Saturday, September 8, 2018

Fortissimo On The Hill

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.

30 comments:

  1. Great view of the Peace Tower and the surrounding buildings. Nice blue sky for the ceremony. What a wonderful event.

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  2. It certainly was a fabulous day for the envent, and the building is so majestic!

    Janis
    GDP

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  3. Love, love, looove the last three posts William.. there isn't anything as impressive as a beautifully executed parade, so smart!

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  4. Nice! Thanks for sharing this event with me. :-)

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  5. ...one of Ottawa's beautiful spots.

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  6. Very nice. That much music must have been uplifting.

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  7. That is one huge ceremony. I had no idea of how many military ceremonies happen in the capital.

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  8. @Nancy: it was a pleasant evening for the event.

    @Janis: it's a wonderful setting.

    @Grace: they do this well.

    @Francisco: thank you!

    @DJan: you're welcome.

    @Tom: it certainly is.

    @Maywyn: it was. It's more than an hour in terms of the ceremony length.

    @Red: we do have a lot going on. I missed an event down at the War Museum last weekend with military vehicles on maneuvering procedures which I'd have liked to see. And I think in a couple of weeks we have the Army Run here. Then there's the firefighters memorial ceremony tomorrow, which I'm planning on attending.

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  9. sorry ...i've not had wifi for over a week, glad 2 visit now. have a great weekend. ( :

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  10. I would have loved to hear the 1812 Overture in that setting.

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  11. Sounds like quite the event, William! I am not sure I'd want to live too close!

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  12. Looks like a wonderful event. I would enjoy the bands.

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  13. @Beth: ah, there you are!

    @Sharon: it's quite something to hear. It's a bit different, and shorter, from the traditional orchestral version.

    @Unknown: every once in awhile they do fire off cannons on the Hill for one event or another. In terms of living nearby, the closest residences are lofts on Sparks Street, a block south of the Hill.

    @Jennifer: it is quite an event to take in.

    @Lois: I certainly did.

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  14. And to a good night's well-deserved rest.

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  15. I do like marching bands. ---that's why I like parades. Bob was in band from grade school all through college. He liked marching too I guess.
    MB

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  16. It must have sounded wonderful!

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  17. I always love seeing the flags waving, always a beautiful sight as are the marching bands in their bright red coats. Very smart, very patriotic. I have always enjoyed a military band and I have not heard one play live the Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, which must have been brilliant. Lovely to see this through your photos, thank you!

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  18. The bands must have sounded incredible.

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  19. Band music must have been great and wonderful series of photos of the event ~

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores

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  20. Quite the historical building shot! and Marching Band music too!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores

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  21. @Revrunner: indeed.

    @MB: there's a lot of march music to this.

    @RedPat: it did.

    @Denise: I love the 1812 Overture, and you can always tell there are people in the crowd who haven't heard it before by how they react to the cannons.

    @Bill: they did indeed.

    @Carol: thank you!

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  22. Nice photo reportage of this wonderful show. For me the highlight is Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, great that it is played with real cannons and the bells of the Peace Tower.

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  23. A castle! Who builds castles anymore and how did they build them back then?

    Love the toy soldiers...:-)...who probably would not want to be called that!

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  24. I like to watch marching bands.

    I am so proud to be Canadian! : )

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  25. What a wonderful display it must have been exciting to watch:)

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  26. Always stirring, William! Thanks

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  27. Looks and sounds a wonderful event.

    All the best Jan

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  28. @Jan: it's great to see and hear in person.

    @Sandi: I doubt they would!

    @Catarina: so am I.

    @Rosie: it was.

    @Cloudia: you're welcome.

    @Jan: it is enjoyable.

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