New conductor for the Stadacona Band
By Virginia Beaton,
Many Change of Command ceremonies feature the Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy playing music, in a supporting role.
On Thursday August 2, the band took centre stage. Literally.
During a Change of Command ceremony held at the Piers Military Community Centre, LCdr Patrice Arsenault, outgoing Commanding Officer and Director of Music, relinquished command to Lt(N) Bradley Ritson, incoming CO and Director of Music.
After two very busy years as CO, LCdr Arsenault has been posted to CFB Borden as Officer Commanding Music Division, Canadian Forces Logistics Training Centre.
After taking the podium to conduct the band one last time, in a performance of an excerpt from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony # 3, LCdr Arsenault gave his farewell address.
“Military music is an important part of military capability,” he noted.
LCdr Arsenault praised the accomplishments of the band, noting that they play as many as 150 events each year. In addition the bandmembers have individual accomplishments, ranging from participating in smaller ensembles within the band, to composing and arranging music, to participation in military events such as PO2 Matt Reiner’s recent stint as 2IC with MARLANT’s Nijmegen marching contingent.
Referring to the bandmembers as “exceptional musicians”, LCdr Arsenault stated that it had been a privilege “to be the conductor of the Stadacona Band.” He thanked the band, the band Chief, and MARLANT Chief of Staff Capt(N) Guillaume Lafrance for supporting the band’s endeavours.
Capt(N) Lafrance, presiding officer for the occasion, also thanked the band for their role in presenting the Royal Canadian Navy to the Canadian public.
As musicians, “We are truly lucky to do what we do in service to our country, “ said incoming CO, Lt(N) Ritson. He thanked LCdr Arsenault for his successful role in directing the band during the past two years, and stated that he and his family look forward to their new posting in Halifax. Following his remarks, Lt(N) Ritson conducted the band in a march titled Sarafand.
Lt(N) Ritson joined the CAF Primary Reserves in 1995 as a musician with the Band of the Ceremonial Guard, and is a graduate of the University of Toronto. He joined the Regular Forces and was a member of the RCAF band in Winnipeg. During his posting there, he also worked as a music clinician and adjudicator and performed with the Winnipeg Symphony, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. In 2012, Lt(N) Ritson commissioned and in 2014 he became Director of Music for the Band of the Ceremonial Guard.