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Journeys : October November 2009
July 1st is Canada's birthday and as part of the Tattoo's contribution to the celebrations there is a parade featuring the entire cast, right through the heart of the city. In 2010, to mark the centenary of the Canadian Navy, there will be a fleet review, featuring naval vessels from dozens of countries around the world at the same time as the Tattoo is in town. What a moment to be there! To find out how you can take part in this wonderful celebration, contact RACT Travelworld on 1300 368 111 or visit your local branch. Ifirst flew from Scotland into the city of Halifa x in October 1996. I was a newly graduated student and on my way to a job inter view at The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. As the plane descended my first impression was already a strange one of coming home. I had long been aware of the connections between Scotland and Nova Scotia, but was taken aback at how similar the landscape was to the north- east of my native country. I spent four days in Halifax on that trip and was lucky enough to be offered the job. I also began to fall in love with the city. The following January I found myself on the same plane, once again landing at Halifa x Inter national Airport, but this time with a one-way ticket. I quickly became immersed in my work. I had grown up with annual visits to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and had played in pipe bands for half of my life, but the energy and excitement of The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo were new to me. As July and the show grew closer, the excitement grew. A couple of weeks before the show opened the Canadian perfor mers ar rived in tow n from all around the country, joined a few days later by the overseas contingents. The Metro Centre threatened to burst at the seams as more and more performers tried to pack into the backstage area. As the rehearsals w rapped up and the first show opened I finally got to see what I had been working on. It wasn't until I was watching that first perfor mance that I Home to Halifax Thomas Grotrian falls in love with Canada's 'New Scotland' realised I had had absolutely no idea what I was working towards. I had seen the videos, but nothing can compare to the moment when every member of the audience gasps as the lights go up to reveal a packed stage at the beginning of the first act. I was hooked! I couldn't get over the variety and pace of the Tattoo. I was used to more traditional military based acts. This certainly had those, and in enough quantity to keep the most old fashioned purist happy, but it had so much more as well. There were pipes and drums, bands, gymnasts, dancers, comedy routines and choirs. Every act seemed to offer something new, with an original twist. The age range of the participants was staggering, from the youngest child to the oldest senior. Shortly after wards I had to return to Scotland. My visa was up and I had work to do over there. Getting on that plane was one of the very few times I have ever boarded a flight back home with a heavy heart. I vowed I would retur n. I kept that promise and every year, with one exception when work commitments wouldn't allow it, I came back for a few days in early July. Every year there would be that same sense of rising excitement, building as the cab from the airport crossed the MacDonald Bridge and I got my first view of Halifax. Once again I would feel I had come home. Every year the show would be different, and incredibly, somehow better than the previous year's. There would be new acts from around the world and there would be new faces on the team, but always there was that welcome. On several occasions I was asked why I did not return permanently and each time it was harder to convince myself that there was a good reason. Finally, in July 2005, I realised that I had been away too long. After tidying things up in Scotland I once again found myself on a one-way flight to Halifax last January. I was coming back to the Tattoo and the city I have come to love. I haven't looked back since and would like to welcome as many Tasmanians as possible to my adopted province. I promise you will love it too! Thomas Grotrian is from Edinburgh, Scotland and is now the Marketing Manager of The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. He has family in Tasmania and is trying to persuade them to visit him again. 51 October / November 09
August September 2009
Dec Jan 2010