Fortissimo is an annual event on Parliament Hill, held on a weekend in July. It is a military ceremony bringing together marching bands from across the country, as well as one or two foreign units. The beat retreat ceremony, as it is called, dates back to the days of walled cities when gates would be closed up at sundown and guards would be dispatched for the evening. The Ceremonial Guard is involved each year, along with other units. This year an American unit took part, hence the Stars and Stripes alongside our own flag on the front lawn below the Peace Tower. I photographed as the ceremony went along, and did some videos, which you'll find in links below.
The bands play individually and as a whole throughout the performance, which is timed to end with the setting of the sun.
The American group participating was the United States Army Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps, in uniforms dating to the Revolution period. Check out my video clip of them.
The centrepiece of the event is a brass and drums rendition of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, accompanied by cannons and the bells of the Peace Tower. A group of reservists based out of Hamilton, Ontario, took part as well, firing their muskets during the performance. I did a video of the Overture here.
Finally after the anthems (click here for that) have been played and the Canadian flag lowered, the bands march off from the lawn one by one.