Strawberry Fields Forever
VANCOUVER KITSILANO BOYS’ BAND
THE LEGACY OF ARTHUR DELAMONT Book III
“The Lost Chord” is a song composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1877 at the bedside of his brother Fred during Fred’s last illness. The manuscript is dated 13 January 1877; Fred Sullivan died five days later. The lyric was written as a poem by Adelaide Anne Procter called “A Lost Chord,” published in 1858 in The English Woman’s Journal. The song was immediately successful and became particularly associated with American contralto Antoinette Sterling, with Sullivan’s close friend and mistress, Fanny Ronalds, and with British contralto Clara Butt. Sullivan was proud of the song and later noted: “I have composed much music since then, but have never written a second Lost Chord.” Many singers have recorded the song, including Enrico Caruso, who sang it at the Metropolitan Opera House on 29 April 1912 at a benefit concert for families of victims of the Titanic disaster. The piece has endured as one of Sullivan’s best-known songs, and the setting is still performed today. The Lost Chord became a signature piece of Arthur Delamont’s, one he played at almost every concert during the sixties and seventies. He would perform it with himself on solo trumpet out in front of the band and as the piece built up to its finale, he would have his entire trumpet section slowly come out front and stand beside him in a long line from one end of the stage to the other. When they all joined him on the finale the effect was breathtaking and often left the audience gasping and giving the band a standing ovation.
Strawberry Fields Forever THE LEGACY OF ARTHUR DELAMONT CHRISTOPHER BEST
2 ~ Table of Contents
1964 The band in the PNE Parade.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Wayne Tarling.................................................................11 2. Barry Leinbach...............................................................21 3. Rob Arseneau.................................................................39 4. Don Luff.........................................................................47 5. George Ellenton.............................................................57 6. Bruce Ball.....................................................................71 7. Greg Bonnell.................................................................81 8. Bill Gumbelton..............................................................91 9. Ian Maclean.................................................................103 10. John Evans.................................................................111 11. Brad Goodwin............................................................119 12. Bill Walter..................................................................125 13. Dale Peterson.............................................................135
4 ~ 4Those ~ TheFabulous KitsilanoKitsie Showboat Boys
1966 Mr D working on the music in Dartmouth
THE LOST CHORD ~ 5
THOSE FABULOUS KITSIE BOYS
The Sixties and Seventies
6 ~ Introduction
1968 The band performing on stage at the Kitsilano Showboat in June before their departure on the 1968 European Tour.
THE LOST CHORD ~ 7
INTRODUCTION “In 1968 The Beatles’ music Magical Mystery Tour and Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band accompanied us everywhere we went, and we discovered our own Penny Lanes and Strawberry Fields, which I am sure, will stay with us forever.” Christopher Nelsen Things changed immensely for Arthur in the 1960s: Lillie was no longer by his side and it became harder and harder to find boys to play in his band. Money was harder to raise to cover expenses and his age (now in his seventies) was catching up to him. After the difficulties encountered on his 1962 trip, it would be four years before he would again make another trip with his boys to Europe. This time they traveled everywhere by airplane. I am not sure if he did not have confidence in air travel but he booked a flight with both CP Air and Air Canada and when he got to the airport cancelled the Air Canada flight. This trip would be his last to Kerkrade for the international band competition. The pressure was on the boys to come through at Kerkrade because they all knew that on the two previous occasions the band had entered the festival, they had won gold medals (1958 and 1962). In 1958 they had won double gold, a feat unheard of at the time but that was what Arthur did best, the impossible.
8 ~ Dave McKenzie
Once in Kerkrade the boys showed what they were made of and won gold in the marching competition and silver in the Harmonie division. Arthur told them that he knew they would not win the Harmonie class as they had to compete against a one hundred piece American band with full instrumentation. Times were changing and the day of the one man band was coming to an end, something Arthur was more aware of than anyone. After Kerkrade the boys flew to Paris and then back to London, en route to Southend-on-Sea for two weeks as the official band for their carnival and then on to Dartmouth for their Regatta. Next it was Scotland and then back to Amsterdam and home to Vancouver. Whether Arthur was feeling his age or he just liked performing in Europe, after 1966, he brought his boys back to Europe every two years (1968, 1970, 1972, â€˜74). All the rest of the bands tours would be to Europe, not just England and they would always fly. They would not enter another competition again in Europe after 1966. The bandâ€™s 1968 tour of Europe was a whirlwind three days in each of most of the major capitals of western Europe (Amsterdam, London, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Cologne, Zurich, Geneva, Marid, Paris, London). With no contests to prepare for it was a splendid mix of concerts in parks, concert halls, circuses, public places and festivals). Dave McKenzie came back as manager for the trip and did a splendid job keeping one step ahead of the band just as he had done on the 1966 trip. Often the bus would drive the band around some town they had just arrived in in Britain, while Dave looked for suitable accomodation. He always came through for the boys and they all appreciated his efforts, holding him in high esteem. Dave had been one of the boys on Arthurâ€™s 1962 tour and seemed to take naturally to the job of managing. He lived in New York where he worked at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, coming back to Vancouver in the
THE LOST CHORD ~ 9
summer to help Arthur out with his tours to Europe. In 1970 Dave returned to manage one last tour for the band. Throughout the 1960s at band rehearsals Arthur would tell the boys of the difficulties he was having raising money for the trips. He was also finding it difficult to attract the talent he needed to fill out the band, so for this reason many of the boys stayed in the band for a longer time. Several boys wound up making two and three trips to Europe with the band in those days. 1969 was the ‘summer of love’ and during the summer of 1970 the boys were more likely to meet their next door neighbour under the Eiffel Tower than a Parisian. The ‘Hippie’ culture was in full swing and several of the boys in the band had long hair which was the norm of the day. Arthur would often say, “Look at the girls in the drum section. I didn’t know we had girls in the band?” It was all in good fun and he took it all in his stride as the years never seemed to catch up to him. He had been taking boys to Europe since 1934. I think it was probably alot of the reason he remained so young at heart in his later years. He was seventy-four on the 1966 tour and eighty by the time he took the boys back in 1974. He could always keep up with the boys and then some and he would spend his days on tour walking around new cities and towns just like one of the boys. On the 1970 tour the band went to Nice on the French Riviera. The boys all rented motor scooters and there is a photo of Arthur on the back of a motor scooter along with all the boys. Arthur enterred the band in the Battle of the Flowers Parade in Nice. It was a five mile long parade and when it was all over the officials told him that his band had won first place but they had never mentioned to him that it was a contest before hand. The boys again performed in the major capitals of western Europe and ended up back in Dartmouth for the Regatta at the end of August.
10 ~ Jim Blakely
By 1972 it was getting really difficult to attract boys for the band. University, which had always been important to the boys over the years, was even more important to the boys of the seventies. It was also much more expensive and the boys often could not go on his trip because they had to stay and earn money for university. But somehow or another Arthur always managed to pull off another trip bringing in boys from as far away as Victoria. In 1972 he decided he would take the boys to Norway and Sweden. I guess it was somewhere the band had never played before, so he thought he would give it a try. After performing concerts all over England and Scotland the band departed Harwick by ferry for the overnight ferry ride to Norway. In Norway they rented a bus and drove to Malmo and then to Stockholm. Along the way the boys saw Paul McCartney and his band Wings perform and played at a half time show at a soccer match. They were so well received that the audience did not want them to stop playing, prefering the band over the game. In 1974, for Arthurâ€™s last trip with his boys, he decided to take them to the USSR. I am not sure why as he had never been there before, so that must have been his reason. They played all over England and Scotland again and then boarded a Soviet airliner in London and flew to Moscow. All sorts of stories abound about rehearsals in hotel rooms and hotel clerks banging on the door to make them stop. One wonders if it was all tongue-in-cheek as far as Arthur was concerned. He was probably just enjoying himself to the end traveling with his boys to far away places at eighty years old, just one last time!
Wayne Tarling “The three most influential people in my life were Arthur of course, Jim Blackley, my drum teacher. He eventally left Vancouver. He went back to Toronto and then to New York. I heard he was giving master classes at the Julliard School of Music and teaching almost almost every world class jazz drummer presently touring. He was pretty top notch and my father.” Wayne Tarling was already in the band when I joined in 1965. He was one of the solid drummers we had in the band during the mid-sixties. He took up the tuba in later years and now plays in several community bands. “Tell me Wayne how did you get into the Kits band?” “My family was musical. My mom played and taught piano. My dad played trombone and my brother played piano and violin. I started piano when I was five and percussion when I was six. I was introduced to the violin during this time but that never worked out. I got into serious percussion because my dad had an orchestra, it was a community
12 ~ Dave McKenzie
orchestra called the ‘Kingcrest Community Band.’ We lived around twenty-sixth and Knight Road, in the Kingcrest area. I started percussion lessons with a guy named Jim Blackley. Jim was very interesting. He was from Scotland. He and his wife were ballroom dance champions. He was an exexpert in Scottish intricate drumming. He now has his own website. I started with him at his house then he moved to a studio on Victoria Drive and 3rd Avenue and then to Broadway and MacDonald, right beside the old Academy of the Arts. I was taking piano lessons at the Academy on one afternoon (after school) and drum lessons after school on another afternoon. I studied under Jim for about ten years. A drummer in Delamont’s band, Dave McKenzie, was also studying with Jim and he asked Jim if there were any youngsters who might be interested in joining the Kits band. Jim told me a little about the band and I said, “I would like to try it out!” I was eleven years old and started out in the junior band. My dad took me down to General Gordon School. It wasn’t too long before Dave came to me and asked me to stay for the senior band. “Dave McKenzie was he a good drummer?’ “Oh yes, he was a clown. He played a lot of solos. Bill Millerd can tell you more. He was a good guy. That was about 1960 or ‘61. After the 1962 trip, Dave bowed out. Then Don Luff and Dave Calder came on board. “Do you have any stories from the old days?” “Just the usual, I was initially pretty frightened of Mr.D. He was impossible to follow as a far as conducting but somehow you did.”
