We’re almost there!

Hey folks, Beth here. I’m part of the fife section (a life-long dream come true) and I am so excited that we are only two days away from our adventure! I have never participated in a tattoo before. My head is reeling just thinking about all the rehearsing we have coming in the next week. I know it is all worth it, though! Preparing for the show these last few months has been so much fun because of how amazing this group of people is to work with. Everyone is supportive, driven, and hilarious… even during long hours, and even in pouring rain.

Today we had our last run through rehearsal before we step foot on Canadian soil. We also had to pack the trailer because our fearless leaders had to begin their trek north today. So, of course, the weather did not cooperate. In fact we had torrential downpours. Luckily we have a slightly protected area to work in, but we still got wet. Everyone was in high spirits though. I, for one, am over the moon that it’s almost show time! Our hard work is really showing during rehearsal. We work well together as a team both in and out of uniform, and that is reflected in our drill.

As Toria mentioned in her post last week, the to-do lists around here are an insane length. With only one full day left before travel day it’s starting to feel like the world is ending after tomorrow, instead of beginning an awesome trip. I am so excited to make new friends, explore Halifax for the first time in ten years, and above all to perform with this amazing group of people. I can’t wait to hit the floor and soak in the crowd! Safe travels everyone, and we will see you up north in just a few days.


Beth Humphreys, Fifer

T minus 6 days

Dear Everyone,

My name is Toria and I am a tattoo virgin. I have no ink on my body… oh wait… I mean I’ve never performed in a tattoo before. RNSIT will be my first time marching in an event of this size, and for so many shows! This will also be my first time in Halifax and my first time out of the country with this fabulous group. Oh goodness, wish me luck.

Freshman year, I played tenor sax in the Boston College Screaming Eagles Marching Band. If you’ve ever been to a marching band’s “band camp” you know that this ain’t no swimming pool summer camp. We had a few MCV camps to prepare for our trip. MCV Camp is just like BC Band Camp, except it’s only for two days at a time, there are snacks (thank you support team), and my instrument is way easier to carry than a tenor saxophone. This instrument can fit through my belt loops. Phew. I love playing the fife.

In the morning, we have music rehearsals inside, then break for lunch, then marching rehearsals outside. We’re marching on the top floor of a parking garage, enjoying spring breezes, swatting at the occasional bug, roasting in the sun, and shivering when clouds float by. After living in the city for most of every week, it’s nice to enjoy the great outdoors of Bedford, but you do want to make sure you remember to wear sunscreen.

We take off for Halifax in a week. In that one week, there’s a lot of stuff I have to do. This Friday will be my last day at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Friday night, I move out of my 4th apartment in Boston. (My dad isn’t too happy about helping me move all my stuff down five flights of stairs after only 2 months.) Saturday I spend time with my friends and family back home in Connecticut, and pack. Pack, pack, pack. Sunday, we have one more rehearsal before we leave the next day! This is coming so fast.


In anticipation of the trip, here’s a few of the things I’m looking forward to:

  • playing music
  • playing music in a giant arena
  • looking badass
  • getting just enough sleep to function the next day
  • meeting friends from the other groups and around the world
  • not getting sick
  • eating beaver tails
  • eating seafood
  • eating
  • exploring Halifax and taking cool photos


Now let’s see how this goes. I’ll keep you updated on my goals with my future blog posts during the trip! T minus 6 days. I can’t wait.

– Toria Sky, cool kid, fifer, and food enthusiast


MCV has always functioned strongly within its traditional fife sections and drum sections, but through preparations for the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, we have had the opportunity to work closely in smaller groups and develop some fun team identities.

Our drill program has been designed to use a system of teams who work together to make our pretty pictures. I think it helps to have a consistent working group to solidify those gates and make those straight lines – and to have some fun, too. The “A Team” took full advantage of their name and worked together to make custom t-shirts with an appropriate character’s name on their backs.

The A-Team!
Complete with character names!
Complete with character names!

They also extended an hand to our Canadian guest, Nathan, who was granted his own shirt, the “Eh Team.” A little brotherly humor! Such clever fifers!

The "Eh Team!"
The “Eh Team!”

We’ve been reviewing old photos and videos of the last time we were at RNSIT and are REALLY getting excited to return to the warm crowds, meet old friends and make a lot of new ones.  It’s hard to think about anything else except preparing for that spotlight.6a00d8344e670a53ef01543290153a970c

-Andrea Wirth, snare drummer

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Media Launch

The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo had their Media Launch day on May 27th and posted this video of introductions from most of the performing groups attending this year’s Tattoo.  MCV’s spot is near the end of the video.

Enjoy the video!

George March, Fifer/MCV Webmaster

Gearing up for Halifax

MCV is gearing up for our second two-day rehearsal camp and we are looking forward to refining the music and marching routine for our 5 1/2 minute performance in Halifax.

