Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Book of Mormon; Fortissimo; Parliament Hill

Yes, musician friends will know that this is a musical term (ff) applied to this 18th annual Ottawa event.  We were having dinner downtown when we heard bagpipes playing. It was a mother/daughter date! The sound of bagpipes isn't totally unusual in Ottawa, but surprising to at 7 p.m. and we went to investigate!
selfie at the Darcy McGee pub!
 We were on our way to see The Book of Mormon. I'd seen snippets of it on TV and thought it might be fun to see. It was totally coarse and vulgar, I had been warned, but it was funny and the music, actors and musicians were fabulous.

We have been desensitized to the f-bomb, with shows like this and the South Park movie. I suggested to my students, when we were studying K'Naan, and his music and lyrics in our Language Arts class, that those who have lived through coups and lived in poverty in war-torn countries, have a right to use such strong language!

I've taught kids who fled war, running to the hills amongst gunfire (they were Vietnamese Boat People). I also taught kids who were civilian victims of the Gulf War, fleeing to the safety of Canada. Some of my students have come from Arabic nations, as well.
Nothing says summer like eating outdoors!

Not great photos with the videocam,
but easier to take selfies
than with my camera!

Me an' my girl!

But, back to Parliament hill...

It turned out that we were watching the bagpipes warm up for Fortissimo, and we walked over to take a look. We had time between dinner, and our show.
War Memorial

Chateau Laurier

I loved being downtown, with the hustle and bustle of the city. All the cool people were there. I enjoyed seeing people dressed up, too. There is much casual about Ottawans clothing. We were nicely dressed, Caitlin hadn't changed from her work clothes, as were many in the NAC!


Fortissimo is a military and musical spectacular created for the lawns of Parliament Hill featuring massed military bands, pipes and drums, guest performers and the soldiers of the Ceremonial Guard. It is a showcase event in the Nation's Capital that has drawn thousands of spectators since it began in 1997. 

 It was stirring. My brother was part of an Air Cadet band, as was my son-in-law. What they have done is amalgamated two regular sundown events into a three-day evening show.

1. Retreat - when the soldiers would retreat into their fortified camps, lock the gates and lower the flag.
2. Tattoo - at or near dusk, when night watch began. They checked sentries, first post and last posts, drums beat a warning to return to barracks, bands played familiar tunes, a hymn and the national anthem.

The word tattoo is said to have been derived from the Dutch "die den tap toe" which is translated to 'turn off the taps.' They think the name arose from 17th and 18th centuries, when a drummer was detailed to beat an order to the innkeepers to stop serving ale, and parade for a final muster before returning to quarters. In the light of recent news items, with navy personnel being brought back to Canada, it might be a good idea to recall the tradition. Navy Ship Recalled to Canada.


Joe Todd said...

I hope to get to Ottawa some day. If all goes according to plan wife and I will be at Harris Lake north of Parry Sound in early fall.. Keep on posting

William Kendall said...

I missed it this time out, just couldn't get up there, but I've seen it several times. The centerpiece each year is a brass band rendition of the 1812 Overture, complete with cannon and the bells of the Peace Tower.

Red said...

Official performances always give my a sense pride.

Christine said...

glad to see you enjoying some family time with your daughter!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Excellent - two shows for the price of one! The sound of bagpipes in the evening is no bad thing... YAM xx