WAYNE TARLING ~ 13
“You can pull up the band on BritishPathe.com and see Arthur conducting in 1936. He was dead on back then.” “I guess as he got older he wavered a little. Whenever he got into Sousa or other marches, his arms just took off but I think that is how he energized the band.” “Yes, it was an energetic style of conducting.” “I played on the 1966 trip to Europe and then the 1967 trip to Montreal for Expo. When I came back, I had a totally bad experience and packed the set completely away until just a few years ago. I went to BCIT and took Manufacturing Engineering. I got into sales, selling machine tools for eleven or twelve years. Then the sales went south, outside sales. I took a sabbatical in 1991. Then I took a quality assurance program and have been doing that ever since. I set up quality systems for manufacturing companies, freelance. I put five years in at Ballard when they were developing the fuel cell bus fleets for over a dozen cities throughout the world. I got involved with a company that built the final assembly tooling for the Airbus A380 and also the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Cool stuff, I have to drive to Aldergrove though too much wasted time and fuel. Now I am back in the same building close by but working with hybrid commercial vehicles.” “You started playing again about ten years ago?” “No, I started playing again about fifteen years ago. My cousin called me up. He’s a pipe organ guy. He has the pipe organ from the Capitol Theatre at his house. That’s a passion for him. His family and our family have always been in music. His youngest daughter got into the New Westminster District band, the one that Delamont was a part of for a
14 ~ Jack Fulton
while with Fred Turner. So, Jim said, “Jill is getting involved in the band, why don’t you bring your kids down?’ “My kids weren’t playing any music yet. My younger son (around seven years old at the time) Jay, wanted to play trumpet. Bryce wanted to play sax. My cousin played trumpet. The boys’ musical lives started as I drove them to band practice and read some books and listened, until my cousin said, “This is silly, why don’t you get your sticks and play too?” It was a beginner’s band. I wasn’t about to pick up my sticks but I always liked listening to the euphonium and the parts they played. I started playing baritone and ended up graduating to tuba. We all practiced together. I knew all about it, playing in a band I mean. The kids accelerated when I helped them to know what to listen for and I got back into music. We played through all the bands, junior, intermediate and senior. Jay and I played in the Royal City Alumni band. He played the Carnival of Venice in high school at the ripe old age of 16, that was Burnaby South. Paul Dudley was the conductor. The band got going really fast and he couldn’t control them. I do not think anyone ever heard the Carnival of Venice played so fast. It was not really musical but he had it memorized and it worked out okay. Jay played four years with the Vancouver Youth Symphony. He’s playing now with Alan Matheson at Vancouver Community College. I play for the Vancouver Dorf Music band. It is a Swiss/European band.There is a group of about eighteen or twenty of us. We play at traditional European events. Jay and I were playing down at the Hot Jazz Club for
WAYNE TARLING ~ 15
about four or five years. We met Jack Fulton, who is about eighty now. I remembered him from years ago. I went over and introduced him to Jay. He looked at Jay like a young “whipper-snapper” and leaned toward him and asked commandingly (just like Mr. D would), “Can you sight read?” Jay was about fifteen then, playing around sixteen hours a week from classical to jazz, and was sight reading a lot. He just smiled back. He ended up playing in various jazz groups and people have gotten to know him enough that he gets called regularly to fill in for various players. We were playing in the New West Senior Band one practice when Arnie Chycoski showed up and sat in for awhile. Jay was about twelve. He was sitting at one end of the row of trumpets, probably on third trumpet. Kerry gave out a piece called Stormy Weather, which was a trumpet solo, with a Harmon mute. When Arnie started playing, I put down my tuba and sat and listened. The sound that Arnie produced through that mute was like warm butter! I was in the same row as the trumpets, looking down the row of players I saw they were all staring intensely at their music, except for Jay, who was staring at Arnie.....soaking everything in. He had a good ear. That is what it is all about. I went over to Arnie after the practice and said,“Hi Arnie, I used to be a member of the Kits band.” “Oh hello,” he said. It was like a magical password. I introduced him to Jay. We had our instruments with us and he asked Jay what he was playing. Jay held up his trumpet and said,“It is a new French Besson.” Arnie replied, “Oh nice, that’s the Marvin Stamms trumpet. I was playing with him earlier this year in the States. How do you like it?” “It’s pretty good,” Jay replied. Then he said to
16 ~ Deryk Solby
Jay, “You have something in your second valve. You should have a look and clean it out.” Where did that come from? I thought he was just trying to impress the kid. We get home and Jay takes his second valve out and he has this little black speck. I don’t know how he knew that but he did, talk about good ears! I now play with the West Vancouver Community band, the North Shore Community band and the Dorf Music band. Jay and I also played with the West Point Grey Community band for a few years and put a short stint in with the Vancouver Firefighter’s band. I knew several of their members from the Kits band. Jay was pretty young and I wasn’t sure if there would be a problem, so I called up Brian Bolam (Mr Firefighter) to get his opinion and he totally embraced the idea. ”Bring him out!” Unfortunately, he was in fact too young for some of the “old boys” and it didn’t work out.... this time but likely he’ll be back. Jay ended up playing with Brian on other occasions and they both hit it off famously. It’s a small community! I’m looking forward to retiring so I can play more. It is relaxing. I feel like I am back in my element. One of the old Kits band stories, there was a fellow by the name of Deryk Solby. He was in the Kits band around 1960 or ‘61. He never went on a trip. He was an incredible drummer. A few days before Christmas, Delamont decided to have a couple of strolling groups dress up as tin soldiers. There was me, Deryk Solby and six or eight other wind instruments. We split into two groups outside the dining room of the Eaton’s store downtown, for a ‘Breakfast with Santa’ event. We had to paint moustaches above our lips. For the last fifteen years, I have belonged to a number of
WAYNE TARLING ~ 17
TOP: 1962 Wayne is the drummer on the left. Deryk Solby is the drummer on the right. BELOW: The younsters of the 1966 band trip. Shown here at the General Gordon School 100th Anniversary (2010) are (LtoR) George Bouwman, Wayne Tarling, George Ellenton, Don Luff, Rob Arseneau, Barry Leinbach and Wayne Pettie.
18 ~ Tak Maeda
community bands. None of them ever came close to matching the Kits band. Mind you, none of the band members would stay, if they had a conductor who acted like Delamont. The members would get up and leave. Back then of course we were kids and we knew we were on a mission. Mr. D told us we were going to an event...... to win! A lot of the conductors today, I think are looking for control. They think if you have a good band, they can play quiet. Delamont had us playing probably a quarter of the loudness of these community bands. We played quiet! You learned to play quiet or you heard about it. I remember playing rolls, tucked underneath the rim and he could hear it. I was the lead drummer. I would tell the guys, “Do like I do!” We had a row of six snare drummers all playing the typical 16 bar marching solo....Delamont style. The first 8 bars were totally controlled precise pounding. That was in the General Gordon school basement. It was deafening. It was followed by eight bars of the complete opposite... in a split second, we were playing the next eight bars and hardly anyone could hear us because they were still recovering from the first 8 bars. The audience could barely see our sticks moving.... and could barely hear us. The only evidence that something was happening was Mr. D was still conducting....something. In retrospect, it was cool....at the time. It was damn hard to do! But it was one of D’s trademarks. The community bands today, which are much senior, can’t or don’t want to play quiet. The conductors are constantly trying to hold them back, instead of letting them get it all out from time to time. There is only one conductor that I know of that lets his bands go full throttle and that is ‘Tak Maeda in
WAYNE TARLING ~ 19
the West Van and North Shore bands and now having said that, I recall ‘Doug Macaulay,’ from my short stint with the Vancouver Firefighter’s band, likes to go full throttle at times. His players say he is very motivating. He’ll play a pop piece and get them to let it all out and then go back to quiet. The dynamic range of the Kits band though was nothing like I have witnessed in the past twelve years.” “How do you think Arthur influenced your life?” “I would say the musical accomplishments with Mr. D and traveling the world. The organizing, the effort that goes into it all, on a consistent basis, year after year was a big influence. It was his life. Now that I am older, I appreciate his effort even more. As for the reunion concerts, the music comes out and I remember it all. It was ingrained; I didn’t need to even read it.” “What about with your sons, has it helped you give good musical advice?” “Oh yes, it’s the organization. Having known all these guys like Richard Christie, Wayne Pettie, Iain Petrie, Bill Ingeldew.... I know what a good trumpet sounds like. My oldest boy Bryce, left the sax for the trombone. He’s a natural on the trombone. He heard Bill Trussel play at a reunion. He said, “I didn’t know you could do that with a trombone!” “Who were the three most influential people in your life?” “Arthur of course was very influential and Jim Blackley, my drum teacher. He eventually left Vancouver. He went back to Toronto and then to New York. I heard he was giving master classes at Julliard and teaching almost every world
20 ~ Bert Emery
class jazz drummer presently touring. So he was pretty top notch and my father. There are people around today, who are in the know musically who want to be sure the Delamont name is not forgotten, such as yourself. Do you know Doug Macaulay?” “I talked to him once on the telephone.” They are building a community music room in West Vancouver that will be called the ‘Delamont Community Music Room,’ so, that’s good! That I know of.....Mr. D never asked for much. He had a musical passion, and his way of satisfying this passion was to assemble talented youth who wanted to make music and he told them how to do it.
1966 Wayne on the Eiffel Tower in Paris enjoying a day of site seeing!
Barry Leinbach “Bert Emery gradually backed away from Showboat and mom took over. She booked shows. In the early 1970s is when she officially took over. In the early 1980s, they refurbished the stage and rebuilt the dressing rooms. rooms. She became known as the ‘Captain of the Kits Showboat.’ She still runs it to this day.” Barry Leinbach was also in the band when I joined and an old friend. Barry’s mom Bea, ran the Kitsilano Showboat, a summer amateur performance event at Kitsilano Beach. These days Barry has taken over from his mom and can be seen at least four nights a week in the summers announcing the performers and running the Showboat. “How did you meet Arthur Delamont?” “Probably like many young guys our age, we met him through our mothers. One day, when I came home from school, my mother said, “Come on, we are going for a little ride.” We ended up at Arthur Delamont’s place. He lived up at thirteenth and Alma. He pretty much thrust a horn in my hand and said, “You’re a trumpet player.” There were four of us on a riser in his basement. We just
22 ~ President of the Women’s Auxiliary
sat there and blew noise through these instruments. He treated us all the same, no matter what our musical ability. Years later, I was blowing pretty good trumpet and he still had the same discipline. He never lost his patience with me. I really marveled at that. By that time, he had amassed quite a musical history, yet he was still interested in us little upstarts, the individual. Then, after school, we would go over to his house probably about twice a week for our lesson. I would have been in grade six, so I would have been around eleven years old in maybe 1961 or 1962. Finally one day he says, “Don’t come here anymore, go to General Gordon School.” I was playing pretty good noise by then. Of all the years I went, I am hard pressed to think of a time when he wasn’t there. His dedication was amazing. The only night he left was the night his wife died. Somebody came and talked to him. He didn’t say anything to us. He just got up and left. I played in his junior band for quite a while. In those days, he put on a concert every year at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. His junior band would play first. There were only about twenty of us ‘very amateurish kids,’ up on this stage in front of this huge audience. We would play three or four tunes and then be ushered off and the big band would come on stage but he made us feel just as important as the rest. I remember because we had to sell tickets. It was hard to sell the tickets to our aunts and uncles because they always ask,“How many pieces are you playing?” If we were only playing three or four pieces out of a two hour concert, they weren’t always that interested. Then one night at junior band rehearsal I heard the command: “You’re staying!” I was really nervous because my mother used to always
BARRY LEINBACH ~ 23
come and pick me up. Then I saw her standing in the back, so she knew. That was just before the 1962 trip. I wasn’t good enough to go but I remember them calling out the names of those going on the trip. There was no real surprise. I think a part of me kept saying, “Not me, not me, not me!” I was very young. Not ready for a world trip. There was a lot of nervousness that night. For me, it meant a holiday from band practice on Monday and Thursdays. Right up until the time he left, we practiced with the band at Connaught Park. On the 1966 trip, when we flew to England and arrived in Woolwich, a suburb of London, he said, “Everyone get out your instruments. We are going to have a practice.” In his mind we hadn’t played for twenty-four hours. We practised in the basement. Everyone was tired. I think the guys all thought the trip was going to be like a holiday. To Delamont it was, “We’re going to the band competition in Kerkrade, Holland so you better practice.” That’s when we all realized that we would be practicing once or twice a day but it didn’t matter, we all settled in. That’s how I met him.” “Do you have any stories or anecdotes from the early days?” “My family was a very strong family. When I was in the band, my mother was the President of the Women’s Auxiliary. There was a real group of people around the band who did a lot of work. I remember getting my uniform. I was driven over to a house near Granville and Fourteenth and I went up into the attic and I received my uniform. I was pretty proud. It meant that I was in the band.” “Tell me about the trumpet?”
1966 Kits Band Tour ~ Arriving in London
1966 The gang of â€˜66 upon arrival in London looking tired and weary after the long flight from Canada. Mike Gregg above carrying Mr Ds suits, Trevor Smith directly above our great alsto sax player, Pat Powell with the brush cut in the front row our amazing flute player, Ambassador in the making Keith Christie nest to Mr D, Jimmy Pattison Jr on Mr Ds other side, Mary Pattison at the far right with the dark hair and Mrs Kiernan outr other chaperone. A great bunch!
24 ~ Kerkrade, Holland
“When I started, I was playing one of Delamont’s trumpets. He had about six or seven. I guess he felt, if I was blowing one of his trumpets when I came, I wasn’t practicing at home. One day he had a conversation with my mom. The next thing I know is I have a shiny silver trumpet in my hand. He says, “Here, blow this!” Everybody seemed to nod approvingly of what I was doing. When it was time to leave, I took the shiny trumpet with me. But I said, “Why?” My mom said, “I just bought it for you.” I wish that I knew how much she paid for it. It was a King trumpet. I did some research on it recently and it was made in 1916. I still have it. I got it in 1963. Occasionally he would wear a trumpet out and he would move on to a new trumpet. Then his old trumpet would become available to the boys in the band. I am the only one that I know of who got one but I am sure over the years, others did as well. When you shined it up, boy was it pretty! It was kind of rare in those days to have a silver trumpet. Just before the 1966 trip, I got a new trumpet for the trip. I still play it every so often. I played it a couple of years ago at Showboat, when we played the Lost Chord. It sure brought back a lot of memories. All those times we played in Europe. It was a very touching moment.” “What do you recall about the 1966 trip?” “I remember Kerkrade, Holland. It was kind of a long day. I think the whole band was kind of numb to what was going on. I remember waiting to go on. I don’t think we were really nervous we were just all paying close attention to what was being said by Mr. D. Nobody wanted to step out of line. We were told to go out and sit down and open our music, which
BARRY LEINBACH ~ 25
was already out. It was all very professional. When we had all sat down, we heard a little bell go ‘ding.’ The adjudicators sat away in the back of the room. We couldn’t really see them. We played a hymn to warm-up. It was eerily quiet. We got applause for the hymn. The test piece we had played at every concert over the previous four weeks. It wasn’t toe tapping music. The audiences always looked rather oddly when we played it but it was meant to test the band with tempo changes and key changes. When we had finished, I remember thinking, “It sounded pretty good!” Nobody made a mistake. There was another ‘ding’ and we all got up and left the stage. I think that there were two test pieces. We went and sat down. Later when we were back in the hall, they announced the winners. We came second in the concert. There was some booing because some people, I guess, thought we should have gotten first place. Then, when they announced the winner, there was more booing! The next day, we went into the marching competition. I always wound up standing next to Mr. D. We marched around a track. I remember the judges walking through the rows, making sure everyone was playing. When we were walking to the bus, we heard that we had come first. I thought it was ironic because we were not really a marching band. I guess that we were the best sounding group that could march. I remember practicing our marching at General Gordon School before we left, back and forth, back and forth, getting the lines straight. We marched a lot before the competition. I remember in England, in some small town, marching around a blind curve, with rolling green hills all around and here comes this thirty-nine piece band, marching and playing,
1966 Kerkrade Music Festival, Holland
26 ~ Kursaal Ballroom
coming down a country road with nobody around, except for two people, who came out of nowhere. They just stood and watched us march past and down the road. We literally played at the drop of a hat. That was his way of ‘keeping us tight.’ We practiced in the bus one day, every opportunity! You always made sure that you were never too far from your instrument.” “Do you remember marching along the banks of the Rhine River in Cologne, Germany?” “Oh yes, we marched a long way. I remember when the big American bands came out and performed their big showy numbers. They were all American, USA, apple pie bands, with the majorettes out in front. I remember the audiences laughing at them. They didn’t go over that well in Kerkrade.” “I remember the 1966 trip was a lot tenser than the 1968 trip and it was because of going to the Kerkrade music festival.” “Yes, it would be. Paris was lots of fun. I remember in Paris we were marching along and Delamont comes across this plaza with about one hundred chairs, sitting, not being used. He says,“This is a good place to play a concert.” So, we took thirty-nine chairs, for the band to sit on and got our instruments out. We had played about two numbers, when a gentleman came over to Arthur and said,“I’m sorry but you have to pay for those chairs.”By this time there were a pretty fair number of people sitting listening to the concert but Delamont, true to his fashion had no intention of paying for the chairs and promptly ended the concert and we packed up and marched away.
