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The Family Tree - June/July 2003
Nova Scotia International Tattoo

Silver Jubilee to be a golden celebration

Though the 2003 Tattoo (June 29 - May 7) will celebrate its Silver Jubilee, the show is turning out to be golden. Producer/Director Ian Fraser has gathered some of the best acts from across Canada and around the world to participate in this special 25th milestone production.

As in previous years, the show promises to deliver world-class musicians, massed bands, pipers and drummers, acrobats, dancers and specialty performers from the civilian and military communities at home and abroad. It is this unique association between the military and the civilian communities that signifies the recurring Tattoo theme "bond of friendship."

Making their first appearance at The Nova Scotia International Tattoo, and their first appearance anywhere in North America, is the Russian Cossack State Dance Company of Moscow. The dance company is considered to be one of the best in the world, said The Scotsman, "forget Riverdance. This is group dance at its best and most entertaining."

Halifax will also welcome the Marinemusikkorps Nordsee Band from the City of Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Their melodious music is traditional, but modern and dynamic, like the Navy and city they represent.

The Fanfarekorps Koninklijke Landmacht Band from The Netherlands will perform in Halifax for their first time in 2003. The Fanfare band provides musical accompaniment to ceremonial functions and formal occasions, including the annual opening of Parliament on Prinsjesdag, swearing-in and commemoration ceremonies in their native country.

Many returning acts selected for this year’s Silver Jubilee were a result of audience requests. Several of those requests were for the Band of 51 Scottish Brigade, who entertained audiences back in 2001. However, this year they will be joined by the Pipes & Drums of 51st Highland Regiment, resulting in a large contingent from the United Kingdom. Keeping within the Commonwealth, members of the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band will also perform at this year’s show, as part of the Massed Pipes and Drums.

And it could not be an anniversary show without including The Flying Grandpas of the Hamburg Police Force. They have thrilled audiences with their comedic trampoline routines and almost deserve honourary Canadian citizenship with the number of requests for their return.

Joining the Flying Grandpas on the acrobatic end are the D’Holmikers and the Gymnastics Club of Mels Synchronized Parallel Bar Team from Switzerland. The nationally ranked synchronized parallel bar team will amaze with their skill, precision and impeccable form, while the D’Holmikers will amuse and impress with their popular Horrowshow routine.

In an encore performance, Club Piruett, world leaders in aesthetic group gymnastics, will captivate with their incredible flexibility and grace. This will be the Estonian group’s fourth appearance at The Nova Scotia International Tattoo.

The Pipes and Drums of The 2nd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment, and The Fraser Holmes Memorial Ladies Pipe Band will join The Nova Scotia International Tattoo/Black Watch Association Pipes and Drums, The Bermuda Islands Pipe Band and The Pipes and Drums of 51st Highland Regiment to complete the Massed Pipes and Drums.

Canadian military bands include the Stadacona Band of Maritime Forces Atlantic, Land Force Atlantic Area Band and The Ceremonial Guard Band of the Canadian Forces. This year the Tattoo will recognize the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Engineers with a special historical tribute.

The Amethyst Scottish Dancers, Atlantica Gym Team, Tattoo Junior Dancers, Tattoo Choir and Children’s Chorus are just a few of the Canadian acts that will grace the floor and stage with home-grown talent. Of course other Canadian crowd favourites will be present including the RCMP and vocal soloists Joe Donahue and Brenna Conrad.

This is only a glimpse of the roster for 2003. Negotiations and planning are still underway with several other international groups. "Of course there will always be a few surprises," remarked Producer/Director Ian Fraser. "We plan to celebrate the Silver Jubilee in true Tattoo style – BIG!"

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