The world is such a small place. I discovered recently that the son of one of our long time clients attended McGill University in the music program and he is now a member of our very esteemed Ceremonial Guard – the same that marches by our hotel each morning. His name is Dustin Finer and he has his own web-site: http://dustinfiner.com
Even more coincidental is that he is a good friend of the son of one of my best friends who lives in Kelowna who also attended McGill. I asked Dustin if he could talk about his experience here on our blog… and he was kind enough to say yes. Here is what he said.
AM: How did you find out about the Ceremonial Guard?
DF: When I was at McGill, a fellow saxophone player was part of the band and told me about it.
AM: How many years have you been participating
DF: This is my third year.
AM: What instrument(s) do you play
DF: With the Ceremonial Guard I play alto saxophone. In other settings I play other saxophones as well as flute and clarinet.
AM: What is your favourite part about being a part of the CG
DF: It’s great to be able to perform for a large audience every day.
AM: What is your least favourite part?
DF: We have a fairly demanding training phase at the beginning of the summer, but it’s worth it to put on a great show!
AM: What other obligations do you have apart from the ceremony each day.
DF: Occasionally we have rehearsals for other gigs.
AM: What is your favourite memory as a Guard
DF: Canada Day is always a highlight!
AM : How long can one participate ?
DF: As long as they are invited back! The Band Sergeant Major has been here for almost two decades.
AM: What will you take away long term about this experience…does it make you feel differently about Canadians /Canada/ Ottawa?
DF: I’ve gotten a lot of great playing experience. It was also how I became a part of the Canadian Armed Forces. I am now part of a military unit in Montreal whose band I play with during the rest of the year. It’s been great to get to know the city of Ottawa and I’m certainly more proud to be Canadian.
Thank you Dustin for sharing and for being a part of such a great tradition!! We love hearing the band each morning… means summer is here and I celebrate each and every summer day!
Putting on a festival is not an easy task…… it takes massive planning and an army of volunteers and some very savvy strategizing and marketing.
Ottawa’s Jazz Festival and Bluesfest are an incredible example of how to expertly put on an amazing show. Our Jazz Festival just ended with another amazing year. Bluesfest is about to open it’s gates (July 8th) and each year we are stunned with how smoothly this incredibly large and diverse festival goes. Mark Monahan and his ever faithful team works all year long to come up with an amazing line-up… not easy to get the likes of Van Morrison or Kanye West. They have the logistics down to a science, the food and beverages, a special lock up area for cyclists which helps alleviate traffic and being right near the transitway makes it so easy to leave your car at home. Years ago, Bluesfest was at our front door – outside City Hall, but they outgrew that quickly and it had to find a bigger home. We were so sad to have it leave, but hey, the bigger the better for all of Ottawa.
Festivals create a vibrancy for our city for those of us here and for those that visit. This hotel has always supported the festivals and the arts in our city. Because we are locally owned and operated, we like to support our community. Doing so enriches the culture here and creates excitement…. which we need. Good luck to Mark and his team and thank you!!