BARRY LEINBACH ~ 27
One of the boys got very sick in Southend-on-sea. One of the chaperones went out and bought a bottle of detol. We all had to line up at the urinal on the fairground and gargle with this detol. It was pretty powerful!” “Do you remember the Kursaal Ballroom?” “Oh yes, we marched in the Carnival Parade. It was very long, as I recall. The Carnival Queens came over to where we were staying. One of them tried to blow my trumpet. We were all having a lot of fun until the chaperones decided that maybe we were having a little too much fun and ushered them away. The parade was very long and it stopped every so often and we sat down on the curb. In our youth hostel in Cologne, Germany, the proprietor didn’t like us. He would play his music really loud in the mornings and then run through the youth hostel screaming, “Get up, get up!” I think that we only stayed there two nights. It took me years to find out what the piece it was that he played each morning but I finally did. It was called El Silencia (In Silence). It was a beautiful trumpet piece that sounded a lot like the Lost Chord.” “Do you recall Dartmouth?” “Oh sure I remember Dartmouth. We stayed in a youth center on cots. One night we lifted one of the boys up and put him and his cot out on the street.” “Do you remember Arthur on the trip?” “Yes, he was always there for us. One day we had to move him and the chaperones to a new hotel. We carried his luggage. After we had finished, he turned around and gave us each a tip. He never showed any stress over Kerkrade. He loved to wear his uniforms. To me, he always was the same
28 ~ The Consummate Volunteer
age from the day that I met him until his funeral in 1982. He never seemed to get old to me. I think he was just there for the boys. I played in his UBC pep band right up to the end. He never got paid for playing at UBC.” “When you came back from the 1966 trip, what did you do?” “I went to Vancouver City College and got a diploma in computer studies that was when computers were just starting out. I remember talking to someone who said to me, “If you don’t apply at BC Hydro, I am going to kick your butt all around the block.” I went down to Hydro and applied and thirty-three years later, I took early retirement. We went through so many generations of computers, from the main frame, to the cumbersome personal computers, to the very fancy personal computers, to Blackberries. They used to say that computer technology doubles every ten years. Then, in the nineties, it changed to doubling every six months and then, in the mid ‘90’s, to every week. After that we just stopped saying anything. It got to the point, if you could think of it, it was probably obsolete.” “You have been involved with computer technology for thirty-three years?” “Yes, in various ways, either teaching computer courses or running teams that fixed computers. I moved around from department to department.” “When did you get involved with Showboat?” “I think it was before I was born!” “Conscripted were you?” “Yes, Showboat was always there. My mom volunteered
BARRY LEINBACH ~ 29
my services before I was born. Before I was around my parents lived up at fifty-seventh and Fraser Street. Then they moved to Kitsilano in 1948. I think that my mom got involved away back then. Mom was always community minded. She believed that if you were going to get involved in something, you needed to get involved with the organizing as well. Bert Emery went to Victoria in the early days before Showboat was built. He saw a stage set up in the inner harbor which was something similar to what he had envisioned for Kitsilano. He was the unofficial Mayor of Kitsilano. He owned a pharmacy. He put together a team that constructed a platform near the pool. Because it was the depression, he got all these entertainers who had daytime jobs, to come down and perform for free. At least they would be able to continue to ply their craft. Showboat became a venue for amateur and semi- professional entertainment. There was no where else in Vancouver that they could perform for free. That was about 1937. Showboat still holds the same philosophy, a place where amateur entertainers can perform before an audience. Mom is the consummate volunteer. She has volunteered for ‘Meals on Wheels.’ She helped start that in Vancouver. She was also involved in the ‘Lady Vancouver Club,’ the Heritage Club’ and on and on and on. Getting back to Showboat, volunteers are always hard to find for venues like Showboat. She wound up taking on more and more responsibility. Bert Emery gradually backed away and she took over. She booked shows. In the early 1970s is when she officially took over. In the early 1980s, they re-did the stage.
30 ~ Captain of the Kits Showboat
and rebuilt stage and rebuilt the dressing rooms. She became known as the ‘Captain of the Kits Showboat.’ She still runs it to this day. When your mother is so involved, it is really hard not to get involved yourself, do this, do that! I started working in the sound room and eventually became the secretary of the organization. And now I am the MC, about 90% of the time, ‘Mr. Showboat!’ I enjoy it because it keeps my skills sharp.” “You do it very well!” “Thank you.” “I was impressed the way you worked the crowd and got everyone involved.” “People come down to Showboat to be entertained and to look at the view and the pool. There is so much there. If the program wasn’t what you expected, then you can look at the mountains or watch the people swim in the pool. There is always something going on. I like people. I always like doing the ‘Bill Hughes’ thing, going out into the audience and talking to people. ‘Bill Hughes’ was on the radio. He used to go on the Greyhound buses and would say, “Today on the Greyhound bus we have....” I always found that interesting as a kid. So, I go out and get people to raise their hands, if they are from out of town and sort of interview them. I just try to keep the people entertained. The performers are good so you don’t want it to die during intermission. Then, in my private life, I do a lot of presentations across Canada and the US.” “How did you get involved in giving presentations?”
BARRY LEINBACH ~ 31
“Just because you retire, doesn’t mean you quit. Immediately when you retire, you become an expert on what you used to do. People say, “If you are retired now, then you must be an expert on computers.” I found myself sought after by different groups to do ‘customer service training,’ ‘help desk training’ and so on. That’s how it started but now I have moved out of the IT environment and just into motivating people on whatever. I find with doing these presentations, Showboat helps me keep those spontaneous skills sharp. My business, in turn, helps keep my enthusiasm alive for Showboat. Showboat is live. If you blow it, it’s there for everyone to see and hear. I am able to go on Showboat and get the audience cranked up because of my motivational speaking. Showboat people are there to be entertained. They will participate. They will get up out of their seats; wiggle their butts and so on. Basically do whatever I ask them to do. I like getting the audience motivated. By the time the act gets on stage, the audience is ready to see what they are all about. It’s a lot of fun!” “How often do you travel, doing presentations?” “I am trying to balance things. I am trying to enjoy retirement and I am also trying to enjoy the presentations. The idea was, it was a way that I could travel. I have been to Las Vegas a couple of times and to Nashville a couple of times; Dallas, Texas a couple of times. It gives me a chance to go to places I might not normally go. In Nashville, I got to see the ‘Grand Ole Opry.’ In Dallas, I went to see the ‘grassy knoll’ from the Kennedy assassination. I saw ‘Graceland’ in Memphis.” “You just travel in North America?”
32 ~ Firefighter’s Band
“Yes, I have had offers to go to Europe but it is kind of along jaunt.” “How do you make the connections?” “My connections are mostly word of mouth. People will have heard me speak and then call me to speak at their function. I may have a topic that they love. Now a days, people want to learn something as well as be entertained, which is what I try to do. I am well known for having a lot of content in my presentations.” “What was the most exciting place you have been?” “The people in Nashville are extremely friendly. I have been there twice and both times the people were great. Vegas is very tourist orientated. It is a faster pace. Nashville has the whole package.” “Do you think traveling with the band got you interested in traveling?’ “I don’t know. I was pretty young when I went on the band trip to Europe in 1966. But I sometimes see museums or television programs and recognize places, we went on the trip. I guess that it helped me realize that there is an awful lot more out there than what I am aware.” “I always feel at home when I travel.” “So do I, very quickly I fall into a regimen. I will always talk to people on the street, as well. I have been to Panama. You have to be smart about it all though.” “Have you kept up your playing over the years?” “No, I just play around the reunion concerts except, about three or four years ago, I was approached by the ‘Firefighter’s band’ and asked if I wanted to join. I have always had a very high regard for that band. Lots of ex-Kits boys in there.
BARRY LEINBACH ~ 33
It has been around since 1926. I went down and really enjoyed it. I noticed a lot of similarities between the Kits band and the Firefighter’s band, especially between members. Sit sharp, dress sharp, look sharp and hold your horns sharp, that was all Delamont! You can look around the Firefighter’s band and see right away which ones were Kitsie boys. It became a habit with all of us. It is a very good band and there are some very good musicians in that band. They have a lot of fun. They take their music seriously but still have fun. Mostly active and retired firefighters with a few supplements when necessary.” “How active are they?” “Oh, they are very active. They play quite a bit. At least once a month, they are out playing somewhere. They are the unofficial band for the ‘City of Vancouver.’ With the Olympics coming up, they will be more involved than ever before. They play civic functions and parades;’ Point Grey Days,’ ‘New West Days’ and a lot of funerals as well I am afraid. They are a very tight group who look after their own. I have told them, “I am very proud to be a member of your organization.” They understand when I am in town, I am available. If I am out of town, of course, I am not but I can regulate my schedule.” “Tell me what the whole ‘Kits’ experience meant to you so many years later?” “Being in the band taught me a lot of life skills. I think a lot of kids today are missing those skills, discipline and courtesy. If a child now a days says, “Thank you!” That is more of an exception than a rule. However, in my
34 ~ MC at Showboat
day, if you didn’t say thank you, you got smacked on the side of the head for not being polite. Even today, if I hold the door open for someone, it doesn’t even occur to me that I have an option. So, the lessons have stayed with me. It’s always been said, “No one in the band has ever turned out bad.” And that is true!” “The guys have all gone on to have great careers, both in music and out of music.” “The band sure influenced my life at the time. We got to travel. We got to see Europe. It was pretty incredible, fitting into the team, lots of skills! One of the big things we learned was that there were consequences if you didn’t fulfill your obligations and that was an important thing for a sixteen year old to learn. If you missed a concert or a rehearsal, Arthur would be conducting a piece and as soon as he was done, he would say, “Where were you on Saturday?” Nothing got by him, so everyone showed up. There was discipline but there was also a lot of respect. There really was no option.” “Who are the three people who have influenced your life the most?” “People come and go in your life all the time. I think people come into your life for a reason and then they leave for a reason. My parents have always been a big influence on my life as has my family in general. My dad had a real strong sense of family. My aunts and uncles were like an extended family. They were not distant. They were very close. We saw them on a regular basis, at least once a month. They also had a high sense of morals. They taught me about the good side of life, how to be respectful to people. My mom, as I said
BARRY LEINBACH ~ 35 RIGHT: Barry as the MC for the Firefighterâ€™s band at Showboat.
BELOW: Barry as MC at Showboat with some of the dancers backstage in the dressing rooms.
36 ~ A Great Respect For Older People
is the consummate volunteer. She volunteered for so many organizations, that it encouraged me to volunteer as well. I belong to an organization to give back to it, so others can carry on. Arthur Delamont was one of those who came and went in my life. He taught me about discipline, life skills, music of course, consequences, he often pushed people to be better than they thought they could be. When he stood over me, from behind, I played a whole lot better. It made me want to please him and please myself. He taught me how to make the band look good. A lot of that kind of discipline does not exist anymore or not as much.” “Were there any other influences?’ “A lot of people, who came into my life and then left, left a little jewel with me such as my grandmother, my brother and sister. Everyone has dropped me a little nugget. A little post note that said, “Remember this through your life.” What to look for in the future. I prefer to hang out with good people like people from the ‘vintage car club.’ Older people, who I have met, have told me, “You need to keep active when you retire, not only physically but mentally.” There were lots of little influences along the way.” “Do you think knowing Arthur, gave you a respect for elderly people?” “I have always had a lot of older people around me, both at Showboat and in my family. I have always had a healthy respect for people who have already been there and done it all. They are like walking encyclopedias.” “I am sure it did for me. I have always had a great respect for older people.”
