Author Archives: Norm

About Norm

Author, Piper, Event Organizer

Grand Forks, good news and sad news

The Spring fling is a pipe band competition held each year somewhere in the BC Interior.  This past May 4 and 5, we were in Grand Forks.  At that time the town was high and dry, nine pipe bands paraded down a couple of blocks, were judged on marching and dress and deportment, judged on piping and music skills in a park and then were further judged on a skit and dance competition where all band members had to participate.  The Kalamalka Highlanders from Vernon walked off with the best over-all band for the second year in a row.  The Kal Pipe Band as well as the pipe bands from Kamloops, Kelowna, Shuswap and Kimberly all did well in different parts of the Fling and will be performing at the Tattoo 2018.  Joining them will be individual pipers and drummers from most of the other bands as well as other bands from Western Canada and possibly the USA.  All in all, there will be 80-90 pipes and drums on the floor for the massed pipe band parts of the show.

Our thoughts are with the Grand Forks folks as a few days after we were there, the rivers overflowed and the town faced a massive flood.

Tattoo pipe bands top of the heap!

Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band win trophy at Spring Fling 2018. See you at the Okanagan Tattoo 2018

For the 2nd straight year, top honours go to the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band at the Spring Fling 2018. (photo: Tom Skinner)

The “Spring Fling” is an annual interior BC pipe band competition that includes a parade, Dress and Deportment grading, a very difficult piping and drumming component and a skit and dance fun bit to round out the day.  The Spring Fling 2018 was held this past Saturday in Grand Forks, BC and nine pipe bands attended and competed.  Top honours went to the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band for the second straight year.  Pipe bands attending the 2018 Tattoo were all at the competition and all took placings in some of the categories; Kamloops, Shuswap, Kelowna, Kimberly, Summerland, Nelson, Vernon (KHPB).  To place in any part of this competition, a band has to be in or near top form.  All are gearing up to be in top form come Tattoo time July 28 and 29!

People you will meet

Some members of the Tattoo Organizing Committee made the trip to Olympia, WA recently to take in  the International Military Band Concert.  While there, we had time to meet with some of the officers of the 133rd WA National Guard Band that will be attending our Tattoo July 28 and 29.  MSgt Heather Collette is a Flutist with the band and is also the Band Manager. Sgt Little is a trumpet player but will have the extra task of organizing the combined marchong efforts of the 133rd and the Canadian Military Band of the 15th Field Artillery Regimanet.  MSgt Ayn Balback is the Drum Major but also a percussionist with the internal Dixieland Band group.  Handy to have them all along for the ride!!!!

British Columbia Dragoons at Tattoo

Kalamalka Highlanders at BCD facility

Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band practice at a BCD facility with the new TAP-V vehicles in the background.

The British Columbia Dragoons (BCD) are the Primary Reserve Militia headquartered in the Okanagan Valley.  They are an Armed  Reconnaissance unit that just took delivery of a new vehicle, the TAP-V (Tactical Armoured Patrol-Vehicle).  In fact, they are in posession of eight of these vehicles for a short time as many of them belong to other units in BC.

The Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band has been in existance for over 30 years, is the largest and most active pipe band in the Interior of BC and is located in Vernon.  The KHPB is the Associate Pipe Band of the BCD and play a supporting role when required.  Both the KHPB and the BCD will be performing in the Tattoo this summer.  The RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major) will take charge of the Flag and Color Parties and there will be a TAP-V on display outside of Kal Tire Place.  The KHPB is the local host pipe band and will be part of the massed pipe bands.

