As the first couples in the RCAF Band, Quebec natives Sergeants Marie-Pier Laflamme (trumpet player) and Francis Pariseau (guitarist) and Corporals Ariane Côté (french horn) and Mikael Lefebvre (saxophone) do not see themselves as history makers, they just want to play music and enjoy their friendships.
“I played in the RCAF Band from 2009-2016,” said Sgt Pariseau, “and when my wife and I got posted to CFB Val Cartier, I played in the band there until we came back here in August 2021.”
“I joined the Reg Force in June 2020, but I had served in the Reserves before that,” said Cpl Côté, who graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Music degree in 2014.
“Ariane came to a big band concert I was playing with a couple of friends, we met, and we started seeing each other,” Cpl Lefebvre commented, “we soon knew that we’d be playing in the band together.”
Sgt Laflamme and Sgt Pariseau, parents of two young sons, were married in Winnipeg in 2010, but have been dating for 17 years, both have a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance. “Many of my friends had joined during university, so they could have employment throughout the summer, which motivated me to do so as well. At first, I thought the army thing wasn’t for me, I was an artist, I wanted to do my own thing without anyone telling me what to do, but after joining the Reserves, I began to enjoy the opportunities it gave me as a musician. Then, I joined the Royal International Tattoo in Halifax, and I saw the posters for Reg. Force auditions. At first, I wasn’t aware that this was a full-time gig, but I spoke to Frank about it and we both decided to audition for the Reg Force in Ottawa at the same time. We promised each other that if either one of us got posted the other one would follow,” Sgt Laflamme said. “He got posted to Winnipeg, and I followed him,” she continued, “it’s turning out well for us. We were here for seven years before, and just posted in again in August.”
Sgt Pariseau, who has a Bachelor’s in Music from Sherbrooke University, maintains that the RCAF Band is “a culture” geared a lot more to contemporary music styles. “For me, it’s a fantastic place to try different styles as a guitar player in the band. “We have great opportunities to tour Canada and abroad while doing what we love. The RCAF is very proud of the band.”
Cpl Côté said “I like the variety of music performed by the band, we’re lucky to have two singers with us too. That makes it more fun.”
Cpl’s Lefebvre and Côté observed, “moving away from home is a good way to start one’s military career, even though it might be a big change, it’s an exciting career.”