Tuesday Tattoo

On Sunday afternoon, my wife and I (and several family members) attended the RCMI’s 17th Annual Massed Military Band Spectacular at Roy Thomson Hall.  The concert featured the pipes, drums and brass/woodwind bands from many units in the Toronto Garrison:

The entire performance was somewhere just shy of three hours, and had a good mix of contemporary (“

1. The Sands of Kuwait     
“) and popular (“Colonel Bogey on Parade“) compositions.   The pieces that employed the massed pipes and drums of the attending regiments were my favourites.  The scarlet tunics and the skirl of the pipes tends to call up visions of Balaklava in my mind—the “thin red streak tipped with a line of steel”.  I tend to get all misty-eyed over pipers belting out ancient regimental songs rather than say, “Amazing Grace”.

One slightly jarring note was the way the master of ceremonies, Mr. Henry Shannon (RCMI), repeatedly editorialised about peacekeeping versus peacemaking.  Readers of this blog will no doubt know that peacekeeping is the insertion of a neutral force between two (or more) willing countries at the invitation of at least one of their governments, whereas peacemaking is the insertion of combatant forces that aim to stop conflict (whether or not the other combatants happen to agree).  Bosnia and Kosovo, for instance, were peacemaking — not peacekeeping — missions.  This is all elementary stuff and I had a hard time fathoming why Mr. Shannon kept focusing on it.  Surely the people who attend a military tattoo have some knowledge of military missions and roles.  It is not as if the Hall were full of NDP delegates trying to shout down missions for Afghanistan but ratify those for Darfur.

That aside, the concert was a good one and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys martial music and the slowly fading warrior traditions of yesteryear.   And just because I can’t get it out of my head, may I present the

2. Post Horn Galop     
, written by Herman Koenig in 1844 and performed much more recently by the London Banqueting Ensembles.

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