Central Band performs in Latvia
The Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF Central Band) performed with the Central Military Band of the Latvian National Armed Forces and the Latvian National Guard Orchestra in the Latvian Song and Dance Celebration in Riga, Latvia, between June 30 and July 8, 2018.
This celebration is an important Latvian cultural event, occurring every five years, featuring a variety of orchestras, choirs, and dancers. In addition to playing during the celebration, the CAF Central Band performed at a number of other venues around Latvia.
For pianist Sergeant Natalia Lerner, the trip to Latvia had special meaning. Born in Russia to Latvian parents, she spent her formative years living in Riga before moving to Canada, where she studied music and later joined the CAF. Having a Latvian speaker in the band provided an instant connection with their audiences, and allowed an ease of communication that would have been otherwise impossible. A number of local and national news outlets spoke with Sgt Lerner, and she was part of a Central Band ensemble that performed on a morning television show with members from the Latvian National Guard Orchestra.
The Central Band also performed during the change of command ceremony for the Canadian-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia on July 12, 2018. Lieutenant-Colonel Sean French transferred command to Lieutenant-Colonel Steve MacBeth at Camp Ādaži. The band proudly led the marching troops around the parade square. The ceremony also commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Battle Group’s presence in Latvia.
“Canada and Latvia have a close relationship and share many commonalties, including a love of music. It was a truly unique experience to perform among so many talented musicians, singers, and dancers,” said Captain John Fullerton, Commanding Officer of the CAF Central Band.
Canada is leading a robust multinational NATO battle group in Latvia as part of Operation REASSURANCE, Canada’s contribution to NATO deterrence and defence measures in the eastern part of the Alliance.
The CAF Central Band is the senior-most band in the CAF, and is one of six full-time Regular Force military bands. The band typically provides professional music support for a large number of CAF, DND, and Government of Canada events throughout Canada’s National Capital Region.
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