BARRY LEINBACH ~ 37
Barry above with Mayor Sam Sullivan and the Vancouver Firefighterâ€™s Band seated on stage.
38 ~ Ken Hopkins
“My grandmother used to tell me stories from her life. They were just amazing!” “I never knew my grandparents.” “Arthur also taught me, that it was okay to take chances, as in Montreal in 1967, when he marched us through the fairgrounds, without permission.” “Do you remember Dave McKenzie?” “Oh yes, I remember we were all riding around Paris in a bus, when we first arrived, eveyrone except Dave. We just wanted to go to our accomodations but we didn’t have any accomodations. Dave was out looking for some place for us to stay. He worked his buns off for us on that trip. I really admired him for that!” “Yes, he certainly did. He certainly did.”
ABOVE: Barry with his mother Bea ‘Captain Bea.’
Rob Arseneau “My dad played at the old Pantages theatre. There was a banjo player in the US named Eddy Peabody. My dad played with him at ‘Sherman Clay Music’ in Seattle. In the old days, they used to put on an act in the window to draw a crowd. Before WWII, my dad, his name was Joe Arseneau, had three national broadcasts a day from the Hotel Vancouver.” Rob Arseneau was also in the band when I joined. He was one of our two lead trumpet players on the 1966 band tour of Europe. Rob just started playing his trumpet again and can be found in the trumpet section of several community bands. “How old were you when you started playing the trumpet?” “I was ten. I started with the Vancouver Junior Symphony. I got into that through my teacher. His name was ‘Ken Hopkins.’ He also played first trumpet with the VSO. Late in 1962, I wound up at General Gordon School. I sat down on the third chair of the Junior Kits band. Richard Christie who had brought me down, was on his way up to
40 ~ Richard Christie
the senior band. He had been there already for a while. Delamont said to me “Play a B flat chord.” “I didn’t knowwhat he was talking about. He says, “Ah, you don’t know anything!” But I kept going. In about a month, I was promoted to the senior band. Bill Ingledew, Rod Grady and Bruce Calder were still playing in the trumpet section. Jack Wright was still playing. I was sure happy playing with all those guys. I got up to first trumpet, behind the solo chair. I remember in the fall of 1963, we were having a rehearsal in the basement of General Gordon School. Mr. D looks at me and says, “Take the solo.” It was Autumn Leaves. I got really nervous. After I finished, he didn’t say a word. At the end of the practice he says, ‘You’re going to play it at the Queen Elizabeth.” For about two weeks I was terrified. I had nightmares. When it was over I said, “I’m never going to do that again.” I suffered badly from nerves. After the 1962 trip, a lot of the veteran trumpets left the band. I was just a little guy coming up and I think that is why he had me play the solo. In 1964, we competed in the Kiwanis Music Festival. That same festival, I was with another group, the Vancouver Junior Symphony Brass Ensemble. It was led by ‘Robert Creech.’ He was the 1st French horn player in the VSO. Just brilliant! The adjudication gave us 94 points. I didn’t need to play any solos, just blend in. I saw Delamont after and he said, “Well Robert that was really something!” For him to say that, that was really something. Then the trip to Europe, in 1966 came along. When I first joined the band in the fall of 1962, I was playing football with an original league over at Chaldeott Park.
ROB ARSENEAU ~ 41
I remember coming in about ten minutes late for a sectional rehearsal at Mr. D’s house on 4th Avenue. He says, “You’re late!” I said, “I am sorry. I just came from a football game.” He says, “No, that won’t do. You’ll have to choose. ”There was no choice. I knew I wasn’t going to be a football player. I remember the trumpet trios of the 1966 trip. There was Richard Christie, myself and Doug Tuck. We were good but nothing like Arnie Chycoski or Donny Clark. Arnie is a legend and of course Roy Johnston from the most famous bands of the thirties, who I had the privilege of meeting. I remember Terry Cromie who played trombone. His dad was Don Cromie, who had been in the band in the thirties. Terry had this 1940 Ford hot rod. We looked up to these guys. Richard fell in Calgary in 1964, and hurt himself. We were staying at the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry base. He was swinging on the beds and the beds slid on the floor. He hit his head and he was sent home. I remember in Paris, in 1966, Bryan MacKinnon had food poisoning. He wound up in the hospital. He had eaten some fish soup and he was allergic to fish. We were staying at the Lycee St. Louis, on the Boulevard St. Michel, on the left bank. My dad played at the old Pantages theatre. There was a banjo player in the US named ‘Eddy Peabody.’ My dad played with him at ‘Sherman Clay Music’ in Seattle. In the old days, they used to put on an act in the window to draw a crowd. Before WWII, my dad, his name was Joe Arseneau, played and broadcast on live radio CJOR, CKWX and CKMO. He could be heard all over Canada and along the US
1966 Kits Band Tour ~ Scenes of Paris
ABOVE: 1966 Four boys on a statue in Europe. (These four photos courtesy of Rob Arseneau)
BELOW: 1966 Waiting at an airport.
ABOVE: 1966 Richard Christie in Paris
BELOW: 1966 The band in Europe. Malcolm Brodie is wearing the blue jeans.
42 ~ Dave McKenzie
border. He knew Arthur. He was very pleased when I joined the Kits band. My dad was a very quiet person. He had a bad war. He never really got going again. In 1959, he was offered a job playing in Hawaii but didn’t take it. He had been a child prodigy on violin but then he switched to the banjo. It broke my grandfathers’ heart!” “Did he ever mention Arthur?” “All he said was, when I told him that I had joined the Kits band, “He’s about the best there is!” The Kits band was very famous. My mom and dad met at the Barclay Manor when it was a boarding house in the west end, in the early 1930s. They knew Arthur’s band. I tell everybody in my taxi about the reunion concert next summer. Everyone is interested. It is our history.” “What do you recall about the 1966 band?” “It was a cracker-jack band. They all had that incredible vitality. It’s almost like a dream and we were just boys!” “In the 1930s and 1950s, his bands could play better than most adult bands.” “That’s true!” “Do you remember anything else about the 1966 trip?” “One of the best concerts we played on that tour was at the Kursaal Ballroom in Southend-on-Sea. Dartmouth brings back a lot of good memories as well.“ “Anything about any of the fellows you want to say?” “Dave McKenzie was our manager of course. He came back and managed Arthur’s 1968 and 1970 trips as well. I remember in’67 at Expo, Dave had to deliver a big motor yacht to someone in Montreal. It was docked at La Ronde.
ROB ARSENEAU ~ 43
Richard and I stayed a couple of nights on board. Dave was the President of the student council and Valedictorian of his graduating class at Lord Byng High School in Vancouver. He did a ‘great’ job of finding us places to stay in England on the 1966 trip. I remember the army base where we stayed in Leeds. I remember Wally got the mumps somewhere. I was married in 1972. I went out to see Arthur in White Rock a couple of times but my life was pretty much set with family and kids on the way. I remember thinking, “I had put in my time by 1967. “ There were some good trumpet players coming up then like Wayne Pettie and Iain Petrie. You really had to embrace what Arthur was all about if you were going to get along in the organization. I remember the first time that I saw Arthur. I didn’t think of him as an old man. He was just very handsome, with his white hair. He had grown a goatee. He was just very cool looking. “Did he look like Colonel Sanders?” “No, he just had his own style. The moms all loved him. He was always very gallant around the ladies. I remember marching in the PNE parade.” “Have you always driven taxi?” No, I’ve done all sorts of things. I have operated restaurants, driven trucks. I had ‘Cafe Madelene’ up on west 10th avenue. Vera used to come in for brunch regularly with some lady friends. That was about 1986 or ‘87. The last thing I did was to help operate a bottling plant. The thread through it all is, I never stopped playing. I haven’t played the trumpet for a while, I play mostly the guitar now.” “How did you get reconnected with the alumni group?” “Last summer I was running the concession stand at Kits
1966 The band performing a concert in the Kursaal Ballroom in Southend-on-Sea.
44 ~ Malcolm Brodie
Beach and Barry Leinbach came by. So we met again after some forty years. He is a great guy, thoughtful, quiet.” “Mr. Showboat!” “That’s right, who would have ever thought. I went to the last concert and I saw him announcing, so, it is all good!” “Anything else you want to add?” I remember the memorial service for Arthur. There was a lot of emotion in that room. It was a tough one. I do not know how the guys played.” “I was teaching band back east. I dedicated a hymn to him and played it with my senior band.” “Afterwards, Richard and Malcolm Brodie and a couple of others, we all went down to ‘Bridges Restaurant,’ to talk over the old days. I remember when I joined the band, Arthur was already seventy-two or seventy-three. Then in 1966 when we marched in the Carnival parade in Southend-on-Sea, it was very long. I remember thinking, “If he can do it, I can do it!” He used to say, “Once they get to be seventeen, you can’t tell them anything!” He used to start the boys off at a young age. Talk about a psychologist. Getting the boys to play like adults was amazing. To see the older fellows playing, when I first joined, I thought that’s how good you had to be. They seemed like men but they were only a few years older than we were. You just did it! I remember when I was eight, I got this bugle given to me. My dad said, “You are too young to start.” I could actually play it, so I guess it came easy. I could just do it. It was more a matter of me keeping myself under control. Al Lehtonen
ABOVE: 1966 Left to Right Graeme Montieth, Tony Negrin, Rob Arseneau, Barry Leinbach, Keith Christie and Mr. D with two CP Air stewardesses upon departure for Europe. BELOW: 2008 Rob with his grandchildren.
46 ~ Al Lehtonen (Wally)
(Wally) studied with ‘Ken Hopkins’ as well. He only had about four students at the time. There was a brother and a sister who were blind. The girl played euphonium and the boy played trumpet. They were unbelievable, I would go early just to hear them, all memorized, only sixteen or seventeen years old. “Tell me who the three people were who influenced your life the most?” “I have to say Arthur for sure. Another person was Harry Gomez. He conducted the Vancouver Junior Symphony. He was a beautiful, gentle, gifted musician. He was older like Delamont. Those were two big influences for sure. They stand out and the third, I would say were my parents. They were older. When I turned forty, my mother was eighty-two. My father was a gifted musician. He had no business being in the army. He played in later years. He made a recording in San Francisco in 1963, with ‘Anson Weeks,’ who was playing at the Mark Hopkins Hotel. Anson’s dad had led the band there for over thirty years - ‘Top of the Mark.’ He was an institution. He was hired to play a session, very talented! I’m happy to say, I was able to save the masters and I had the entire session put on to CD, so his great grandchildren can hear echoes of his brilliance.” The Four Deuces, LtoR, Joe Arseneau, Arnold Moller, Curly Kemp and Ray Norris at CKWX
Don Luff “Buddy Rich was my hero. He was in town at Isy’s in the sixties. My cousin and I went down with my uncle to see him play. My uncle worked for London Records and he took us to the show. We sat through the first set and then during intermission, my uncle went back stage. He comes back and says, “Hey guys, come with me.” We went back into Buddy’s dressing room and had an audience with GOD for about ten minutes.” Don Luff was another one of the solid drummers we had in the band in the mid-sixties. Don played professionally for many years and still comes out to reunions. “How did you meet Arthur Delamont?” “I started in his junior band around 1960. I was nine years old. I am a third generation drummer. My grandfather, Vic Luff, was probably the most prolific drummer of the three of us. He played vaudeville in Winnipeg. Out here, he taught drums. He played with the VSO and on the radio. My dad
48 ~ Vancouver Rube Band
also played with the VSO, as did my Aunt. She was a violinist. It was through them that I got to meet Arthur Delamont. They thought that I should get into the band.” “Do you recall any early band stories?” “I do not recall anything specific. That was a long time ago. He was a strong disciplinarian, with a heart. He would scream at you one moment and then love you the next. I think that he loved everyone that was in his band.” “Do you want to say anything about any of the other guys?” “I remember Bob Calder, Bruce Calder, Bill Ingledew and Bill Millerd. They were all there when I joined. They all went on the 1962 trip but I was just a kid of eleven, so I didn’t go. Dave McKenzie was another one I remember from those days. After the ‘62 trip, I started moving up in the band. My dad moved from Winnipeg to Vancouver about 1937 and brought my mom out some years later when the got married. My dad played in Arthur’s pro-band. My dad was never in Kits. Dad played the boat jobs with Arthur and he played with Dal, for the football games at ‘Empire Stadium.’ I played in both those bands later on as well.” “Did you take over from your dad?” “A little bit, I guess I did in a way. I started playing professionally with Mr. D when I was in grade twelve. I played for the football games with Dal from the late 1960’s until they moved downtown in 1982. My granddad started to get arthritis just about the time I joined the Kits band, so he didn’t play much after that time. My grandfather was in the symphony for many years. My dad played in the ‘Vancouver Rube Band.’ I kind of took
DON LUFF ~ 49
over from him in that band when he retired to Vancouver Island. He eventually passed away in 2003. In his last few years, my dad was living at’ Carlton Lodge.’ I noticed a sign one day saying that Dal Richards was bringing a band over to play some Christmas tunes. I figured that I had better make sure that my dad did not miss that event. I knew Dal of course. After they were through, I went up to talk to Dal. My dad was sitting in the corner. By this time he had dementia and he was pretty much unrecognizable. Dal went over and spoke to him. Dad enjoyed that! Dad used to play the exhibition every year. I also worked there for a number of years. It was a great time. Lance Harrison was there. We all hung out together, great times! “What do you recall about the 1966 band trip?” “I was fifteen. It was the biggest thing that had ever happened to me. We had lots of freedom. I grew up a lot on that trip. I remember in Cologne, my uncle, who was stationed in the Air Force, came over to see us when we were practicing our marching on the banks of the Rhine. Kerkrade was impressive. I remember the band that we lost to in the concert competition had over one hundred players. I truly believe that we came in second because the band that won had all the parts covered and all the instrumentation. I remember winning the gold in the marching competition. We sounded pretty good and we were not even a marching band but we sure sounded the best! Then we went to Madrid. We saw the bullfights. We were horrified when they killed the bull but we were all in attendance. The 1968 trip was more relaxing than the 1966 trip, likely because we did not enter any competitions. I think the 1968
50 ~ Chris Ketchum
band was a stronger band. The trumpet trio was made up of Iain Petrie, Wayne Pettie and Chris Ketchum. I remember Mr. D saying, “They are the best trumpet trio I have ever had!” He was pretty proud of that trio.” “It might have just been for the moment. I think he must have said that of all his trios at the time, who knows!” “True, who knows but it would be pretty hard for Arthur to run a band today. The kids have too many things to do now a days. It would be hard to get the guys to play in a band for that matter. I remember though, if you couldn’t cut it, he wouldn’t take you on the trip. You had to play at a certain level. There were guys who were upset because they didn’t get to go on a trip. The 1966 trip was all about growing up. I was probably the most mature kid in my high school when I returned in September.” “Do you remember Dartmouth?” “Oh yes, Dartmouth became our home away from home, especially in 1968. I remember the carnival and the regatta. We had lots of girl friends. We had a lot of fun. Delamont wasn’t as strict musically in ‘68. We still played three times each day though but we didn’t have the stress of the competition. I made a lot of good friends in that band, Wayne Pettie, Iain Petrie, Marek Norman to name a few. After the 1968 trip, I continued playing in the Kits band until 1970. For about six months I worked at Sears on Kingsway. Then, after a bunch of us were laid off I began getting busier professionally. My plan was to go to BCIT but I didn’t think I could afford to go on the 1970 trip and try to go to BCIT as well.
