New Coast Guard march

CCG Commissioner Jeffrey Hutchinson, left, and PO2 Matt Reiner of the Stadacona Band, show off the framed sheet music for The Ol’ White Stripe, the new Official Coast Guard march.
Photo: Melanie Rebane Photography

Stadacona Band member pens new Canadian Coast Guard march

By Ryan Melanson,
Trident Staff

A new march that will be played nationwide at Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) graduation ceremonies, mess dinners and other formal occasions was written and composed by a member of the Stadacona Band, and recorded in Halifax at the band’s Windsor Park studio.

PO2 Matt Reiner, a saxophonist with five years of experience with the band, created the original piece of music, titled The Ol’ White Stripe, referring to the forward-tilted white stripe visible on the hull of each Coast Guard ship. He said CCG Director General Greg Lick reached out to the Stadacona Band earlier this year with the goal of creating an official march for the organization, and felt the CAF’s Navy band on the East Coast was the most appropriate group to help bring his idea to life.

“Of course, that’s not something that’s in our regular job description; we’re hired to play music, not to compose it. So we were asked for volunteers to write a march and a few of us took a shot at it.”

The band made rough recording of a few different options and sent them off to Ottawa, where PO2 Reiner’s march was eventually chosen. He attended the Canada 150 Maritime Ball in Gatineau this past June, a joint RCN/CCG event, where he was able to present the framed sheet music to CCG Commissioner Jeffrey Hutchinson, meet others involved in the project, and hear the march played over the loudspeakers for a full room of Navy and Coast Guard representatives for the first time.

“It was a wonderful, unique opportunity for me to get to do something like this. We were all happy to help make it happen.” PO2 Reiner said.

While the band can be credited with the official recording of the new march, performing at Coast Guard events isn’t a common task for the Navy musicians. For now, it will likely be up to others to perform the march when it’s required, but that doesn’t mean the Stad band won’t ever have the chance to play for the CCG and perform PO2 Reiner’s piece.

“There’s a developing association between the Navy and the Coast Guard that keeps getting stronger, so it’s very possible it could come up in the future,” he said.