the Drums and Fifes and the Colour Guard, as well as an eight-piece orchestra from the Tivoli Youth Guard Band performing as a Pixie Band.


Join the Guard

We hold auditions every June, and we need about the same number of children as those who are leaving. That means about 15-20 children a year. The Tivoli Youth Guard includes children from very diverse social and ethnic backgrounds – and from 2015, we will also start accepting girls! 

There are always more applicants than we have room for, so if you don’t get in it’s no failure on your part. But it’s a feather in your cap if you do.

Press the plus to learn more about the application process.

At the audition, we will find out if you have music and rhythm inside you, and if you can walk nicely, fit our uniforms, and are smart and sensible – and if your parents are completely sure they know what it means to have a child in the Tivoli Boys Guard.

The audition lasts 10 minutes, and if you already play an instrument we would love to hear you play a short piece or sing a song. 

If you have any questions, please contact us by telephone on +45 33 75 04 55.
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Book the Guard

The Tivoli Youth Guard is one of the few elements of Tivoli that can be moved outside the Gardens. They regularly spread happiness and the Tivoli atmosphere at conferences, weddings, conventions, festivals, launches and much more.

If you want to add a festive feel to your event, book the Tivoli Youth Guard.

The Tivoli Youth Guard can appear with all 90 boys in full parade, down to just two boys acting as guards to an entrance. The Tivoli Youth Guard Band is a brass band consisting of 50 boys and girls. The Drums and Fifes consist of 18 boys with marching pipes and drums, and we have ensembles of 2, 4 or 8 people who can play while marching, standing or sitting, depending on what you need. We tailor our performances to each location and event.

The Tivoli Youth Guard always appears in the iconic red uniforms with bearskin hats, and no one can fail to smile as they watch these boys, aged 8-16, playing and marching as if they’d never done anything else.

Contact us at tivoli-garden@tivoli.dk