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Nathan Cirillo honoured by Canadian orchestra on U.K. remembrance tour

The National Arts Centre Orchestra plans to honour the fallen soldier at each stop on their 5-city tour commemorating the start of the First World War.

'We were worried, concerned, and very sad' says National Arts Centre Orchestra spokesperson

The NAC Orchestra String Trio paused to remember Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the Canadian Forces reservist killed in Ottawa Wednesday, at the St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh on Thursday. (Fred Cattroll/NAC photographer)

The National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) is dedicating their remaining U.K tour performances to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.

The soldier killed was killed Wednesday in a shooting at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

Seventy NACO musicians are currently on a 10-day, 5-city remembrance tour of the U.K. to coincide with the centenary of the First World War. 

​Upon hearing of the tragic events in Ottawa the orchestra chose to honour the fallen reservist during a concert Thursday in Edinburgh.

Canada’s National Arts Centre (NAC) Orchestra, featuring acclaimed music director and violinist Pinchas Zukerman, respond to the tragedy back home with a musical tribute. (National Arts Centre Orchestra)
"We were worried, concerned, and very sad about what happened," spokeswoman Rosemary Thompson said in a statement to CBC News Friday.

"Maestro Pinchas Zukerman spoke from the podium at the end of the concert about the tragedy. He said when an innocent life is taken he responds through music."

The orchestra followed Zukerman's words with a moving encore from Elgar's Serenade for Strings.

"There were tears in the audience," said Thompson. "It was very beautiful."

The orchestra now moves on to performances in Nottingham, London, Bristol and Salisbury, where it will perform inside the Salisbury Cathedral.

The 755-year-old church is steps away from the grounds where many Canadians trained for battle 100 years ago.

Tour otherwise unchanged

Despite some security changes at military sites and for Canadian Forces personnel at home, the orchestra is moving ahead with the tour's events as planned.

"Security concerns have not changed," said Thompson. "We are very pleased to be presenting wonderful music across the U.K. Our partners are aware of the situation back home." 

The NACO's U.K. tour continues through Oct. 30.

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