Royal Canadian Artillery Band ensembles march to a diverse tune


Royal Canadian Artillery Brass Quintet, Clarinet/Saxophone Duet, Woodwind Quintet and Trombone Quintet
St. Albert Chamber Music Society
Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Red Willow Place
7 Tache St.
Tickets: $30 to $35. Call Art Gallery of St. Albert 780-460-4310 or Musée Heritage, 780-459-1528

The top-tier Royal Canadian Artillery Band is one of the military’s premiere ensembles.

Just this past year the band performed in France for the Battle of Vimy Ridge ceremonies, and later spent a month in England playing at prestigious locales including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Within the band’s ranks, each of the 35 soldier-musicians occupy multiple roles splitting into smaller ensembles that support both high-level military and civilian functions.

When the RCA Band received a gig request from St. Albert Chamber Music Society, it fell in line with its mission statement.

“We want to work with the greater community and its organizations and be part of the greater cultural and music fabric of the greater capital region,” said Sgt. Ian Smith.

Smith is one of 14 RCA band musicians excited to perform a civilian gig on Oct. 14 at Red Willow Place as part of the Brass Quintet, Clarinet/Saxophone Duo, Woodwind Quintet and Trombone Quintet.

Smith notes that the program will lean towards the various ensembles’ classical repertoire as opposed to the more ceremonial military marches.

“Something like this concert allows us to branch out with the music we played in college. It allows us to connect with members of the public in a more personal way.”

The RCA Brass Quintet kicks off with Eric Ewazen’s Colchester Fantasy, a fanfare piece inspired by colourful, old English pubs.

The four energetic movements – The Rose and Crown, The Marquis of Granby, The Dragon and The Red Lion – bring to mind images of faded aristocracy, sounds of battle and noble sentiments.

Immediately following is Sgt. Robert Spady on clarinet and Smith on sax playing two short, dynamic works. Georg Philipp Telemann’s Canonic Sonata No. 2, originally composed for two flutes is a sparkling, spring-like piece.

It contrasts vividly against Roshanne Etazady’s contemporary Glint, a vivacious, fast composition bursting with dissonance.

“It’s supposed to sound shiny like light flashing off an instrument.”

The Woodwind Quintet keeps the pace flowing at a moderate speed with György Ligeti’s Sechs Bagatellen, a six movement composition that is a staple of woodwind quintets. The bagatelles are short, two-minute pieces that reflect Ligeti’s minimum number of notes for maximum effect.

The woodwinds close their section with Paquito D’Rivera’s Aires Tropicales, a jazz based work with Latin overtones.

The Trombone Quintet finishes the program playing five diverse works ranging from the William Tell Overture to No More Blues.

“You get to hear music in a way you’ve never heard before. It’s our personal interests as well as the ensembles’ specific programs. If you’ve never heard the RCA band, this is a good introduction to what we do.”

Emerging French horn player Alicia Krips, 16, accompanied by Nancy Watt on piano, opens the evening. She plays Emile Pressard’s In the Forest Opus 130. Krips is a member of the Edmonton Youth Orchestra and was chosen to play in Alberta Wind Symphony.




About Author

Anna Borowiecki

Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.