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Holiday Story: Central Band Members Share Musical Career Insights

By Sergeant Natalie Alcorn, Central Band of the CAF –

The traditional Holidays with the Central Band concert is fast approaching and the Band is quite proud to be showcasing two of its members in this article. The Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces (CBCAF) have asked their newest member Corporal (Cpl) Jason Gordon, and member In Charge (I/C) of the RCAF Pipes and Drums Warrant Officer (WO) Joe Kiah to share their thoughts on a musical career in the CAF. This year will also be Cpl Gordon’s very first time playing at the Holidays with the Central Band concert!

  1. How long have you been with the Central Band? And under what capacity have you been with the Band?

Cpl Jason Gordon: I joined the Central Band this July after completing my Basic Military Qualification at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School. Currently, I play the euphonium with the concert band, parade band, 10-piece ensemble and on occasion a low brass quartet. In addition, I have been tasked to the library department, which involves lots of organizing, photocopies, distribution and many odd jobs that appear.

WO Joe Kiah: I have been in the Central Band for one year and five months and I am I/C of the RCAF Pipes and Drums.

  1. What has your experience been like participating in the many high-profile events that the Central Band supports in the NCR, and abroad?

Cpl Gordon: Most days, I can’t believe who or what event I played for. Since joining, I have performed for the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of National Defence, the Chief of the Defence Staff, and many others! It is a privilege and an honour to participate in so many events.

WO Kiah:  Playing for such events make me feel very proud to be among some of the finest Musicians in Canada and to represent our country as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

  1. What are some of the challenges or opportunities of being involved with such a large and diverse group?

Cpl Gordon: As any job, working with people results in challenges. People argue and disagree, especially over music. Yet, it also create many positive opportunities. There are so many excellent Musicians to learn, play, collaborate and improve with.

WO Kiah: It is very rewarding to learn about the different members of the Central Band and to be exposed to the various musical interests and styles outside of pipe bands.

  1. Do you have a favourite event or type of event to be a part of?

Cpl Gordon: I am split on that question! It is either parades or concerts. In a parade, when thousands of people are cheering for you, it is a hard feeling to beat. For concerts, rehearsing music for weeks on end and trying to create the best product possible is very rewarding.

WO Kiah: The National Remembrance Day service is by far my favourite event as it honours and acknowledges the efforts and sacrifices of so many. It truly gives a sense of pride to participate as a CAF member.

  1. How does it feel to be a member of the Central Band?

Cpl Gordon: Being part of the Band is a dream come true. Since the age of 11 I have wanted to be a Musician. Every day, I am excited to go to work. How many people can say that?

WO Kiah: I feel honoured to represent the CAF at home and abroad through music. Having the responsibility and opportunity to pass on military traditions – both musical and otherwise, gives a true sense of pride as a leader in the Forces.

  1. How does partnering with vocalist Laila Biali affect your preparations for this event?

Cpl Gordon: It is exciting to work with a well-known artist! I am definitely in the practice rooms more to ensure I know all my parts.

WO Kiah:  The Pipes and Drums won’t be performing with Laila Biali for this event, but we will be sure to play a set that will have her toes tapping!

  1. Do you have a favourite piece to perform?

Cpl Gordon: The Great Little Army is a favourite. There is a big euphonium part during the trio. As we play it a lot, I always have something to look forward to!

WO Kiah: Any pipe band sets with the Highlands dancers are always a joy to perform.

  1. What can the audience expect at this year’s holiday concert?

Cpl Gordon: Excellent Musicians creating excellent music. More specifically, lots of holiday music that will surely brighten people’s day and put them in the holiday spirit! We will have a variety of genres, members performing solos, our wonderful vocalist and much more!

WO Kiah: The audience can expect a wide range of wonderful and enjoyable music with a great variety of styles from our guest artist and from the talented Musicians of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Central Band with special guest Laila Biali will be playing shows on both Tuesday, 10 December and Wednesday, 11 December, 2019 at 1900 hrs, both at the Meridian Theatres at Centrepointe. Tickets may be purchased on the MeridianCentrepointe website. DND/CAF personnel may use the promo code listed in the CFSU(O) Routine Orders to purchase tickets at a discounted rate, with tickets ranging from $10-20. Please note that this is a family-friendly event and as such there are no formal dress requirements for a night of holiday fun.

Feature Image Provided by CFSU(O) Imaging Services

This post is also available in: Français (French)

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