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Queen's Own Buglars
By By Louis Tam, Toronto Observer 3 March 2007
Sgt. Omair Khan of the 2881 Scarborough Rifles Cadets Corps, poses next to a poster at Mowat Collegiate Institute.
Photo by Louis Tam
Queen's own buglers
Local cadet corps adds music to its rank and file
Calvin Facey’s looking for a few good buglers. A few good drummers couldn’t hurt either.
That’s because Facey, the commanding officer of the 2881 Scarborough Rifles Cadet Corps, oversaw the first meeting of his unit’s drum and bugle band in his unit on Jan. 11. The unit, which parades Tuesday evenings at Mowat Collegiate Institute, is diversifying their curriculum by adding 30 new bugles.
“Not everyone is up for rolling around in mud, going on the long marches and the drilling and the shooting,” said Facey. “Not everyone has the stomach for that.”
Discipline, citizenship, and physical fitness are amongst the qualities that Facey said his unit attempts to instill in youth. He hopes that by adding musical training, enrollment will increase.
“We want to be a well rounded unit,” said Facey. “When someone came in (before) who wants to learn an instrument, we couldn’t do anything about it except make a referral (to other cadet units with a band).”
Sgt. Omair Khan, 18, is one of 15 cadets who are taking advantage of the new musical opportunities by volunteering as a bugler. Khan has played a variety of instruments, including steel pan drums and the trombone, and is currently in his last year with the Scarborough Rifles.
“I just want to be a part of it, because it’s the first time we’re doing it,” said Khan. “It’ll be a fun thing to do. I want enjoy cadets as much as possible before I retire.”
Building the band
The band will be instructed by musician Gary Gomez and Capt. Rita Arendz, the director of music with the Queen’s Own Rifles, a military regiment to whom the Scarborough Rifles are affiliated.
The band will begin playing this week.
Money for the single-valve bugles was provided by Honorary Colonel Paul Hughes of The Queen’s Own Rifles. Drums will be borrowed from other elements within the cadets organization.
The Cadets program itself is oriented towards youth age 12-18. Although cadets often work with military staff, the Cadet’s web site states the cadets themselves are not members of the military, and are not obligated to join.
Building young minds
Peter Tombler, a music teacher at Mowat Collegiate, noted the importance of music on young minds, calling it a “nurturing of the soul” that emphasizes teamwork.
“You spend a bit of time working on something, then all of a sudden you’re sitting with a hundred other people in a band,” said Tombler. “You’re playing your part. There’s a real sense of accomplishment.”
While other cadet units also offer musical training, the Scarborough Rifles will have the only ensemble consisting solely of bugles and drums in the Scarborough region.
Facey wants his band to become involved in local community activities, including veteran’s parades and performances in local churches or schools.
“We hope to become a very, very well recognized part of the community.” Facey said.