I would like to introduce the blogging team for this year’s journey:

  • Beth Humphreys
  • Nick Johnson
  • George March
  • Christopher Myers
  • Toria Sky
  • Andrea Wirth

Chris, Andrea and myself are seasoned Tattoo veterans; this will be the first Tattoo experience for Toria, Nick and Beth.  Stay tuned for reports from the team over the next few weeks.


-George March, Fifer/MCV Webmaster

MCV On the Road to Halifax: The Return


Hello everyone,

I am pleased to launch our latest blog: MCV on the Road to Halifax: The Return.  It has been our custom to publish a blog for each of our Tattoo experiences: from the preparations and rehearsal right up through the performances and our return home.

MCV is looking forward to our return this summer to the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo!  We last performed in Halifax in 2009 and are keen to return with a new show.  MCV will be holding our first drill/music rehearsal camp this coming weekend, followed by two parades on Patriots Day.   Stay tuned for a report next week.

MCV will be part of a cast of 1,500 from seven countries.  Check out the latest line-up of talent for this year’s show.

Till next week!


George March

Fifer/MCV Webmaster


Departure day is upon us – MCV on the road again

Pp2009-casesThe Halifax Camp weekend feels like it was just yesterday even though it was two months ago.  Our final drill rehearsal and "Packing Party" was held on Sunday, 21 June.  The weather may have dampened us but spirits were high on the eve of our next big journey.

MCV HQ has already arrived in Halifax, along with our uniforms and drums.  The rest of our team will be arriving on June 25 in preparation for rehearsals that start early on June 26.  Besides our full-time "local" membership, we have remote members flying or driving in from NYC, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin and California! 

All the hard work in preparing The Show musically as well as drill-wise has paid off; we look forward to now presenting our show as part of the 30th edition of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. In addition to our segment in the show MCV will also be fielding a quartet in the Fanfare segment and the entire ensemble will lead the cast of 2,000 out into the arena for the Grand Finale.

 Next post will be from Halifax; we hope to keep in touch regularly as we move through our rehearsal days into the Tattoo itself.

—George March, Webmaster/Fifer, MCV

Halifax Camp Weekend a Success

The assorted members of MCV gathered from far and wide to a Halifax Camp Weekend in Bedford, Massachusetts, at MITRE Corporation, our home away from home.   It was great to see so many familiar faces return to the wig and delightful to see how many new folks have dared to join us. 

491186924308_0_ALB 208207924308_0_ALB

We kept up a grueling rehearsal schedule, with two hours on Friday night after a long work week, EIGHT hours on Saturday, and another two on Sunday before we donned the wig and gave the premier performance of the Halifax show,

 Gch_6997jk       MCV at Lincoln Salute, April 20, 2009
PLUS a full day of parades on Monday when "normal" people were enjoying a holiday.  We emerged with a better sense of what we don't know, which is a useful thing, but also a great sense of self confidence that this show is actually going to work!  It's come such a long way already and we have plenty of time to polish up the fine points.  Many kudos to our new members who are getting thrown right into the thick of it and are blending right into the Collective, as we like to say!  I am personally amazed at the hard work everyone has put in to make this little folk music band shine! 166786924308_0_ALB Many thanks to our drill sergeant, Bill Phenix, and to our Support Staff for clothing us, feeding us, and taking care of our equipment.  We couldn't do it without you!  I'm really looking forward to everyone experiencing the joy of creating something bigger than the sum of its parts.  Useful discovery learned from this weekend:  Peanut butter cookies and salsa are actually pretty good together!  Too bad we're not having any fun! 
515666924308_0_ALB  – Andrea Wirth, drummer
[photo credits to Michelle Godin and Glenn Harder]

MCV attends Tattoo Production Meeting

Halifax production meeting

Jim & Sarah MacConduibh from MCV HQ were joined by Drum Major Tim Sutphin for a trip in early April to Halifax to attend the Tattoo's production meeting. Representatives from all performing groups were present for three days of meetings to finalize the scope and structure of this years' event.  The photo to the left shows one of the meetings between MCV and the Tattoo Production staff held in the Tattoo Office.


The Tattoo office itself is actually a very small house converted to business use; the photo here shows memorabilia from the past 29 annual Tattoos on the stairway to the second floor.  This year's Tattoo will boast close to 2000 performers; MCV will be performing our 6 minute Show as well as leading the massed bands in the Finale.


Sarah_on_iceOn the last full day in Halifax, Sarah was able to get into the Halifax Metro Centre and march MCV's Show,
albeit on the ice that is currently in place for hockey games!  Stay
tuned for a review of MCV's Halifax "Dress Rehearsal" at the April 19th
Lincoln Salute.