Canadian orchestra dedicates performance to soldier killed in Ottawa
The National Arts Centre Orchestra start a ten-day tour of the UK in Edinburgh on Thursday.
The Canadian national orchestra are dedicating their Edinburgh performance to the soldier killed in the Ottawa shootings.
The National Arts Centre Orchestra are starting a ten-day tour at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh on Thursday.
The concert was initially intended to pay tribute to victims of the First World War but will now be dedicated to Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who was gunned down while standing guard at the National War Memorial on Wednesday.
The shooter, reportedly Muslim convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, then went into the Canadian parliament where he was shot dead by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.
While the shootings took place, members of the National Arts Centre Orchestra were on a plane to Edinburgh.
They landed to news their colleagues were on lock-down in the centre, just metres from the war memorial.
Rosemary Thompson, from the orchestra, said: "It was frightening for all of us because the National Art Centre is steps away from the National War Memorial so the shooting that happened yesterday was literally at our doorstep.
"As we were flying to Edinburgh all of our colleagues were on lock-down in Ottawa. Many of our friends and family work on Parliament Hill so it was a frightening day and we are sorry it happened.
"We will be dedicating tonight’s performance to the soldier that was killed.
"Canada is a very peaceful nation - we always thought we were immune to this type of thing so to have something like this happen on our doorstep, we felt we had to commemorate this young man and pay tribute to the Canadians that were involved."
Mr Thompson has known Mr Vickers for years, who is being hailed as a hero for shooting the gunman.
She said: "He’s a bit like a friendly giant of a man; he’s very kind, very human.
"I don’t think he has ever fired his gun in active service so yesterday may have been the first time. For him to have to do that is quite a testament to him.
"Canadians believe he’s a hero and I believe it too."
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