New command for the Naden Band

SLt Vincent Roy, new Commanding Officer for the Naden Band, with his family.

SLt Vincent Roy, new Commanding Officer for the Naden Band, with his family.

SLt Vincent Roy speaks about his past, his new position as Commanding Officer of the Naden Band, and his hopes for the future.

The musicians of the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy are preparing for the daily morning rehearsal at the band room by warming up and practicing.

At nine on the dot the tuning ‘A’ is given; then all sound ceases.

Immediately afterward, SLt Roy strides into the room and assumes his position on the podium.

“Good morning!” he beams. “Let’s get into music!”

On July 19, command of the Naden Band was passed from Lt(N) Matthew Clark to SLt Roy.  Accompanying him for this event was his wife, Marie-Lucie Mathieu and his children Alexia, Olivia, and Benjamin.

Since taking command, SLt Roy has travelled with the band to Vancouver for the Pacific National Exhibition, Nanaimo for the Nanaimo Military Music Festival, and to Oliver, Osoyoos, Chemainus, and Sidney for public outdoor concerts. The highlight of his tenure so far has been conducting the band during the Royal Visit at the B.C. Legislature.

There he had a chance to speak personally to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, when he came to inspect the band.

Exuding infectious energy and quiet passion, SLt Roy is thrilled about his posting to beautiful Victoria. Adding to the excitement is the fact that this is his first appointment as Commanding Officer of a Regular Force band. His career path, from joining the reserves in his home province of Quebec to his latest posting to the West Coast, has been meteoric; he is currently the youngest commanding officer serving in the Band Branch.

He was asked to reflect on what compelled him to join the Forces and his inspirations and thought process as a Director of Music.

Q. What made you decide to become a professional musician?  Was there a particular concert/moment that particularly inspired you?

A. When I was about six years old after listening to the church organist, I told my parents that I wanted to be a musician and learn the piano.  I’m very fortunate that they listened and did enroll me in piano lessons.  I eventually played the organ professionally while in University.

Q. At what point did you realize you could pursue a musical career in the Canadian Armed Forces?  What convinced you to join?

A. Although I was exposed to some performances by La Musique du Royal 22e Régiment at a young age, I never really thought much of it as a career until some friends convinced me to join the Naval Reserve, more specifically the HMCS Montcalm band. The CAF offers the best summer jobs that music students can get. That was in 2001. But even then, I was not necessarily thinking of the CAF as a full time career. It was while completing my music performance degree (tuba) in 2005 that I decided to audition for the Regular Force, thinking that performing an audition would be a good experience. I ended up being offered a full time position with the Vandoos Band in Quebec City.

Q. Where has your military career taken you?

A. Chile, Germany, France and multiple times to the United States.  But most importantly, to numerous locations around our beautiful country (from coast to coast), the latest one being here in Victoria.

Q. Now that you are here, what do you enjoy most about your new home?

A. My family and I have been very fortunate to move in to a beautifully located Residential Housing Unit in Signal Hill. Close to work, school for the kids and downtown.  The proximity to the water is an amazing feeling. We can’t wait to discover more of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

Q. You have inherited one of the finest bands in Canada as your first posting as Commanding Officer and Director of Music. What excites you most about your new position?

A . This is truly a privilege to have the opportunity to conduct such a talented ensemble. I have heard so many great things about the Naden Band and its strong connection to sailors, their families and the community. I’m very happy to be here and to be a part of the great work the band does on so many levels.  What excites me the most about my new position is the endless possibilities and unique versatility that our band has. But above all, to be able to make music at the highest level every day with professional musicians is the ultimate goal of any music director. Music making is all about the team, and I have the best team here I could ever ask for.

Q. What is involved in programing music for a concert such as the one at the Royal B.C. Museum on Nov. 10?

A. The Royal B.C. Museum concert is very special for the Band.  For all concerts I want to showcase the talent and versatility of the ensemble, but in this particular one we want to pay tribute to our veterans and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  There will be a great variety of music that evening including pieces by Glenn Miller, Aaron Copland, Frank Ticheli and Gustav Holst.  A medley of songs popularized by Vera Lynn will be performed by guest vocalist Stephanie Greaves, and of course, some fantastic marches. This concert is open to the public and begins at 7 p.m.  Everyone is welcome.

All eyes are on the future and where SLt Roy and his Naden Band will go next.

For upcoming concerts and events, visit or ‘like’ their Facebook page.

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