Mount Allison Music student Bryenton Innes spent his summer in uniform. The tuba player is a member of the band of the Ceremonial Guard with the Canadian Army Reserve, his fourth summer with the organization.
Originally from Lakelands, NS, Innes was based in Ottawa this summer where he played in daily changing of the guard ceremonies on Parliament Hill as well as for special celebrations and events. This year he worked as a corporal, assisting with administration duties of the band, as well as playing.
“I was in sea cadets growing up and several of my family members also served in the military and are originally from Anishnaabe territory,” he says. “Coming from a small community and a small school, I found there was lots to do and learn in Ottawa. Visiting sites like the Canadian War Museum and National Aboriginal Veterans Monument and learning more about this history is important as well.”
Innes started his final year of studies at Mount Allison this fall. Along with classes and practices he is embarking on an independent study project around the development of Indigenous music and musicology.
“I want to look at the history and tradition of Indigenous music from the point of contact to present,” says Innes. “I’m hoping to look at different music styles and recordings including Powwows, folk recordings, as well as modern Indigenous musicians and recordings that are becoming part of popular culture.”
Innes says he was inspired to take on the topic from listening to CBC radio’s Reclaimed program. He plans to host a show on CHMA, Mount Allison’s community campus radio, as part of the study.
Along with his studies, Innes is a member of the reserves band in Saint John, travelling every two weeks for practices and performances. He is also a member of the Mount Allison Music and Band Societies, which includes the Pep Band, and is part of the Indigenous Student Support Group.
“Playing with the reserves band in Saint John has been a great experience, outside the campus community,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot about the logistical structure of Canadian army reserve bands and their management style and process, which is an important perspective to have, in addition to playing.”
Following Mount Allison, Innes says he is looking at a number of career paths but will be taking his time to explore his options.
“I’m looking at possibly continuing on in the military or perhaps continuing my studies. I’m very interested in Indigenous musicology,” he says. “I think it’s important to see what’s available. I wish I had been more open-minded about my career path when I started university.”