DON LUFF ~ 51
Thus, I made a conscious decision not to go on the 1970 trip. I had been on two, so I thought that it best I get on with my life. Mr. D was living in White Rock. I called him up and said, “Are you going to be home tomorrow night? I need to come down and see you.” “What did he say?” “I do not think he was very happy but I think he understood. I think that he respected the fact that I had come down to tell him in person. I had been in the band for ten years and he knew that. He knew that I had to have a life after the band. I enjoyed everything associated with the band. I went on the 1966 and ‘68 band trips to Europe and I went to Montreal in 1967. I also went to Los Angeles with his White Rock band. That was about 1969.” “Tell me about that trip?” “I think that it was over the Easter break. Just for a few days. We took a bus. There were probably about eight or ten Kits guys that went on that trip. Wendy Loewen was on the trip. She was in the White Rock band. Barry Miller took his cordovox on the 1968 trip. That was lots of good fun.” “Do you have anything else that you want to say about the trips?” “Nothing specific, just that they were the best experiences a kid could have. The memories and the life long bond we have with every member that ever played in the band. Eventually, I went to BCIT and graduated with a marketing diploma. Over the next 10 years I worked for a number of different companies. Sauder Industries was one. In 1982, I started at BC Tel, which became TELUS in the late 1990s.
Southend-on-Sea, Mansion House
1966 Tea with the Lord Mayor of Southend-on-Sea. The band is seen above on the back lawn of Mansion House with the Lord and Lady Mayor (Mayoress). A very young Don Luff directly above with me behind, Jimmy Jr next to the chaperones, Dave McKenzie is at the far left with the sunglasses.
52 ~ Jack Bensted
I worked for TELUS for nearly twenty-six years. I was always in the sales field; business consulting and so on....” “It sounds like it was a good career.” “It was a great career. BC Tel was sort of like the band, one big happy family but like most big businesses, it merged and became larger. It was still a great company to work for but with a less harmonious feel. Gary Wilson was among those Kits guys who worked at BC Tel/TELUS. It was a real family affair. I took early retirement in 2007.” “What do you do now?” “I play a little more golf, although I am not necessarily getting any better. I enjoy being around home but may look for some part time work, who knows! Everybody says, “The time sure flies when you retire and it is true. It’s hard to know where the days go. We like to travel a bit. We have gone to the Dominican Republic. We have some plans for other trips in the future.” “Did you ever go back to Europe after the band trips?” “Yes, when I was a young single guy, I went to England and southern Spain with friends in 1973 and in 1977. On the latter trip, we also went to Oktoberfest in Munich. “My wife’s Norwegian cousin has a villa in Spain. In 2002 we had the pleasure of staying with them. In 2006, we made the trip to Norway to see the country and the many relatives she has there.” “What does the whole experience of being in the band mean to you now, some forty years later?” “It was one of the big building blocks of the person I became. Arthur taught us all to be good people and to work hard at whatever we do. It was a unique organization. There
DON LUFF ~ 53
ABOVE: The Vancouver Rube Band, Don, Eric Muir - trumpet, Wally Poole - Tuba, Ken Buckoll - Trumpet, Jack Bensted - Sax and Ernie Defoe - Trombone
54 ~ Ed Parker
were not many around like this one. It was a very nostalgic time for all of us! The friendships were never ending. When I was working at BC Tel, I had the Jim Pattison Industries account. I knew the controller for the company. We were having lunch together and during the course of the lunch, I mentioned that I had been on the 1966 band trip with Mrs. Pattison as chaperone and Jimmy Jr. as one of our trumpet players. He says to me,“Come on up to the office with me.” He left me wandering around in the hallway. In a minute or two, he came back and said, “Don, come with me.” The two of us sat down with Jimmy and talked about Kits band stuff for fifteen minutes. That would never have happened without the Kits band connection. It was great! There is a bond between all former band members.” “Who were the three people who influenced your life the most?” “I would have to say Delamont. He would be right up there because of the things he taught us. My grandfather would be another. We were very close. He taught me how to play. He was my mentor and a great drummer. He passed away in 1977. I was on a trip to Spain. While I was there, I had this strange thought go through my head. “What if something happened to him while I’m away? What would I do?” It just popped in and out again. Just about the same time that I had that thought, he had been admitted to Shaughnessy Hospital. He died about two days after I returned home. My parents were also great influences on me. When young, you don’t really appreciate the sacrifices they made so that I could take part in all the travel and experiences with the band. Now I know!
DON LUFF ~ 55
When I was six, I wanted to play the piano. My grandmother was a piano player. There was a well respected piano teacher in North Burnaby named Edward Parker. His nephew is John Kimura Parker. He is a concert pianist who tours all over the world. My mom and dad and my brother and I, all went to see Ed Parker. He says, “Six is a little young to start them on the piano. I prefer to start them at eight.” My brother, who was eight at the time, got to play the piano. By the time I was eight, I didn’t want to play piano anymore. I got to play drums. My brother became quite a good piano player. He is a school teacher now on Vancouver Island. I think I made the right choice. My dad was the President of the band association for a year or so. He was a chaperone on a trip to Calgary that the band made in 1962/63. Mom was the president of the Ladies Auxiliary for a few years. Buddy Rich was my hero. He was in town at Isy’s in the sixties. My cousin and I went down with my uncle to see him play. My uncle worked for London Records. Rich was on the London label in Canada and my uncle was able to get us tickets. We sat through the first set and during intermission, my uncle went back stage. He comes back and says, “Hey guys, come with me.” We went back into Buddy’s dressing room and had an audience with GOD for about ten minutes. It was the thrill of a life time. I still have all his LP records.” “Do you remember anything he said to you?” “As a matter of fact I do. I used to play a bit of ice hockey as a kid. I got a stick in the mouth and I had a few stitches on my top lip. I remember him saying, “What does the other guy look like?”
56 ~ Departing Woolwich Arsenal, London
1966 Departing Woolwich above Mike Gregg, Jimmy Pattison Jr and Rob Arseneau
1966 Waiting for our flight. Far left Dave Scoular, seated left Keith Christie, Al Lehtonen, Rob Trousdale and Richard Christie
LEFT: Colin our bus driver, Dave McKenzie (manager), Iain Petrie above.
George Ellenton “I studied Russian ballet as well. I am recognized by Nadia Kalmanovskaya in California who has stated that I qualify to teach the first two levels of the Vaganova Ballet technique. That is the technique used by the the Maryinsky (Kirov) Ballet. I have been down to Los Angeles to do shows with her as a performer and emcee.” George was one of the older boys on the 1966 Kits Band tour of Europe. He has been playing the bass horn now for 50 years! Mr. D often relied on him to do errands for him on the tour. I will let George tell you more about that. “When did you join the Kits band?” “In 1963, I was in the Richmond High School Band. Our bandmaster, Jack Habkirk, had been in the Kits Band, as had most of the music teachers in the lower mainland at that time. He said, “You’ve got to get into a more challenging band.” There was a Richmond District Junior Band at that time as well as a Richmond District Senior Band. Jack ran the junior band until Al Horrocks, who ran the senior band, moved into Vancouver, then Jack moved over to the senior band. Jack was at Palmer Elementary. Bernie Reid, the
58 ~ Mike Gregg
night school principal, came up with the idea for the district bands.” “When did the district bands start in Richmond?” “The district bands started about 1962. I started playing in 1959. This year will be my 50th year playing the tuba. Jack said, “Call Mr. Delamont up and tell him you are a student of mine and that you would like to join the Kits Boys’ Band.” I took my heart in my hand and telephoned Mr. Delamont. I had just finished playing the Flying Dutchman in the Lower Mainland All Star Band with Fred Turner.” “Was that for competition?” “No, I think it was just Fred Turner’s idea. I was also in the BC All Star Band as well that year. That was in Victoria. I called Mr. Delamont and I said, “I’m George Ellenton. I am a tuba player in Jack Habkirk’s band in Richmond. He says, “Oh John’s band, yes, are you any good?” I said “I think I’m pretty good Mr. D. I was just in both the Lower Mainland and BC All Star Bands and we played the Flying Dutchman. He says, “Have you got a tuba?” I said, “Yes, I just got a new tuba.” He says, “Well bring it along.” I show up on Monday night for the junior band - the early rehearsal. I go to open my tuba case and no key. I had left the key at home. I had only had the horn about a week and I took it to school every day and I always locked it up. He says, “What, what are you doing back there?” “Well, I locked my case and I forgot to bring the key.” “Well geez, uph, gosh!” He’s flustering around, as he was oft to do, and then he says, “Well, get one of the sousaphones out of there.” I had never seen a sousaphone except on TV, let alone played one.
