FORT LESLEY J. MCNAIR, D.C. -- Soldiers with the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), Fife and Drum Corps (FDC) and U.S. Army Continental Color Guard returned July 22, after performing at the Fortissimo Tattoo 2018 in Ottawa, Canada, July 19-21.
"This is an event that takes place annually in Ottawa," said Staff Sgt. Joie Byrd, a fife instrumentalist with corps. "Each year different groups are invited to preform, and this year The Old Guard was invited."
Fortissimo is a three night military spectacular which has drawn thousands of spectators since it began in 1997. In addition to the corps, the event featured performances from Canadian's Massed Pipes and Drums and the Ceremonial Guard.
FDC last preformed at Fortissimo in 2012, said Byrd.
Massed Pipes and Drums of Canada, established in 1974, is a band of pipers and drummers who travel around the world representing the Royal Canadian Legion, Ontario and Canada.
The Ceremonial Guard, established by the Canadian Army, is responsible for planning, preparing and executing public duties in the Canadian capital. Each guardsman, musician and member of the support staff is a trained regular or reserve member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
After arriving in Ottawa, the musicians began a series of rehearsals with the other performers.
"We preformed our 22 person show at Fortissimo," said Staff Sgt. Shane Nickels, a snare drum musician with the corps. "It was really easy working with the other performers. They ran very effective rehearsals and we were able to knock everything out quickly."
In addition to preforming in Fortissimo 2018, the Soldiers also participated in the Changing of the Guard.
"The most memorable part of the trip for me was participating in the Changing of the Guard at Parliament," Byrd said. "It was great to be able to participate in and render honors."
Changing the Guard takes place every morning from June through August, and provides a colourful spectacle ceremony, pageantry and music. During the ceremony, soldiers guarding a major government building or state residence, such as Buckingham Place in England, are replaced by a new shift.
The opportunity to perform at Fortissimo was appreciated by Byrd and Nickels.
"I think international trips are always unique," Nickels said. "This experience reaffirmed to me how music can be a tool to connect people."
"It was really great being able to interact with people from dozens of different countries," Byrd said. "Part of our mission is outreach, we are responsible for bridging the gap between Soldiers and civilians. We show the public that we are Soldiers, but also musicians, artists, mothers, fathers and children. That's why events like this are important."