09/10/2013 07:55 EDT | Updated 09/10/2013 08:44 EDT

RCMP's Musical Ride In High River Gives Unexpected Salute To Crowd

CP/Mark Spowart

Thousands of people gathered in High River on Monday to celebrate the town's first official community event since the June flood, which came with a heartwarming surprise.

Over 2,400 people watched the last performance of the RCMP Musical Ride’s season this year, who made a special stop in High River to hold a benefit performance.

The performance began with Superintendent Marty Chesser, Officer in Charge of the Musical Ride, giving the official salute to local dignitaries. He broke away from tradition when he also saluted the crowd, paying recognition to the tenacity demonstrated by the citizens of High River in the aftermath of the floods, said RCMP.

“I love my job and tonight was one of those nights that was made special. On the march past, we saluted the entire crowd,” said Supt. Chesser. “The positive response was overwhelming.”

The event was added to the schedule earlier this summer, after local RCMP asked the Musical Ride to consider a benefit performance in High River on the way back to Ottawa after a two-month tour of British Columbia.

The stop coincided with an event at Spruce Meadows, which allowed the group to waive the stabling and feed costs usually covered by organizers.

Performers volunteered their time and the High River Agricultural Society took on all event-related responsibilities.

“The High River Agricultural Society has been terrific. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into bringing the Musical Ride to town, and they handled all of that,” said S/Sgt. Ian Shardlow of High River Detachment.

“This was the first official community event since the flooding, and the goal was to boost spirits. I think that happened here tonight.”

Admission to the event was free, with cash donations going to local flood relief.

The Musical Ride visits approximately 40 venues annually, and travels to every province on a four-year rotational basis. Every year during the tour, the Musical Ride assists local communities and charities to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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