La Musique du Royal 22e Regiment (Royal 22nd Regiment Band) | The Canadian Encyclopedia


La Musique du Royal 22e Regiment (Royal 22nd Regiment Band)

La Musique du Royal 22e Régiment. The regimental band of the Royal 22e Régiment. Originally named the Royal 22nd Regiment by King George V, the infantry unit was renamed in 1928 as the Royal 22e Régiment to reflect the language and culture of the unit.

La Musique du Royal 22e Regiment (Royal 22nd Regiment Band)

La Musique du Royal 22e Régiment. The regimental band of the Royal 22e Régiment. Originally named the Royal 22nd Regiment by King George V, the infantry unit was renamed in 1928 as the Royal 22e Régiment to reflect the language and culture of the unit. The regiment is also known as the "Van Doos" after their French battalion number (vingt-deuxième). The regimental band was formed in Québec City in 1922 from the 20 members of the former Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery Band with the same director, Capt Charles O'Neill. The new ensemble acquired the instruments and music library of the earlier band. In 1923 the band began performing on Dufferin Terrace, Québec City, at the Orpheum Theatre, and on radio station CKAC in Montreal. The ensemble also played in 1927 and 1930 at the CNE, Toronto, in 1931 on the CPR radio station's L'Heure musicale, and later on the CRBC via the Québec City station CHRC.

During World War II the ensemble gave concerts primarily to encourage recruitment. During the Korean conflict 1950-3 the band played in Japan and Korea in 1952 and received medals from South Korea and the United Nations. The next year it went to Great Britain for the coronation of Elizabeth II and to Germany for the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh, and performed on the BBC. Twelve of the bandsmen played in England in 1937 at the coronation of George VI. Accompanied by such artists as the vocal quartet of the Collégiens troubadours, Pierre Boutet, and Claire, Ève, and Gérald Gagnier, it performed "artistic military gala" tours in Québec in 1954, 1955, and 1956. Another tour, entitled "The Army on Parade," was undertaken in 1955 and 1956 in Québec and New Brunswick.

The band was heard 1959-65 on the weekly program Je me souviens on radio station CHRC. The traditional Concert sous les étoiles/Concert Under the Stars at the Citadel in Québec City began in 1961 and remains popular. The band participated in the launching ceremonies of the Telstar and Early Bird satellites in 1962 and 1965 respectively. It gave its first concert in the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of the Place des Arts in 1963, and has returned there annually. It performed in 1964 at the formation of the Québec chapter of the Canadian Bandmasters' Association.

After a series of concerts in Québec and Ontario schools in 1966, the Royal Van Doos made its contribution to the 1967 centennial celebrations: 5 concerts in New York during Canada Week, followed by others at the National Trade Fair in Vancouver and Victoria, at the Capitol Theatre in Québec City, and at Expo 67. In addition, 10 of its members participated in the military tattoo presented across Canada. The band gave concerts in France and Germany in 1969 and performed in the opening festival of the Grand Théâtre in Québec City in 1971. Its 50th anniversary was celebrated in 1972 with tours in Germany and Cyprus; it returned to Cyprus the following year. A 1975 European tour of Germany, Belgium, and Holland included the International Festival of Military Bands in Limoges, France. The band played at the 1976 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and at the convention of the France-Canada Association on the Côte d'Azur in 1977.

From 1978 to 1981, La Musique du Royal 22e Régiment made several tours giving educational and public concerts in Québec, New Brunswick, and in Cyprus, and was present in Holland at the 35th anniversary celebrations of the liberation of the Netherlands. In 1982 it participated in the ceremonies commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Dieppe landing in France. The following year, it was present at the 350th anniversary of Québec City and welcomed Princess Beatrice of the Netherlands to Canada. In 1984 it participated in the bicentenary celebrations of New Brunswick, performing an eight-concert tour. That year, the musicians also participated in the festivities of the 450th anniversary of Jacques Cartier's arrival in Québec, and welcomed Pope John Paul II during his visit. In 1985, the band was present at the 75th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Navy during the visit of its military tattoo in Québec City, followed by another European tour. In 1987, it welcomed Queen Elizabeth II to Québec City and during the next two years the band toured, mostly in Québec. As part of the 75th anniversary of the Royal 22e Régiment in 1989, the band travelled to Canadian bases in Germany, and then commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Normandy landing in France.

In addition to military marches, the current repertoire of La Musique du Royal 22e Régiment includes selections based on folk tunes, arrangements of classical works, film music, musical comedy, jazz, and popular music. Works by such Canadian composers as Howard Cable, Robert Farnon, James Gayfer, Gérald Gagnier, Armand Ferland, and Charles O'Neill are played regularly but a marked preference is shown for Québec songwriters, including Robert Charlebois, Jean-Pierre Ferland, Félix Leclerc, Raymond Lévesque, and Gilles Vigneault.

The band's conductors have included Capt C. O'Neill 1922-37, Capt E. Bélanger 1937-61, Capt A. Ferland 1961-5, Maj Jean-François Pierret 1965-78, Maj C.-A. Villeneuve 1978-80, Capt Jean-Pierre Montminy 1980-2, Capt A. Dion 1982-6, Capt D. Bouchard 1986-90, and Capt D. Bernier. From 1960 to 1972 Robert Vocelle and Onil Leblanc conducted a stage band, a small light-music ensemble featuring soloists. Since 1990 the full band has consisted of 35-38 instrumentalists: brass, woodwinds, percussion, electric bass, and electronic keyboards. The ensemble can also be divided for more specific engagements in jazz, dance, and mood music. In 2008, Lieutenant Patrick Picard became the eleventh Commanding Officer and Director of Music of La Musique du Royal 22 Régiment.

The official march of the Royal 22e Régiment, "Sambre et Meuse," was replaced in 1935 by "Le Royal 22e régiment," written by O'Neill, then replaced in 1939 by the song "Vive la Canadienne," which was adapted by Capt Bélanger, who was inspired by a traditional folksong; the song was arranged by O'Neill. Théodore Botrel, the poet from Brittany, wrote "Gloire au 22e," a marching song published in La Musique (February 1922) in an arrangement for two voices and piano by Omer Létourneau. Charles-Émile Gadbois wrote the "Marche lente du Royal 22e régiment." As the only French-Canadian regular forces band, La Musique du Royal 22e Régiment highlights the heritage of Québec but the band's repertoire includes traditional folk tunes, show tunes, selections from musical comedies, jazz arrangements, and contemporary songs.


La Citadelle. 1974. Franco FR-49002

Concert sous les étoiles. 1978. Franco FR-799 (private recording)

Heritage of the March (vol 54): Marches of Québec. 1982. 2-Heritage of the March PDB-426-27

Je me souviens/The Van Doos - Band of the Royal 22nd Regiment. 1964. RCA PCS-1006/1007

Further Reading