A first woman at the helm of the Band of the Royal 22e Régiment

A first woman at the helm of the Band of the Royal 22nd Regiment


Captain Marie-Perle Broadley became, on August 20, the first woman to lead, in 100 years of history, the Band of the Royal 22e Régiment.

< p>The 53-year-old conductor made her debut at the Concert at dusk in the Forts-de-Lévis, with guest soprano Marie-Josée Lord.

“The evening was magnificent, the repertoire was magnificent, the temperature was magnificent and there were incredible fireworks at the end. I felt like I was at my peak. I was very happy,” she said in an interview.

She had achieved another first by becoming, in September 2020, the first conductor to lead the Central Music of the Forces Canadian armies in Ottawa. The flautist by training took over, on July 18, from Captain Vincent Roy, who had been stationed in Quebec since 2018.  

For the woman who entered the Canadian Armed Forces in 1987 with the Musique du Régiment de Maisonneuve in Montreal, these accomplishments are the realization of a dream.

“Every morning that I find myself on the podium in front of these musicians is a dream. I'm still nervous today because they're so good. It’s a dream, every day, to be with them,” she said.


Marie-Perle Broadley, who began her career as Chief Executive Officer of the Ottawa Ceremonial Guard in May 2019, could, due to her years of service, retire. A decision she decided to put off.

“I want to stay, because it's so much fun,” she admitted with a laugh.

< p>When she was chosen to lead the Band of the Royal 22e Régiment, Marie-Perle Broadley admits that she never really thought about the meaning of becoming the first woman to head this century-old institution. 

“If someone had told me, 20 years ago, when I was a flautist with this ensemble, that I would one day become Commander of the Band of the Royal 22e Régiment, I would have laughed. I didn't think about it at the time and I didn't think it was an option for me,” she mentioned.

In 1998, she indicated that there was three women among the 35 musicians of the Band of the Royal 22e Régiment. 

“Today it's more than half,” she said, adding that women are increasingly in the majority in the world's major orchestras.

A flute for seven

Originally from Saint-Léonard in Montreal, Marie-Perle Broadley started playing the flute, in secondary one, with the harmony of the Gabrielle-Roy school.&nbsp ;

“I shared a flute with six other flautists. Resources were very limited,” she said the instrument was cleaned after each use.

She continued her musical studies at Saint-Luc secondary school, in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, in Montreal and then continued at Saint-Laurent College. 

In 1987, she joined the ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve and the Band of the Régiment de Maisonneuve before continuing, two years later, following a move, with the Voltigeurs de Québec for nine years.

“A friend had suggested that I go with her to audition. I was accepted. It was a good way to earn money during my studies. Thirty-five years later, I'm still here,” she remarked.

She continued her training at the Conservatoire de musique in Montreal and then completed them in the basement of the Grand Theatre, in Quebec City.

The Band of the Royal 22e Régiment will present three Christmas concerts. A first, Saturday, at the Community Center of Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, December 8, at the Church of the Nativity of Notre-Dame de Beauport and December 11 at the Church of Saint-Georges de Beauce. It's free.