People's Liberation Army troops yesterday marched into the handover ceremony venue armed with musical instruments to rehearse the national anthem they will play on July 1. The 80 military musicians from Beijing crossed the border yesterday morning for a day of rehearsals. Marching in step they trooped past the security check at the entrance to the Convention and Exhibition Centre extension dressed in neatly pressed green military trousers and golfing shirts sporting identical crew cuts. Their security passes identified them as being from the 'Ministry of National Defence Military Band'. They spent the morning being shown around the venue before having lunch and returning in the afternoon. They then rehearsed the routine they will perform when the Chinese flag is raised. The troops returned to Shenzhen last night. They are expected to rehearse at least once more before the official event just after midnight on July 1. One said: 'I'm very happy. The handover of Hong Kong is a great issue for all Chinese people.' When asked if they would be among the troops to be stationed in the territory after the handover, another soldier said: 'We don't know. It's not been decided yet.' At the Hong Kong Stadium last night, about 30,000 people watched the final performance by British military bands. Applause broke out each time the audience recognised a song, but special cheers were reserved for the kilted pipers and drummers of the Black Watch. The Band of the Royal Marines were immaculate in white safari suits, while the Scots Guards, Highland Band and the Black Watch sweated under bearskins. The Pipes and Drums of the Brigade of Gurkhas also drew the crowd along. The programme included modern music from Les Miserables and the Rugby World Cup anthem, World in Union, as well as military favourites Black Bear, A Life on the Ocean Wave and The Leather Bottle - regimental march of the now disbanded Hong Kong Volunteers. For the finale all five bands combined. When they struck up Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia, hundreds stood to sing and wave Union and Hong Kong flags as at London's Last Night of the Proms. Special guest Governor Chris Patten, Commander British Forces Major-General Bryan Dutton and Director of Home Affairs Shelley Lau Lee Lai-kue, stood and linked arms for Auld Lang Syne. A lone Black Watch piper played the mournful Sleep Dearie Sleep before the crowd stood for the British national anthem.