GEORGE ELLENTON ~ 59
I finally got this thing on, no shoulder pad, 700 pounds it seemed, strange mouthpiece. I was so uncomfortable but I was a good player in those days, so I adapted and got through the rehearsal. He says, “You can stay for the second rehearsal but if the guys show up you will have to give up the horn but maybe they can get your case open.” Sure enough, one of the fellows, Jamie Hawthorne showed up. Big Mike Gregg comes in with his French horn, which happened to be a Huttle - the same make as my locked up tuba in the case. He says, “Mike, is that a Huttle horn you got?” “Yes Mr. D.” “Unlock that IDIOT’s tuba case!” He took his French horn key over to my tuba case and unlocked the case. The tuba case has never been locked since. I had heard all the stories about Mr. D, the tyrant, so now I knew why.” “Are there any other early stories?” “At one rehearsal he was picking on Graeme Monteith, a clarinet player. He usually had a chair near by that he could bash around. At this particular rehearsal he didn’t have a chair. He gets up and starts thrashing around and he says to Graeme, “You, get up!” Graeme gets up and Mr. D starts bashing his chair into the ground and it breaks. He tosses it off to the side and says to Graeme, “What are you doing standing there? Go get a chair and sit down.” That was one of his famous temper tantrums.” Charlie Forester and I went through Junior and Senior High school together. He became a geologist with
60 ~ George Bouwman
Imperial Oil. I heard he went down to South America to do exploration work for Imperial Oil.” “Can you tell me anything more about Jack Habkirk?” “He was a great bassoon player and tenor saxophone player. He also became a great trumpet player. He began playing trumpet when he started teaching band. He was a really neat guy. He played in the Lion’s band. He passed away about 1967. Jack told me a story about the boys practicing their marching on the deck of the ship going over to England in 1934. One of the boys was having problems with his slide and the next thing they heard was, “Slide-Over-Board.” Jack played in Mr. D’s professional band. He played the cruise ships in and out. He was in the VSO. He was a good musician. He had what all the Delamont guys have, the ability to program.” “Tell me about your early days in the band, leading up to the 1966 European trip.” “We traveled to Alberta by bus in the summer of 1965, and played at the Calgary Stampede and Edmonton’s Klondike days. In the summer of 1964, we had traveled to Penticton for the Peach Festival. They were fun trips. I remember I fell asleep on the beach in Penticton and returned to put on my uniform for the concert, all sunburned. It isn’t much fun marching in wool pants with sunburned legs. The lead-up to the 1966 trip was fun. The playing gradually got a little more intense and we started marching in the General Gordon School yard. Both my mom and dad had been drill sergeants during the Second World War. They would come to pick me up and to watch. They were not impressed by our first efforts. However, they were very impressed by the time we
GEORGE ELLENTON ~ 61
returned from Kerkrade. Every foot was in place when we marched triumphantly down Granville and Hastings streets at our homecoming.” “Tell me about the 1966 European trip.” “I had not planned on going on the trip. I had just wasted a year, ‘65-66, at SFU. I majored in cards. I had decided that I was going to straighten up and go back to SFU. I had a job in a pool hall in Richmond. I was a pretty good pool player in those days. I had a good salary and was managing to bank most of my salary. Delamont said to me, “Are you coming on the trip?” I said, “I don’t think so Mr. D. I have to stay and earn some money.” He says,“The trip to Europe would be far more valuable than a year at university. If you come up with your spending money, I will pay for your trip.” I couldn’t beat that, so I went and he paid my way. When we returned, I owed him $20. The week after we returned, I applied for a job and got it at the Bank of Nova Scotia. After getting my first pay cheque, the first cheque I wrote was to pay off Arthur. He was quite good to me. I was the concertmaster on the 1966 trip. I didn’t really do anything except start one rehearsal when he was held up. He used to give me a hard time about my conducting. He would say, “You have no pattern!” Imagine, him telling me I had no pattern, he was all over the place but it worked for him. I remember someone saying once, “There are two volumes to a Delamont band, loud and ‘Oh my God.’ The trip was exciting. I was kind of a father confessor figure, I guess because I was older. I kept a diary of the trip but, unfortunately, I can’t find it. I remember some of us did a pub crawl in Woolwich Arsenal. In Edinburgh, George Bouwman and I decided we
62 ~ Wally!
would have a drink in every pub along the street from where we stayed to Princess Street. We were so bombed! I remember the kindness Mr Delamont showed me in Kerkrade. I had a migraine headache. We were supposed to march into town after the marching event. We went back to our home stay and I lay down. I usually sleep off the migraines. When I woke up, I could hear the band playing. I got my uniform on, put the sousaphone together and caught up with the band in time for the last number. After we had finished, Mr D came over and said,“What happened?” I said, “I’m sorry Mr D. I had a migraine headache and passed out.” He said “Okay, I hope you feel better.” It wasn’t a big deal. He was good that way. I remember Wally, which was of course was the name we gave him, his guardians at the airport told Mr D that he was not to go anywhere that alcohol was being served and that he was to be in bed by such and such an hour. All good Christian values as they saw it. When we got off the bus at Woolwich Arsenal, Mr. D said, “Wally, I’m thirsty. Go into that pub over there and get me an orange pop. That was Mr D being defiant. Don’t let the boy go anywhere near where there is alcohol. Wally, go into the pub and get me an orange pop. I always remembered the theory if we were supposed to be somewhere at say two o’clock, if Mr D arrived at 2:10, he was not late, we were all early. It was a great trip! In Cologne one of the valves on my sousaphone was sticking so Mr D said, “Go find a music repair shop and get it fixed.” I looked in the yellow pages and found a shop, all in German of course. There I am walking down a street in Cologne, in my slacks, sweat shirt and sports jacket with
GEORGE ELLENTON ~ 63
the body of the sousaphone wrapped around my shoulder. I eventually find the shop and the fellow of course speaks no English. Anyway, he fixes the valve. On my way back it is starting to get hot because the sun has come out. Here I am wearing my slacks and sports jacket, so I decide to go into a bar and have a beer. I get talking to this guy and he buys me a couple of more beers. When I come out of the bar, I am totally disorientated. I have no idea where I am, so I see some railway tracks. I figure the best way to get back into town is to follow the railway tracks, except I begin following them in the wrong direction, out of town. I realize my error when I see a sign which reads,“Dusseldorf that way!” Finally, I flag down a taxi. He doesn’t speak any English either. All I can remember about the charming converted bunker where we stayed was “am zoo” or by the zoo. So, I say, “Take me to Cologne Cathedral.” He takes me to the Cologne Cathedral. I finally find the streetcar that takes me back to the bunker. I whip into the bunker, assemble my sousaphone, rush as fast as I can down to the bandstand and sit down just in time for the opening down beat. Paris was really neat. We had three folders of music and played a lot. There was a friend of mine over there from university, so we palled around for four of five days. Southend-on-Sea was fun. We played many concerts and marched in some sort of parade every day. We also had our free time in Southend – where the boys could go off and visit relatives for a few days. Those of us that stayed behind had the run of the amusement park where we ended up staying. Great fun! Wally caught the chicken pox. Dartmouth was
64 ~ “boys from the colony”
GEORGE ELLENTON ~ 65
great! We were the “boys from the colony” and our money was “no good” for any purchases. Mr. Delamont liked to prove he could out walk you. If he was walking on the other side of the street he would make a point of over taking us, except he would cross the street just as he was over taking us and bump us to prove he could out walk us. Edinburgh was neat. We took the train to Scotland. I remember I needed to have a cigarette, so I went down to the urinal in the train station, to the farthest urinal and lit up a cigarette. In a moment I hear, “George, put that out!” Mr. D didn’t particularly care whether you smoked or not – just as long as you didn’t smoke in uniform. He had followed me all the way downstairs and into the urinal. It seemed like every time I tried to grab a smoke with my sweater or uniform on, he would catch me. He probably had to go to the urinal too but it seemed like he was always looking over my shoulder. I remember the pride of marching down Hastings Street when we got back. It was a once in a lifetime experience.” “That’s what I said except I went on two more. What did you do when you returned home?” “I worked for the Bank of Nova Scotia. I married my first wife in 1969 and separated from her in 1971. It didn’t work out. Her name was Marie Louise and my present wife’s name is Mary Louise. I just picked the wrong one. I spent four years at the Bank of Nova Scotia (1966-’70) and then four years at Canada Permanent Trust (1970–’74) during which time I spent a couple of great years in Kamloops. I did a lot of theatre in Vancouver in 1968. I played in the pit orchestra, string bass for Guys & Dolls in June of 1968 at Metro Theatre. I was watching the actors on stage and I
66 ~ Bev Rose
thought they seemed to be having more fun than we were in the orchestra. I have a rule, “No one is allowed to have more fun than me.” I took some theatre workshops and began auditioning for musicals. My first musical was in Ladner in 1968, Oklahoma. I was cast as one of the dancers. I did a lot of musical theatre between 1968 and ‘70. I usually had four shows going at once. I hurt my back re-doing Oklahoma in 1969 so I began to turn more towards producing. I did some conducting as well. I conducted Pajama Game for Richmond Theatre at Metro theatre in Vancouver, and was the Assistant Musical Director for Metro’s production of Kiss Me Kate. In Kamloops, I did mostly dance - tap and ballet. In 1974, I came back to Vancouver. I thought about going to university to become a band director. I went to Douglas College in New Westminster in the daytime – Len Whitely and Wally Robertson were running the program at that time - and drove bus in the evenings. I was just about to get married to Mary and it was all too much, so I dropped out of college. They were sad to see me go because they had been so happy to have a mature student. I drove transit from 1974 through 1987. I started playing tuba again. During that time I did a lot of dance work but no musical theatre. George Bouwman, my high school buddy, and also a trombone player on the 1966 tour, got me to join the Delta Concert Band, conducted at that time by Bobby Herriot. That is where I met my wife Mary Howland. She was doing her practicum and was conducting the Delta Band because Herriot was away. Then she took over the band program at Eric Hamber School from 1974 through 1980. It was a big program. Mary and I were married in 1975.
GEORGE ELLENTON ~ 67
In 1985, I am driving bus, studying dance and then I went off to Western Kentucky University to get my DEA, dance teachers certificate. I started teaching dance in the community centers. I would drive my shift, come home and have a nap and then teach dance from three to seven. I started teaching tap for Bev Rose. She was my mentor, the one who told me I was going to be a dancer in Oklahoma. She ended up being my daughters godmother. Eventually I left transit in 1988 and became a house Dad. During that year I auditioned for Gateway Theatre’s production of Cabaret. I got the role of “Herr Schultz.” I was about 38. That summer I did Westside Story at TUTS. I was cast as “Doc.” It was a great cast! In October of 1988, I got a telephone call from my friend Bobby Bruce who performs as “Nearly Neil.” I first met him during the run of Cabaret (he was the EMCEE). Bobby said, “They are opening this new dinner theatre in Port Coquitlam called “Maz and Mes” and they are looking for a musical director. You should give them a call. I called the number and I heard, “G’day, Maz & Mes!” It was with a strong Australian accent. I said,“You have an ad in the Vancouver newspaper for a musical director?” “Oh ya darling, what’s your sign?” “Capricorn!” “Ah good, we’ll get along just fine!” She sets up an audition at her restaurant. I went down to her restaurant which they were converting into a dinner theatre and it was just a pile of rubble. I did the audition and got hired. I spent five wild and wonderful years at “Maz & Mes.” We did five shows a week and some specials, and ran every night from mid October to December 24th. I had two weeks off in the summer, so I did about 1,500 shows in all. I was still
68 ~ Maz & Mes
teaching dance at the same time. I served the meals, did the show and then I came back and drank with the customers afterwards. I made good money. It was lots of fun. It was hard on the body though because I was in my 40s and the kids I worked with were in their 20s. From Maz, I learned about programing variety. Maz had been a performer and a comedian in Australia. She married a Canadian and moved back here. Nothing matched in her restaurant - different pieces of china, different chairs. It had its own unique atmosphere. One day I came in and looked up on the balcony and all the chairs were the same - brand new. I said to Maz, “Come on Maz, we are losing touch with who we are!” “What da ya mean George, what da ya mean?” “Look at all those brand spanking new chairs, all in a row.” The next day when I came in, I looked around. The new chairs had been dispersed throughout the theatre. In 1991, I wound up buying the dance school from Bev Rose. She had operated the school out of her house, so we bought the house as well. The school was in Tsawwassen. Now, I am working five nights a week at Maz & Mes and running my own business, which I had never done before. I started playing piano when I was five. I am probably one of the last piano players around who can not only read charts but play almost any time in any key, due to all my variety experience because I had to come up with 60 songs or so each night for each performance. The dance school was very successful up until 2005, when I let myself be persuaded to take the school in a different direction and to take on associates. After that, the business went into the tank. In 2007, I had to shut it down, sell the
GEORGE ELLENTON ~ 69
house and pay off all my debts. Here I am starting all over again at age 60. I had a great time with the kids. We put on some great shows. The kids that I mentored are now mentoring me. Tracy Neff is going to be a big musical star. She did Company at the Stanley Theatre and Guys and Dolls at Gateway. She went to school with my daughter. Jennifer Page, a girl I mentored at Maz and Mes works regularly in Las Vegas. I studied Russian ballet as well. I am recognized by Nadia Kalmanaskaya, in California, who has stated that I qualify to teach the first two levels of the Vaganova Ballet technique. That is the technique used by the Maryinsky (formerly Kirov) Ballet. I have been down to Los Angeles to do shows with her as a performer and emcee. My latest come back started at Gateway last Christmas (2007) in My Fair Lady. Imagine that a comeback at age 60. Half the people that I used to work with are no longer around. Ray Michaels doesn’t call me anymore. “No George, that’s because he passed away.” My latest project is my “Frankly Yours” show. It is a loving tribute to Frank Sinatra. I started as a singer in the Elgar Choir at age 8.” “Who are the three people that you feel influenced your life the most?” “Arthur Delamont would be one. He taught me a lot about music and programming. Maz Gehring of ‘Maz & Mes,’ she taught me a lot about comedy, timing and programming The third influence would be a tie between Bev Rose and Nadia Kalmanovskaya, my two dance mentors. Of course I have to include my family - my wife Mary
70 ~ Jodie and John
my wonderful children. I have a beautiful 28 year old daughter, Jodie and a talented 26 year old son, John. My daughter was a very good dancer. Jodie toured the states twice with ‘Dance Caravan.’ She liked to be around her friends. She was accepted to the summer program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet but she decided not to go. John’s artistic talent manifested itself visually, as he works as a designer in the video and computer gaming industry. One last story, when we were in Southend-on-Sea on the 1966 trip, Delamont asked me to go into London each day and pick up the band’s mail at Canada House. I went in about four times. On this one day I was feeling a little thirsty, so I stopped off at the bar in the station for a drink. While I was sitting at the bar an elderly English gentleman sitting at the far end of the bar said to me, “Can I buy you a drink son?” I recognized him immediately. He was the spitting image of my grandfather, except my grandfather had died in 1953. We chatted for a while and then I thanked him and boarded my train down to London. When I got back home, I told my mother about meeting this man who was the spitting image of my grandfather. She said, “He could have been a relative. Your great grandfather had two families. We are not sure how it came about but he probably married twice.” “Deja vu?” “All of us boys who played under Mr. D became known as Delamont’s boys. All the girls who went through my school became known as George’s girls!”
