Members of a well-regarded brass quintet are polishing their instruments—and their boots—in advance of their Jasper performances.
Tonight, five members of the Royal Canadian Artillery Band will be joining the Jasper Legion’s famously raucous Friday night crowds for a special Jasper Veterans’ Festival set.
“We’re excited to come be part of the weekend,” said Seargant Matt Jaffray of the RCA Band. “The Jasper Legion is one of the most well-attended Legions in Canada,”
Jaffray would know. As well as playing parades, public functions, concerts and ceremonies, the RCA Band performs in Legions across the country. When they played the Stand Easy last November, it was one of the highlights of the year, Jaffray said.
“The atmosphere definitely got a bit rowdy,” he laughed.
Before things get too loose, the RCA Band and the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Drumline will perform today, at 3-4 p.m., at the Jasper Park Information Centre (500 Connaught Drive).
The Royal Canadian Artillery Band is one of six regular force bands in the Canadian Armed Forces—the army, navy and airforce each claim two. The Edmonton-based RCA Band coming to Jasper is normally comprised of 35 full-time musicians, but often breaks off into smaller configurations to attend special functions such as their commitment to the Jasper Veterans’ Festival.
Along with their performance with the PPCLI Drumline, on Remembrance Day, the brass quintet will provide musical support for the day’s events.
The quintet includes two trumpets, a french horn, a trombone and a bass trombone. A drummer will accompany some of their pieces.
At the Stand Easy, the band’s repertoire will include a variety of musical numbers and styles, from pop tunes to marches, and from folk rock to brass standards.
“[The quintet] is the RCA Band’s most versatile ensemble,” Jaffray said.
RCA Band members aren’t simply soldiers with an interest in music. Being selected for a spot in the band is a rigorous process; competition is steep and selected musicians often have multiple music degrees and extensive professional experience, said Jaffray, himself an oboe player.
“Being a musician in the military is one of the best gigs a musician can get,” he said.
And it doesn’t get much better than Friday night at The Jasper Legion.
Bob Covey // email@example.com