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RCAF Band rallies troops for final rehearsal ahead of tribute concert

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Band is honouring those who served through the power of music.

Preparations are underway for the “‘We Remember’ Concert: A Musical Tribute to our Heroes.”

The Tuesday night showcase features the city of Winnipeg’s three military bands – the RCAF, the Regimental Band of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, and the Royal Canadian Navy Band of HMCS Chippawa.

It will also include The Warriors – an Indigenous drum group with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.

Corporal Daniel Beck of The Warriors calls it a huge privilege for the drum group to be included in the Remembrance Day ceremony.

“Indigenous peoples have been involved in a lot of previous conflicts and have not really gotten a recognition,” Beck said. “So to be a part of these ceremonies and to bring our culture into it and intertwine it together is a very big honour for us.”

The group was started five years ago by Robert Falcon-Ouellette who felt there was a need for Indigenous cultural representation in the regiment.

While The Warriors have a core team of seven to eight members, its open door policy allows people to get involved with the group from outside the Royal Winnipeg Rifles’ unit.

“We have people that come just because they want to sing,” said Sergeant Chris Budlong. “In Indigenous culture there is this attitude that everyone’s welcome.”

Everyone is also welcome to attend the concert.

“It’s for the entire Winnipeg community,” said warrant officer Richard Monzon. “I think that a lot of people are looking for opportunities to commemorate and be a part of ceremonies other than just the Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 11.”

The showcase is part of Veterans’ Week and will take place on the eve of Indigenous Veterans’ Day.

“This week is extremely important to a lot of members of the military,” Budlong said. “And a lot of members of families that have military members that are serving.”

All of the proceeds from the performance will go towards the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund.

The ‘We Remember’ Concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7 at the Seven Oaks Performing Arts Centre. Tickets can be purchased online through Eventbrite.

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