By Catherine Villeneuve, The Guard –
The Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces (CBCAF) hosted their 7th annual Holidays with the Central Band concert on 11-12 December, 2018 and this year’s performance was exceptionally festive.
Inviting the newly introduced Member of the Order of Canada, Ms. Patsy Gallant to sing with them, the CBCAF packed a wide variety of performances into their two-hour show to delight the crowd with old and new favourites. Going from a jazzy rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by their Trombone Quartet, to the Scottish Christmas celebration of the highly popular RCAF Pipes and Drums – joined this year by four exceptionally talented Highland dancers, there was an undeniable musical chemistry between the Band and Ms. Gallant. It is always a testament to the artists’ talent and professionalism when the final result is so cohesive and fluid with only a handful of rehearsals.
“Once again this year, the Holidays with the Central Band concert was a success,” mentioned Warrant Officer Simon Paré, Operations Manager for the Band. “The audience greatly appreciated the variety of styles and interpretations of known airs and the performances by the Serenade of Strings and the RCAF Pipes & Drums.”
“The presence and generosity of the talented Ms. Patsy Gallant only amplified the festive atmosphere of the concert with her performances of Christmas classics and more particularly, the rhythms of her disco and R&B hits.”
“The next holiday concert will most likely bring lots of surprises and emotions to our audience,” he added.
Ms. Gallant paid homage to the CAF by dedicating a song to them; a powerful a cappella rendition of Edith Piaf’s “L’Hymne à l’amour”, which garnered her a standing ovation. Following that moving tribute was another standing-ovation performance by the band of “Jingle Bells” with three solos, including that of soon-to-retire Sergeant Scott Poll on the clarinet. Audience members were also treated to a new, exclusive piece titled “Canadian Vignettes”, commissioned by the Serenade of Strings for their 50th anniversary. The three-part melody from Cameron Wilson featured “The Great Canadians Plains”, “Sunset in Cape Breton” and “Kitchen Party in the Ottawa Valley”.
“We thoroughly enjoyed the concert from beginning to the end of the encore,” indicated audience member Major Mike Cressman, from the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Group.
“A well done to all members of the Central Band along with the augmentees from the Reserves, the RCAF Band and the US Army Sergeant from the US Embassy.”
“Patsy Gallant was awesome; I remember her hits well. She has not lost the power of her captivating voice and it was nice to hear her strong support for CAF members wherever they serve. It is the first time I have attended this event and I will look forward to doing so again in the coming years.”
All in all this was a concert where all bands and guests were stars; all having their moment to shine and enchant the crowd in this eclectic yet homogeneous ensemble cast holiday performance.
Dates for the 2019 concert have already booked at the Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe for 10-11 December. Fans of the Central Band can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter to follow their performances throughout the year.
Photo: CFSU(O) IMAGING SERVICES/Private Tori Lake
This post is also available in: Français (French)