With their scarlet tunics and bearskin headdress, The Ceremonial Guard of the Canadian Armed Forces, The Band of the Ceremonial Guard and its Pipes and Drums are the most recognizable military unit in Canada. For over 50 years the Changing of the Guard has been a top Ottawa summer attraction, having thrilled thousands of visitors on Parliament Hill. They proudly provide sentries at the National War Memorial and Rideau Hall, the official residence of David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada.
This year Chilliwack resident Private Aaron Eggen has the opportunity to spend his summer as part of this tradition. Aaron is a military musician who is new to the Canadian Armed Forces having joined just three months ago. He says, “It has always been a career goal of mine to be a musician in the military” Looking forward to this summer he adds, “It is a fantastic chance to meet new people with the same love of music that I have.”
Three weeks of intensive drill training, mastering precision movements while playing his instrument, maintaining a high standard of dress and deportment, and undergoing extensive physical fitness training are all part of the preparation process. Fitted and tailored in the scarlet tunic and bearskin hat he stands tall with other members of this prestigious band.
During the summer, Aaron will also perform in Ceremonial Guard appearances around Eastern Ontario, and as well as the culmination event known as Fortissimo. Fortissimo is a military and musical spectacular event that takes place in late July on the lawns of Parliament Hill. It features massed military bands, pipes and drums, musical guests and the soldiers of the Ceremonial Guard. It will take place on the 23-25 of July. So when the band leads the scarlet tunics through the nation’s capital remember there is a Chilliwack connection.