Military musicians in demand for 2017 celebrations

Article / October 12, 2016 / Project number: 16-0061

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By Steven Fouchard and Lynn Capuano, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario — Music plays a vital role in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and our musical men and women in uniform will be a big part of the celebration as Canadians prepare to mark several notable anniversaries in 2017.

In addition to being Canada’s 150th birthday, 2017 is also the 100th anniversaries of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele, and the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe raid.

The overall role of CAF’s Music Branch (CF Music Branch) is three-pronged. It sustains the morale component of fighting power while contributing to state ceremonial events, and is an effective tool for engaging with Canadians.

First, building and sustaining the morale component of fighting power refers, in part, to the visceral response music creates in CAF members when, for example, their regimental march is played.

State events such as Remembrance Day, Royal tours, and support to the Governor General or official commemorations serve as the second prong, while the ability of the musicians to open the doors of the military and engage with Canadians is the third.

The inherent flexibility of CAF musicians, many of whom play second and third instruments, allows them to shift from the parade square to Rideau Hall, to jazz or rock combos, or perform the other duties that go into running a band, such as finance, supply and copyright matters.

CAF Regular Force Bands

The CF Music Branch holds a two-phase audition process each year for its Regular Force bands. The first involves a blind panel assessment of applicants’ musical submissions through recordings. Successful applicants from the first phase are invited to a second live phase with one of the Regular Force bands of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Regular Force also hires skilled Musicians to fill vacancies and competitions are held periodically for available positions. Successful applicants have typically been experienced, professional musicians, many of them having a degree in Music Performance, Conservatory or University Certification, or equivalent professional musical experience.

Musicians must be multi-talented performers with experience in several musical styles, and must be able to adapt to all types of performance situations and to diverse audiences.

For more information about the application process or the audition procedure, visit 

Reserve Force Bands

Joining one of the Army Reserve’s bands is a way to translate part-time employment into a full-time job, while being paid and having time to study or work in a civilian capacity.

Musicians may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army or Royal Canadian Air Force and provide musical support for CAF events and operations. Musicians employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at a military base, wing, home port or ship located within Canada.

Band of the Ceremonial Guard

The Ceremonial Guard is a composite CAF unit of over 400 people that includes a Foot Guard company and the Band of the Ceremonial Guard. This year, the majority of the Guard is composed of Regular and Reserve Force Guard and includes soldiers from regiments across Canada and, for the first time, ceremonial members from Canada's Navy and Air Force. The Ceremonial Guard was established to plan, prepare, and execute public duties in the Nation's Capital during the summer.

In the National Capital Region, the application deadline for the CAF’s Band of the Ceremonial Guard is October 31st, 2016. Applicants can visit: for details.

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