Bruce Ball “I went to band class and at first I was just putting in time. But somewhere along the way, something happened. Jack Habkirk was like Arthur. He would play the trumpet out in front of the band just like Delamont. He was a musician. He would be out playing gigs at night and on the weekends.” Bruce Ball was another of our solid, great drummers during the mid-sixties. These guys really held the band together whether on the march or in the concert hall. Bruce played professionally around Vancouver for awhile at the Red Barrell Room at the Hotel Vancouver and at other places. “How did you get into the Kits band?” “When I was a kid in school, I was looking for a way to get out of classes. The best way I could find was to take music. I could have taken typing!” “That would have helped out in this day and age.” “Yes, but I didn’t know that. Now a days, I spend all my time on the computer. A stupid move on my part. I went in to see Jack Habkirk who was the band instructor at my school in Richmond. This would have been about 1966. He says, “What instrument do you want to play? We
72 ~ Larry Schick
need clarinet players.” Jack was an original member of the Kitsilano Boys’ Band. He played the bassoon. I am thinking, “Not clarinet!” I ended up taking the drums. I went down to Pamus Music at 51st and Main Street and for fifty dollars, I bought a snare drum, a stand and a set of drum sticks. I had to pay my mother back. I went to band class and at first I was just putting in time but somewhere along the way, something happened. Jack Habkirk was like Arthur. He would play the trumpet out in front of the band just like Delamont. He was a musician. He would be out playing gigs at night and on the weekends.” “Delamont raised us all as musicians.” “Yes, but we didn’t really know that at the time. The guys who went through Arthur’s band were different musicians than the guys I have met since those days.” “Yes, there was a certain professionalism or dedication that Delamont instilled in all of his Kitsie boys, both musically and in regards to discipline and approach.” “I remember on the train to Montreal in 1967, the question was, “Do you tip or do you not tip?” Delamont said, “I tip at the end.” “He had worked something out with the waiters so that they would all be tipped at the end of the trip. He said, “You should always tip.” “It is interesting how we each recall certain things. I do not remember him ever saying anything about tipping.” “I remember we left Vancouver, by train, at night. We arrived in Calgary the next morning. We got off the train in Banff and played a little concert on the platform. They didn’t want us to but somehow Arthur did it anyway.” “He did that on every trip he made across Canada.”
BRUCE BALL ~ 73
“What a smart thing to do. He was training all these kids. By the time we got to Montreal, if he said, “Go!” We went!” “He had a master plan. I really believe that he had a vision as to where he was going and how he would get there.” “It could have been just the way he was. Think about it, thirty or forty young people, all different! He cut through all of that. No chaperones on that trip. The parents never objected.” “No, it was okay because we were with Arthur Delamont and the Kitsilano Boys’ Band. The band had a certain reputation and so did Arthur. I do not think our parents ever gave it a second thought as to who would be looking after their little ‘Johnny’ on those trips. During the thirties and fifties, it was a big thing to be a part of the Kitsilano Boys’ Band. The band was very famous. Everyone wanted their son to be a member of the band.” “I came from Richmond, so I was kind of an outsider. I wasn’t aware of Vancouver society. Jack Habkirk picked a few of us out and told us that we should all go and join this band. There was Barry Miller, Bob Fraser, Dave Scoular, and a French horn player named Larry Schick.” “Things had changed immensely by the sixties in terms of society. Arthur was having difficulties getting boys locally due to so many new organizations popping up that boys could now join. He was more or less just looking for players by the 1960s. “What do you remember about the 1968 band trip to Europe?” “I remember Delamont trying to get support from the City of Vancouver and everybody saying, “No!” He was upset
74 ~ Dave McKenzie
about that. The band had been ambassadors for Canada for years. Arthur’s way of doing things though was more personal. Rather than submitting a formal request for funding, which he knew would take forever, he would go down and talk to people in person. I remember marching around Kitsilano selling chocolates. I remember going to the airport. Delamont had reserved seats on both Air Canada and CP Air. I do not know why! At the last minute, he cancelled one of them. They were not too happy. We arrived in London. We got our bus. I think we went to Yeovil after a couple of days in London. Mr. and Mrs. Pettie came along as chaperones. Our first morning in London, the Pettie’s were handing out pills to us boys when Arthur came down the stairs. He says, “Well, we will see you in Scotland!” They didn’t travel with us at all. They were on their own. In Yeovil we were billeted out. We played a concert in the evening, lots of food, then we were all on our own. Some of us went to a bar. There was no cold beer in England. They pulled out a dusty old six pack of Canadian beer from the cellar. I guess they thought because we were Canadian, we would want Canadian beer. We had trouble getting back to our billets. We had not taken into consideration that all the row houses looked the same. I think it was two in the morning when we got back. Our billets were waiting up for us. Our next stop was Dartmouth. We had to make our own breakfast in this youth hall. We had a good time in Dartmouth. We played three concerts a day.” “Any Dave McKenzie stories?” “Let me think about that, I remember going to Leeds. It
BRUCE BALL ~ 75
was a very traditional city. We went to a show, a vandeville show. It was incredible! Our next stop was Scotland. We almost got into a big fight in Glasgow but it didn’t happen. Dave McKenzie was always around doing his thing. He was usually on the telephone, calling ahead to the next town to find us a place to stay. My best McKenzie story is when we were in Paris. Paris was too big and there were not a lot of opportunities for the band to play. Dave and I were out wandering around looking at the artists creating chalk drawings on the sidewalk and so forth. Finally, we went into a restaurant. It was late at night. The couple in front of us were speaking English, they were Americans. It turned out that the guy was the leader of the student riots. I was just a naive teenager, I really didn’t know much about it. They paid for our dinner.” “I guess the riots were over?” “Yes, on another day, I remember sitting in a restaurant looking out this big front window. In one direction came the students and from the other direction came the gendarmes, wearing riot gear. It was the best show in town. We went to the Follies Bergere. We took a cab ride that really swung us around in those roundabouts, a nutty ride! In Switzerland, we went into the hotel where we were staying and they wouldn’t give us our luggage. They said, “You must pay for the damages.” I don’t think there really were any damages. We played twice in Madrid. Once was in a park for about two thousand people. It was late at night, about ten o’clock. We marched in and then out after the concert, through these large gates and all these people were chearing us. They
1968 The band performing a concert in a town square in Cologne, Germany
76 ~ Hotel Puerto Toledo
were so happy to have us there to play for them. We also went to a movie set. I think we played there and may have been on TV. We all went to a bullfight and I had the best cup of coffee I have ever had in the restaurant of the hotel where we stayed, the Hotel Puerto Toledo. We also went to the ‘thieves market.’ Geneva was interesting. We rented paddleboats and some of us went swimming. Lots of pranks! We made sure all the guys had haircuts. One boy got a friar’s cut. A couple of the guys dyed their hair blond. One’s was okay but the others turned green, so we had to take him to a hairdresser to get his hair re-dyed. There was always lots going on but when we got on stage, it all happened! We were always on time. We were always ready to play. We had lots of fun but you had to be there for the concerts one hundred and fifty percent. That was the price of freedom. I remember Arthur saying, “Whenever we return home, we always bring with us a new piece of music.” He bought Fiddler on the Roof and Funny Girl in London and spent the next evening writing out the parts and the following day we rehearsed it in a courtyard, on a roof top, somewhere in London.” “We also rehearsed it in a wing, at Heathrow Airport, while we were waiting for our flight home.” “Really!” “He had done all those things though, many times before; buying a new piece of music, writing out the manuscripts in his hotel room.” “And he never put any of us down. He never critisized us
BRUCE BALL ~ 77
1968 Bruce returning from Europe with the band
78 ~ Wendy Loewen
individually. He just persuaded us. It was like we were the first band he had ever had, the personal touch. He taught us how to play music. He taught us how to sight read. He taught us how to be a part of a group. He taught us how to be with other people and not clash. Arthur was the key that made it all happen.” “ Not just once but time and time again!” “I remember in Hamburg, Mr. D, Wendy Loewen and myself, we went on a harbour tour. When we got back we were a little late and here he is at seventy four, running for the bus. I remember playing at ‘Planten um Blumen.” In England the fish and chips were really fresh down at the seaside resorts but as you went further inland, they became less fresh.” I remember eating in Marks and Spencers a lot in England. What did you do after the 1968 trip?” “I played in a few bands around Vancouver. We played at the Hotel Vancouver. David Sinclair played with us for a while. Dave Pickell played keyboards as well. Then I went on the road for a bit. It was around that time that I decided not to pursue music as a career. I went to Langara College and took a course in archaeology It was a field course. I worked on a dig down by the Fraser Arms Hotel. Then I went to SFU and took a double major in geography and archaeology. I then did a graduate degree also at SFU. The main reason I stayed at SFU for my graduate degree was they had no language requirement at that time. After university, I worked for awhile in the interior of BC for the government. I actually started working there as a
BRUCE BALL ~ 79
graduate student. Eventually, I went down to SE Kentucky to work on a job with one of my supervisors. I went back and forth between Kentucky and Vancouver a few times and eventually wound up in Alberta. Again, I worked for the government. The government divides the province into sectors. I ran one of the sectors. Any archaeological work done in my sector, had to go through me, resource management mainly! It was President Nixon who declared the first environmental impact study in the US. It spilled over into Canada. A job came up overseeing the parklands in Central Alberta, so I grabbed it. I worked on the ‘Heads Smashed In,’ First Nations historical site and several others. I did that for ten years. When I first started, the job was great. Sixty percent of the job was research and I was free to travel and so forth but as the money dried up, it became less satisfying. Now, I own my own company and do freelance work all over Alberta.” “Sounds like interesting work.” “Very, I enjoy it a lot!”
80 ~ Walter Urchuk
1968 The band marching down the Butterwalk (main street) in Dartmouth en route to the bandstand in the park to perform a daily afternoon concert.
Greg Bonnell “I had started playing in swing bands here in Vancouver. They had some really fine players. There was a fellow named Walter Urchuk who had played with Woody Herman. Doug Kent who played tenor sax, he had played in New Orleans. I met Arnie Emery, an old Kits boy from the 1950 trip. He was playing in the trumpet section. It was great fun, a different style.” Greg Bonnell was one of the younger boys in the band during my last year. He soon became a key figure in the baritone and then trombone section. Arthur relied on him alot in his last years! “So how did you get into the Kits band?” “I was in grade eight at school. I was a friend of Chris Kutney. My brother was in the Kits band. He had been in the Kiwanis band with Richard van Slyke. It was kind of word of mouth. Chris was also friends with Iain Petrie. I didn’t play an instrument at the time. It was a case of what do you want to play? My first thought was drums because my brother played drums. I do not think that it was an
82 ~ Abbotsford Music Festival
option to have two drummers in the same family. The euphonium seemed to be available and needed, so that is what I played. In the Fall of 1968, after the trip, is when I first showed up. I played in his junior band for awhile. There were still a small number of kids coming out, about ten, prior to the big band and we would stay and listen to them afterwards. It wasn’t too long before I moved up into the big band. So that was the start. There was a bunch of us. The baritone section was led by (Wally) Al Lehtonen and John Hawthorne. There was Ross Griffith and Tom Walker’s youngest brother Barry and a few others. I was the only survivor and wound up going on the 1970 band trip. Wally was a major influence on me. I don’t think there was a better player in the band. It was a tremendous benefit to have someone to play up to, for style and technique.” “That’s true, that was always a big thing with the Kits band. Mr. D gave us all a place to play. We all discovered someone in the band that we could play up to I think and others, in time, wound up playing up to us. It was pretty amazing.” “The 1970 trip was a real coming of age musically for me. Having Wally’s example to look up to taught me how to project and how I should sound when playing in public. At the end of the trip Wally wrote on a card and gave it to me saying, “To the most improved player on the trip,” which I thought was quite nice of him. I still have that card.” “Tell me about your memories of the 1970 trip?” “There were things leading up to the trip I remember as well, like selling chocolates around Kitsilano. We played in the Abbotsford Music Festival that year. That was my first
GREG BONNELL ~ 83
experience with Mr. D in competition. Not before or since have I experienced anybody that meticulous, the red pencil, every note, every part, every player had to be right. It was a great learning experience. I developed a love affair with R. Vaughn Williams and Holst. I sold candies while the band played to raise money around the neighborhood before the trip. On the 1970 trip it was just Wally and myself on baritone. We left in June and we came back the first week of September. My first professional job in Vancouver was with Mr. D at Alexander Park. I was playing trombone by then and we played Whirligig. I also played with Fred Duck who was a contemporary of Mr. D’s. He was first call on the trombone in Vancouver for many years and played in the symphony. I never took any lessons. It is interesting, the connections one makes in the music business in Vancouver are all with ex Kits boys. In Victoria the connections are all with ex Naden band members. I played in a band one time here on the island and George Bouwman was playing. We got talking afterwards and I found out that he had played in the Kits band. When I told him that I was a Delamont kid he said, “I could tell you were by the way you play.” I have very fond memories though of the 1970 trip. I was spoiled with all the excellent musicianship in the 1970 band. His programming too was just so great. He always chose challenging pieces in order to show off what his boys could do. Us brass players often played at five pianos (very softly), so we could easily play ‘God Save The Queen’ in one breath. Dartmouth was always a great place to play and visit, also Hereford and Basingstoke. We played all over the south of
1970 The band playing a junk music concert ( pop music) beside the boat quay in Dartmouth. The park is located to the left amidst the trees and the band always played twice daily concerts in the bandstand in the park, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.
