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Royal Canadian Artillery Band makes A Christmas Wish

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 06:00 am

CHRISTMAS WISH – Sgt. Dan Pain works the tuba Tuesday morning as the Royal Canadian Artillery Band rehearses for its annual Christmas Wish concert on Friday, Dec. 13 at the Winspear Centre.
CHRISTMAS WISH – Sgt. Dan Pain works the tuba Tuesday morning as the Royal Canadian Artillery Band rehearses for its annual Christmas Wish concert on Friday, Dec. 13 at the Winspear Centre.
APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette

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Christmas Wish
Royal Canadian Artillery Band
Special guests Richard Eaton Singers
Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Winspear Centre
4 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Free admission

The Royal Canadian Artillery Band is one of the top military bands in the country. Held in high regard by concert patrons and critics alike, it returns with one of the Capital Region’s most beloved traditions.

A Christmas Wish takes place on Friday, December 13 at the acoustically perfect Winspear Centre. Teaming up with the full concert band are the Richard Eaton Singers.

Under the direction of Capt. Patrice Arsenault, the RCA Band’s 42 musicians play a full complement of brass, reed, percussion, guitar, pipes and drums.

The versatile musical organization has dipped into their vast library of music combining classical works, Christmas carols, sacred hymns and movie scores.

“We want to please our crowds. It’s imperative to us that the audience enjoys the time they spend with us. We want to feature our musical talent and passion. And this we have found is the best way to connect with our audience,” said Arsenault, commanding officer and director of music.

The full ensemble joins the Richard Eaton Singers in performing three songs: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, the much lauded gospel song The Water is Wide and Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium.

“Magnum Mysterium is quite expressive. It’s very moving and lends itself to the contemplative moment. It’s very peaceful. It was specially arranged for choir and winds, and we decided to combine both to get the full forces of the arrangement.”

One of the more whimsical numbers is A Christmas Carol Fantasy, a mash-up with a fun twist on well-known carols. Jerrold Eillander will be the guest organist.

Adding a unique military flair, Brigadier General Christian Juneau and various other high-ranking officials have been invited to perform Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, once listed as North America’s most popular Christmas orchestral piece.

The grand finale is a full rendition of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas narrated with voiceover by Sgt. Brian Driscoll.

And various ensembles created from musicians within the RCA Band step up with their signature brand of music.

There’s the foot-tapping Celtic McSquinty’s, the Brass Quintet and the Pipe and Drums to name a few. Once again the rich, powerful vocals of Sgt. Janine Bremault-Bamford will echo through the hall in numerous songs.

“Most of the program people will recognize, but it’s also nice to have a different way of presenting so people find it exciting and stimulating.”

Although the there is no admission charge, the Canadian Forces program Solider On will be accepting donations in the lobby.

Soldier On helps ill and injured personnel and their families through various programs ranging from medical care and vocational assistance to social support and counselling.

With the rash of Canadian soldier suicides – four in the last two weeks – there is a glaring spotlight on personnel suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. And for many observers this only hints at the magnitude of the problem.

Arsenault encourages the public to vision for additional information.


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