RMCC Band Outdoes Itself Once More

Article by 25366 Mike Shewfelt

Photos by 26352 OCdt Curtis Maynard – Click on photos for better viewing

It was a high energy, fun filled afternoon at the Kingston Gospel Temple this past Saturday as the Cadets of the RMCC Band strutted their stuff for the community during the annual Concert in Scarlets. Under the leadership of Band Officer MWO Ronald Reedy, Bandmaster WO Catherine Norris, and Cadet Wing Band Officer 26044 OCdt Ophelia Rose, the Cadets performed a wide-ranging selection of music, from classics like “Log Driver’s Waltz” and “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” to the theme from the hit video game Halo and the theme from “The Magnificent Seven,” and a little bit of everything in between. 25638 OCdt Catherine Houle and 26349 NCdt Derek Frank provided their services as Masters of Ceremony (MC’s).

“This concert certainly demonstrates what the Cadets are capable of,” WO Norris said following the performance. “They are capable of such a wide range of pieces.” The Brass & Reed kicked things off with “Fanfare for the Common Man.” (NCdt Frank explained that it was written for the “common man at income tax time, something we can all relate to.”) They followed this up with “Bobcaygeon,” by Kingston’s own The Tragically Hip. Of special note, RMCC’s Artist in Residence, Tragically Hip bassist Gord Sinclair, was in attendance at the concert. “On the Mall,” a whistling, finger snapping tune, followed.

The Brass & Reed broke new ground with their next piece. As the MC’s explained, “Lately, RMC’s Brass & Reed has been turning heads and causing a few smirks on formal parades when they delight the crowd with a-typical tunes. Video Games Live is a musical movement created by the gaming industry whereby orchestras and choirs perform music from the most popular video games of all time. Often these events will feature video footage, synchronized lighting, and interactive action-plays to create an explosive experience for the audience.” Although they lacked the interactive action-plays, the Brass & Reed’s performance of themes from Halo, Civilization IV, and Kingdom Hearts proved to be just that.

The RMCC Choir then took the stage to perform several pieces, including “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” (WO Norris’s favourite Disney song, according to the MC’s), “Log Driver’s Waltz,” and “Bangarang.” The solo performance of Cadet Wing Choir Manager OCdt Victoria Dombrowski, which featured her amazing voice and incredible vocal range, brought back memories of last year’s concert’s surprise hit, College Chief Warrant Officer CPO1 Keith Davidson.

Things got a little bit funky as the Stage Band rounded out the first half of the Concert. The Stage Band, a volunteer recreation club at the College that is often featured at mess dinners, was joined by WO Norris for their presentation of “Cry Me a River,” “Get it On,” and “Sing, Sing, Sing.” The Band performed “Cry Me a River” with the wonderful voice of special guest Ms. Judy Duguay, an Administrative Officer in the Principal’s Office.

Following a short intermission, the RMC Pipes & Drums and Highland Dancers kept the energy up with performances of a number of pieces. They started things off the “Drum Salute,” “Jimmy Findlater,” and the “Irish Jig.” The last song, as the MC’s explained, “Was either about a distressed wife scolding her husband, a wash-woman chasing after her children, or a lady being tormented by leprechauns. Or perhaps all three!” The “Sailor’s Hornpipe,” a Medley, and “Ghillie Calum” or the Sword Dance, rounded out their portion of the show. The Medley is a technically challenging composition of different pieces with multiple tempos, through which the Pipes & Drums would (hopefully) transition seamlessly. In true RMC fashion, they did it flawlessly.

The Brass & Reed, under the direction of Cadet Wing Band Officer OCdt Rose, took the stage again alongside the Pipes & Drums and Highland Dancers for the grand finale. Together, they performed “Road to the Isles” and a truly unique, heart-pounding rendition of the theme from “The Magnificent Seven”. “Highland Laddie” and “Precision,” both favourites of the Cadets, rounded out the performance to a standing ovation from the audience.

Senior College leadership was in attendance at the concert, and those present had nothing but praise for the efforts of the Cadets. “The talent that we have and the accomplishments of the Cadets never cease to amaze me,” said College Commandant 16888 BGen Al Meinzinger. “This is truly an opportunity to showcase our Cadets. It’s an outreach and a thank you to the community of Kingston. RMC enjoys great support from the community, and we would not be able to fulfill our mission as a national institution without that.”

College Director of Cadets 19706 LCol Patrick Lemyre echoed the Commandant’s sentiments. “A lot of hard work went into this, and it shows.”

College Principal 14458 Dr. Harry Kowal, RMCC ’84, said simply, “The talent is amazing.”

When Mr. Orest Koroluk, who with sixteen years in the Band is the longest serving member, was asked how this performance compared to previous ones, he replied, “They’re all different. When you’ve been around as long as I have, you see the changes. Cadets and staff come and go each year. It’s impossible to pick out one performance over another. Sure, we had a great band five years ago, but as you can see today, we have incredible talent here, too.”

Congratulations to the Band of the Royal Military College of Canada, and all those involved behind the scenes, on making this year’s Concert in Scarlets another rousing success.

More photos, including pre-reception concert here