Five members of the P.E.I. Regimental Band are currently in Ottawa with the band of the Ceremonial Guard, performing during the daily changing of the guard on Parliament Hill, as well as for other ceremonies and for national and international dignitaries.
Members of the Band of the Ceremonial Guard go through two stages of auditions before being selected.
This year the P.E.I. Regiment has a record-setting number of members in the band and the most members from any province per capita.
The five men are MCpl Devon Loney, MCpl Michael Gallant, Cpl Daniel MacDonald, Pte Ryan Drew, and Pte Aaron Ellis.
Here are writeups provided by the men about the opportunity to play with the Band of the Ceremonial Guard, in their own words:
1. Master Corporal (MCpl) Devon Loney
My name is MCpl Devon Loney from the Prince Edward Island Regiment. I am a percussion player part of the Band of the Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa this summer. This is my first summer being a member of CG, but it has been a great experience. My job is to perform marches to and from Parliament Hill for the changing of the Guard, as well as performing for guards of honour parades some this summer includes: Prince Charles, Australian Generals and the German Ambassador. Aside from the music portion, I am also the 1 section IC (In Command) and group B 2IC (2nd in command). This means that it's my responsibility to teach and enforce the high quality and standards of drill and dress and deportment that CG is known for. CG has been a terrific place for me to learn and grow professionally as a musician and also as a leader. CG is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Ottawa, and seeing the positive reaction from everyone around you instils a sense of pride for not only yourself, but of Canada.
2. Private (Pte) Ryan Drew
Returning to the Ceremonial Guard for my second summer, I take great pride in performing public duties on Parliament Hill, as well as our various other engagements while on the tasking. Summers with the Guard are challenging, yet very rewarding. As a music student at the University of Prince Edward Island, the Guard provides excellent opportunities to perform in ensemble settings, and further develop individual musicianship. Additionally, my time with the Ceremonial Guard has allowed for career progression through integrated military courses, which focus specifically on training as a soldier
3. Master Corporal (MCpl) Michael Gallant
I currently am employed with the Ceremonial guard as a section percussionist. In
my 3rd year with the guard my main role is as a section commander. This role requires me to be a direct supervisor to 8-10 troops. Its a huge honour to represent PEI on such a large stage in such a unique job. This job really is the best thing going for young
up and coming musicians getting a chance to play with a high calibre ensemble in front of thousands of people everyday.
4. Corporal (Cpl) Daniel MacDonald
I am Daniel MacDonald, a recent graduate of the Music program at UPEI, and 5 year
member of the Prince Edward Island Regiment. Being a part of the Ceremonial Guard means I get to join close to 100 other musicians that were hand-picked to perform the changing of the guard on Parliament Hill. We take pride in our music-making as well as our
uniforms each time we put them on to march in the Capitol. In addition to playing on Parliament Hill, we perform for various local and international dignitaries. For example, this summer we played for His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston the
Governor General of Canada, as well as Prince Charles, the President of Italy, and the Australian Chief of Army to name a few.
I feel a deep sense of national pride when I wear the uniform, and am thrilled to carry on the long military tradition of the changing of the guard on the grounds of Parliament
5. Private (Pte) Aaron Ellis
A typical day consists of first waking up for an early morning rehearsal. After the rehearsal we then get changed into our ceremonial uniform and go out for an inspection. Once that is completed we then leave to start our changing of the guard parade and that completes our mornings. Afternoons can change but normally we are rehearsing new music for any upcoming concerts we may have in the area. It’s a great experience to get to play with some of the most talented young musicians in the country and to hopefully bring knowledge back to help enhance other musical endeavours I may be apart of in PEI. On top of this it has been an honour to stand on the hill each morning and play music as a member of the Canadian armed forces.