Canadian Armed Forces Director of Music Conducts United States Army Field Band in Chicago

February 18, 2022 -  Defence Stories

Written by Corporal Patrick Cauthers, Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces

Captain Marie-Perle Broadley

Captain Marie-Perle Broadley, wearing the concert dress, conducts the U.S. Army Field Band at the 75th Midwest Clinic on  15 December 2021

The 75th Midwest Clinic: International Band and Orchestra Conference took place from December 15th to December 18th 2021 at McCormick Place West in Chicago, Illinois. The United States (U.S.) Army Field Band, also celebrating their 75th anniversary, closed the first day of the conference with two back-to-back performances, where Captain Marie-Perle Broadley – Commanding Officer of the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) – was invited to the podium as a guest conductor.

Captain Marie-Perle Broadley

Captain Marie-Perle Broadley, wearing the concert dress, conducts the U.S. Army Field Band at the 75th Midwest Clinic on  15 December 2021

The Midwest Clinic features dozens of performances for attendees every year, and the U.S. military bands are regularly featured performers. This year, the U.S. Army Field Band was the headliner for the first day of the conference. The two performances had multiple guest conductors, one of which was Captain Marie-Perle Broadley. She led the band, performing the world premiere of “Suite of Dances” by Florence Price, adapted by Master Sergeant Adrian Hernandez – member of the U.S. Army Field Band – for concert band.

When asked about the importance of being invited to conduct the Army Field Band, Captain Broadley said “The Midwest [Clinic] is the Olympics of music educators, musicians, and industry stakeholders. The U.S. Premier Bands are the role models worldwide on how to do this job. It is one of the greatest honours for a military band conductor to be invited to conduct one of the U.S. Premier Bands.”

“My U.S. Army Field Band counterpart [Colonel Jim R. Keene] originally just invited me to be his guest of honour for their featured performance at Midwest. The event was a pretty big deal for them since it was concurrently the 75th anniversary of Midwest and the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Army Field Band. His intent was to create a relationship with the Central Band, so we can have exchanges in the future in order to create meaningful opportunities for Canadian and U.S. leadership to meet in a positive environment.”

Much of Captain Broadley’s time at the conference was spent accompanying the Army Field Band, which included meeting all of the U.S. Military’s Premier Band conductors and networking with other foreign military musicians.

Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Gaudreau, CAF Supervisor of Music, praised her accomplishments by saying “Captain Broadley was invited to take part and be featured in the most important gathering of professional wind ensemble musicians in the world, and her performance was witnessed by the finest civilian and military band leaders in the U.S. There is no overstating what an extraordinary accomplishment this was. Captain Broadley’s concert performance with the U.S. Army Field Band promoted the credibility of the CAF Music Branch on a scale never achieved before and strengthened the partnership between the armed forces of the U.S. and Canada.”

When talking about U.S.-Canadian relationships, Captain Broadley added “There is a concerted effort to increase the meaningful bonds between Canada and the U.S., and musicians know best how to create a positive environment leading to the meeting of the minds and meeting of leadership”.

The Midwest Clinic’s mission is to gather music educators to raise musical education standards and to develop innovative teaching techniques.  Over the years it has evolved into an event that also focusses on the professional development for musicians, composers and conductors ranging from amateur to professional, and providing them with essential networking opportunities. The clinic attracted over 18,000 attendees from more than 40 countries, making it the largest since its inception.

Captain Broadley is the first Canadian military conductor to conduct a U.S. Premier Band at the Midwest Clinic, and she is the first woman to take command of the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces, which she assumed in September 2020. To stay up to date with the Central Band’s performances and operations, please follow their Facebook page (you are now leaving the Government of Canada website). 

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