If you like the idea of precision military bands, drill teams and pipers blending with dancers, gymnasts and contemporary musicians, the Okanagan Military Tattoo is your ticket to great summer entertainment.
“It’s really a big variety show now, but it’s steeped in military history,” says volunteer Derek Hall of the sixth annual event, happening July 27 and 28 at Kal Tire Place. “We try to keep that alive with the flag parties and this year’s Tribute to the Veterans, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.”
Tribute performers include the Regimental Band of the B.C. Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own), a unit that played a significant role in the 1944 invasion battle.
Here some other reasons to check out this year’s Tattoo:
- Youth plays a big part Cadets from across Western Canada comprise many of the more than 500 performers, including about 200 from the Vernon Cadet Training Centre Military Camp. Split into band and drill team units, they quickly gain precision, Hall says. “They haven’t met or worked together before, but after two weeks it’s amazing the show they put on. It’ll knock your socks off.”
- Renowned UK group will impress The highly touted 65-member Brentwood Imperial Youth Band from Essex, England is performing in the Tattoo on its first trip to Canada. The band has played numerous high-level ceremonial events in the UK and abroad and played alongside many professional military bands.
- Get ’em started early The junior high school-aged Calgary Round-Up Band is another collection of fine young performers that will have you looking into music for your children or grandchildren next fall.
- Pipes & Drums More than 80 pipers and drummers from around B.C. will perform together.
- Get those feet moving The Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastic Team, led by former Olympian Camille Martens, will perform an artistic and athletic routine, while the Okanagan Military Tattoo Dancers will add to the creative flair of the proceedings.
- Gettin’ it done in a jiffy Talk about your “wow” factor. The Jiffy Jeep team, representing the School of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Edmonton, will disassemble a working jeep on the floor of the arena, carry everything a few metres, then reassemble the jeep in minutes and drive it off the floor!
Take in the pre-show expo
Attendees are encouraged to come early, get a good parking spot and take in the Tattoo Exposition happening in Kal Tire Place North. The expo opens at 5 p.m. on the Saturday and noon on Sunday – two hours before each show.
To encourage families to attend, special family rates are available, as are individual discounts for seniors, students and veterans. Second World War and Korean veterans receive free admission except in Section J.