About a decade ago, Norm Crerar had the opportunity to play bagpipes with the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band at a CFL game, entertaining the crowd with a Remembrance Day performance featuring hundreds of pipers. He turned to his friend in the middle of the high-powered performance and said, “This must be what it feels like to be in a tattoo.”
Crerar started working with a small team of military historians and musicians, and before long they had organized the first annual Okanagan Military Tattoo, a heart stirring musical extravaganza featuring pipers, drummers, musicians, military bands, marching troops, multicultural dancers, First Nations, and singers of all ages. In 2014, Crerar finally got his chance to experience a tattoo in person, and it’s continued every year since.
Now, after two years of anticipation, the Okanagan Military Tattoo is back, live, in-person at Kal Tire Place! Tickets are on sale now, for performances on Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24.
Crews work night and day to set up the extravagant castle façade, thousands of lights and other equipment, before bands from throughout the Okanagan, across Canada and around the world take to the floor to rehearse. Crerar is already fine-tuning the script which includes the perfect mix of spectacle, comedy and heartfelt tributes.
This year’s Tribute to Veterans follows the theme Operation Perseverance, and includes a commemoration of veteran Queen Elizabeth II, who served in the Second World War. Author and filmmaker Steven Purewal returns with more stories from the British Indian Army, which made essential contributions in both the First and Second World War.
“If the British Indian Army hadn’t showed up in the First World War, we would have lost,” Crerar says. “They lost more soldiers than any other army in the Commonwealth.”
The crisp white uniforms and precise melodies of the NADEN Band of the Royal Canadian Navy will sparkle under the stage lights, and at the other end of the musical spectrum, the Langley Ukulele Ensemble is making their first visit. These talented high school students have performed at the prestigious Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, and are excited to be part of the Okanagan Military Tattoo 2022 in Vernon. Bands perform separately, and also join together on the floor for memorable moments at full volume.
“When you get all those pipes and drums marching out on the floor together, it’s absolutely spectacular,” Crerar says.
Free youth entry with every adult ticket
New this year, any adult buying a full price ticket can bring a youth 18-and-under for free!
- Where: Kal Tire Place, 3445 43rd Ave., Vernon
- When: Saturday, July 23 at 7 p.m., or Sunday, July 24 at 2 p.m.
- Tickets: Call 250-549-SHOW (7469) or visit okanagantattoo.ca
Follow the Okanagan Military Tattoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates!
massed pipes and drums – all the pipe bands in the interior bc, plus
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