OMT 2018 International

Okanagan Military Tattoo Organizing Committee in Olympia, Washington, attend an International Military Band Concert

Okanagan Military Tattoo Organizing Committee, Warren Burgess and Norm
Crerar, in Olympia, Washington, attending an International Military Band Concert

The Okanagan Military Tattoo 2018 will truly be a National and International event and we couldn’t be happier.  Recently some of our Organizing Committee were in Olympia, Washington, to attend an International Military Band Concert.  There were musicians performing from five US Military Bands and two Canadian Military Bands.  As mentioned in an earlier post, the 133rd Washington National Guard Band and the Canadian Band of the 15th Field Regiment will be performing at our Tattoo in July.  Shalni Prowse, the OMT Dance Director, reports that her call for dancers has 48 applicants for 24 spots with dancers applying from England and Scotland.  Scot Kortegaard, OMT Pipe Major, also reports that his call for bands and individual pipers and drummers has positive responses from Westerrn Canada as well as the Northwest USA.  Stay tuned as the next BLOG Post will have news on specific performers!

The 49th Parallel

The 49th Parallel is the longest undefended border in the world, the border between Canada and the United States of America.  We are each other’s biggest trading partners and send more tourists to each other’s countries than to anywhere else in the world.  There is a strong bond between the Washington State National Guard and the Canadian Military Reserves of British Columbia.  The Okanagan Military Tattoo 2018 will further cement that relationship as we  welcome the 133rd Washington State National Guard Band and the Band of the 15th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, to our 2018 Tattoo.  Each band will perform separately and then join together “on the 49th Parallel” for a joint performance.  We on the Tattoo organizing committee will have a chance to see these and other bands of the Pacific Northwest in a concert in Olympia, Washington, Saturday, April 7th.  The concert, free to the public, is the International Military Music Concert.  Time: 7 PM at the Washington Performing Arts Center, Olympia, WA.  If you are in the area, as mentioned, the concert is free to the public.

The TATTOO Platform

The Okanagan Military Tattoo is the only show of its kind in western Canada.  We are so very proud to be able to have put this Tattoo on over the past four years and now we are going into our fifth year.  The Tattoo provides such a huge platform for the performing groups and individuals, something that would be hard to replicate.  The  “stage” is 85′ wide and almost 200′ long with a theatre lighting system second to none.  Having over 5,000 people in attendance over the two days of the event, not many performers ever get to perform to such a large audience with the seating arrangement placing the public right on top of them.  The Tribute to the Veterans is an annual and very important part of our show.  Each year we choose a theme to bring the memories of the past conflicts alive and in front of the public.  This year the Salvation Army Band from the Pacific Region willl anchor the 2018 Tribute to the Veterans as it peforms and brings to life the part the Salvation Army played in the world conflicts in general and WW l in particular.  2018 is the 100th anniversay of the end of that “War to End All Wars”.

We will highlight other performers as we publish these weekly BLOGS.

Four Months to Go!

Just four months to the 2018 Tattoo and we are looking good.  The first production meetings have come and gone, 99% of the performers and performing groups have committed and the show flow is being worked on.  Watch this space for weekly updates.

Military Band signs on!!

Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Brayden Wise

The Okanagan Military Tattoo has just received confirmation that the NADEN Navy Band will be performing at the 2017 Tattoo.  This is one of the oldest military bands in Canada and is stationed on our west coast at Esquimalt.

Here is a link to the band’s web site. http://en.nadenband.ca

On the web site, check out the Band Personnel and then click on Band Chief.  You will find the story of CPO Brayden Wise who started his music career here in Vernon.

We are very much looking forward to seeing and hearing Brayden and the NADEN Navy Band in action!


Tickets to the Okanagan Military Tattoo 2017 are on sale now at the Ticket Seller located at the

Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre
or online at: www.ticketseller.ca/969

Show dates:
Saturday, July 29, 2017 – 7:00
Sunday, July 30, 2017 – 2:00

Anniversaries galore!

Canada 150; Vernon 125; Battle of Vimy 100, Vernon Air Cadets Red Lion Squadron 75 and the Okanagan Military Tattoo Big Number 4!!!  Lots of anniversaries and lots to celebrate.  As our program develops for the Tattoo 2017, we will pay homage to all of the above.  Now, drum roll please–The Okanagan Military Tattoo was nominated in the tourism category of the Vernon Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence awards.  It was announced at a C of C luncheon last week that we have made it to the final three and the winner will be announced March 10.