84 ~ Al Petrie
England, then we went over to the continent. Nice was great. We stayed in an old villa up on a hill which had been converted into a youth hostel. We all rented vespa scooters so we could get up and down the hill. The parade in Nice was amazing. There were hoards of people throwing flowers. It was a competition which we won and we didn’t even know it was a contest until the end. It was just all such great fun! A lot of us got food poisoning in either Barcelona or Madrid. Some of the guys went out for paella one night. Then we were off to Paris. In Paris we stayed on the Boulevard St. Michel in a youth hostel called the Lycee St. Louis. It was the same place the band had stayed on previous trips. We played a lot of concerts in Paris at the Jardin du Luxembourg. When we arrived back in England, we went straight to Edinburgh and then off to a small Scottish town where we were scheduled to play a concert. Only problem was, our instruments were late arriving on another vehicle. Those of us who had instruments that we had carried with us, like clarinets, went up on stage and Mr. D apologized to the audience saying, “Our instruments will be along shortly.” Some of the guys in the band came forth and entertained the crowd. Wally played the piano and Marek Norman sang a couple of songs. Eventually the instruments arrived and we played a full concert for the crowd. That was my first experience with the famous one nighters across Scotland.” “After the trip, you were seventeen and you went back to school?” “Yes, after the 1970 trip most of the older boys left the band. Unfortunately he didn’t have the same level of
GREG BONNELL ~ 85
players coming along. One day Mr. D came to me and said, “Why don’t you try doubling on trombone?” So I did! I took an old trombone home and taught myself the slide positions. I was eighteen when the 1972 trip came along and completely hooked by that time. Al Petrie was still there. I survived Mr. D’s style. I helped him out playing in his White Rock band. There was a period of time, about ten years, that I didn’t miss a rehearsal or a concert. That was from 1968 through 1978.” “I thought the band folded in 1974?” “No, he kept rehearsing after 1974 but just a small group, at least once a week. That was the core of the group he took to England in1979 on his last trip. We played here and there between 1974 and 1979 and he augmented the band with outsiders. He still ran the UBC pep band as well. He ran the UBC pep band for forty years. Often he would only have about eight players, but it would sound like a full band because of the way we were taught to give full value to the notes and to project our sound. The 1972 trip was the standard England/Scotland trip but we also went to Scandinavia. Mel Goodwin and the Rotary Club helped out with managing that trip. We went to Stockholm and to Malmo and Goteborg. We also took a ferry ride over to Copenhagen for the day. You have to remember that Mr. D was on the go all the time on the later trips and he was now eighty years old. He was pretty remarkable. We played at a football half time show in Sweden. Mr. D came up with the idea of running from one end of the stadium to the other and playing a few numbers at each stop. Then we would
86 ~ Doug Kent
pick up and run to the other side and play a few numbers. The crowd loved it. They didn’t want the game to start, they just wanted us to keep playing. We did that at a number of football games both in Sweden and in England. After the 1972 trip I was off to UBC. I was eighteen by then. Mr. D always said, “Get an education. Music is not a good livlihood.” By now I was playing first trombone. I tried to aspire to the level of the guys I remembered playing on the 1970 band trip. I was in science at UBC. During the summers I worked to make the money to go to UBC. Then the ‘74 trip came along. Most of the older guys had left. By then I had started playing in swing bands here in Vancouver. They had some really fine players. There was a fellow named Walter Urchuk who had played with Woody Herman. Doug Kent who played tenor sax, he had played in New Orleans. I met Arnie Emery, an old Kits boy from the 1950 trip. He was playing in the trumpet section. It was great fun, a different style. Mr. D was trying to figure out how to put together a bunch of guys for the 1974 trip. He said to Arnie Emery one day, “Do you know of any good trombone players?” Arnie said, “There is this guy I play with in a swing band. He might want to play. His name is Greg Bonnell.” Mr. D laughed and said, “Oh I already have him!” So, that was kind of funny. I agreed to go on the 1974 trip. I don’t remember whose idea it was to go to the Soviet Union but that is what we did. There was a lot of preparation with visas that we had to go through prior to the trip. We played pieces like Dark Eyes, and Midnight in Moscow. We didn’t play all the time in the USSR, our schedule was more regimented.
GREG BONNELL ~ 87
RIGHT: Greg in 1979 in Great Yarmouth on Arthurâ€™s last trip to the Old Country!
ABOVE: Greg playing in the Kits Band reunion concert at the Kitsilano Showboat in July 2003.Greg is seated in the back row, third from right.
88 ~ Glenn David
We stayed in a hotel that was cold and had no hot water. Everyone had long hair in those days. Moscow was impressive. It had giant boulevards. The subways all had frescoes in different styles, Gothic, Byzantine and so on. We were shepherded around every where. Lenningrad was a gorgeous place, the Venice of the North. We were given a tour of the Hermitage. It had four rooms full of Picasso paintings. We saw ‘Peter The Greats’ carriage in all its opulence. Tallinn was very nationalistic and very proud of its heritage. The people were warmer there as I recall, very appreciative. We flew out through Helsinki but didn’t get out of the plane. We flew ‘Aeroflot,’ which was interesting. The inside of the airplanes were not finished. We could see the fuselage and the nuts and bolts, certainly not luxurious by western standards. Glenn David was recruited by Arthur from somewhere to come along as a player and soloist. He was a fabulous saxophone player who had graduated from the Berkley College of Music. Delamont would have Glenn stand up and play a free solo on Summertime or some other tune. Mr. D would just say, “Play something!” He was great to have along. I helped out a little with managerial duties. I was glad to do it for Mr. D.” “So what does the whole experience mean to you now some thirty years later?” “It was my youth. It shaped the way I see things. It taught me alot about discipline, humility, striving for quality and recognizing quality. You go on to have a life. I went back to university. I have a career as a biologist. I have been married for twenty five years. That’s life! It was a huge experience.” “Who were the three people who had the biggest
GREG BONNELL ~ 89
influences on your life?” “Mr. D would be one of the three. I think of it like having multiple fathers. My dad of course. My godfather was a tremendous influence. My dad was a doctor. He grew up here in Victoria. I tell everyone I am Victorian, one generation removed. I also went on his 1979 trip. I knew that it would be his last and I didn’t want to miss it. I was working by then and I told my employers that I was going to do this even if I had to quit. They kept me on. I thought I was just going to play on the trip but when we arrived at the airport, Mr. D handed me an envelope and said, “This is what I would like you to do.” In the envelope was a page for each of the Scottish engagements. Basically I was responsible for calling ahead and arranging all the transportation and all the meals. I spent alot of time in those telephone boxes. It gave me alittle of an appreciation for what Dave Mckenzie accomplished on the 1970 trip. I have to say, playing all the reunion concerts and meeting all the old boys from the different years has been great fun. I played in a trombone quartet for twenty years with Jim McCullock, Fred Duck and Ernie Dafoe. When I went down to join the Musicians Union, Robert Reid was the President at the time. You had to have an interview, so I went down and he asked me a couple of questions. He said, “What experience have you had?” I said, “I spent ten years with Arthur Delamont.” He said, “ Welcome to the Union,” and that was enough. “Bob Reid of course was probably the best trumpet player that ever came out of the Kits band.”
90 ~ Ernie Dafoe
“Really, I didn’t know that!” I remember at the 50th reunion all the gods of the trombone section were there, Pete Watt, Bill Trussell, and so on. Delamont wanted me to stay on first stand because I knew the music. One of the guys said to Ernie Dafoe, “What do we do here?” Ernie said, “I don’t know, just follow Greg.”
Bill Gumbleton I became a chef later in life. I had an Uncle who had been a chef on the Royal Scotsman. He was on the inaugural run of the train from Edinburgh to London. One time when they were approaching London the engineer decided to check the breaks. Every piece of china in the kitchen broke except for one teacup so he picked it up and said, “Oh to hell with it!” and smashed it down on the floor. “How did you get into the Kits Band?” My parents were friends with Doug and Mary Luff. I had been to a couple of Kits band concerts after the 1966 and 1968 trips. I had started playing the snare drum in school a few years earlier. My dad saw that I was interested in learning more so I started taking lessons fron Don Luff’s grandfather, Vic Luff. I was already in the Navy League Cadets. When they ask for guys to join the cadet band, I went down to HMCS Discovery on a Saturday to sign up. Unfortunately the snare drums were all taken, so they gave me a big 28 inch bass
92 ~ Doug Luff
drum and strapped it on me. I was only twelve. There were two guys playing snare drum and two guys playing tenor toms. When they put sheet music out in front of us, I was the only one who knew how to read. I wound up teaching the others thinking that one of them would let me switch with them but no one did. It put me in good form though because when I joined Kits, I already had the marching skills. After the 1968 trip I went to the homecoming concert at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. That same month, September, I went for an audition with Mr D. Doug Luff took me down and introduced me to Mr Delamont. He said, “Mr Delamont I have a young fellow here who wants to join the band. He plays drums.” I set up my snare drum over by the basement door at General Gordon School. Arthur came over and put a piece of music up on a stand in front of me. It was half the size of what I had been use to (one of his encore pieces). I was lost. He shook his head and walked away. I thought I had blown the audition so I started to pack up. He turns and sees me and says, “Where are you going? Go over there and set up with the rest of the drummers.” He made some comment like “Drummers!” “He was telling you not to think for yourself. Wait until I tell you what to do.” I set up with the rest of the guys and the journey started from there. I still have my membership card. At school I was in grade eight band. Once again because I could read music, I was promoted to grade nine band. I went to Moscrop Junior Secondary in Burnaby by BCIT. Mr Wiebe was our band director. But I just couldn’t wait to go to Kits band practices on Monday and Thursday nights. It was really a notch above
BILL GUMBLETON ~ 93
my school band. The variety of music we played and the pace of the rehearsals just kept me and everyone else coming back for more. It was contagious! I ended up teaching the other drummers in my school band how to play the finer points of the music because all they wanted to do was rush home and bang on the set while listening to Led Zepplin. Band to many at that time was just an extra credit and their last choice becasue they felt it would be easy. “Any anecdotes or stories from the early days?” One embarassing moment for me was at practice one night we were short a drummer so I ended up playing bass drum. I cannot remember the piece but the bass drum had a roll for about four bars and I stopped early. Delamont looked at me. He came over took the bass drum mallet and hit me on the head and showed me how to do it. “I got it now,” I said. I had only been in the band for about three months. That was the first and last mistake I made. I remember well his famous words “chumps, fatheads, silly asses.” The drum section was often the ‘silly asses.’ “Do you want to mention any of the other guys?” Bruce Ball, Bruce Miller, Wayne Briscoe, Don Luff and Dave Calder were the other drummers at that time. I saw Bruce Ball once later on in Edmonton. He had become a paleontologist and lived in Drumheller. Ken Bonnell was another drummer. “Tell me about the 1970 trip.” By 1970, I felt I was just one of the guys. I remember prior to the 1970 European tour, Mr D took his White Rock Band down to Disneyland. I went with them. He took half Kits boys and half White Rock boys for that trip. It was
1968 The White Rock included several members of the Kits band as seen in this early photo. Far left, first row left to right Al Petrie, Deryk Smith, far right, first row Barry Miller, second row, far left, Larry Borsa, Wayne Pettie, third row, far right Dave Scoular, Tom Walker, Wally, Chris
Ketchum, Deryk Petrie, back row, far left Don Luff, Wayne Tarling, back row, far right Bruce Miller, Dave Calder and Wayne Briscoe.The littleblond haired girl with the long hair in the front row (Crystal Loewen) would marry Bruce Miller.
94 ~ ‘Wally’
only for two weeks. We went all the way by bus and stayed at the YMCA in LA. It was a fun trip. We played at Disneyland. One night we all decided to stay up all night at the YMCA. Later, some police cars arrived thinking that we had broken in. They had not realized that we were staying there. Some of the older guys went outside to talk to them. The police got out of their cars carrying shotguns. They asked us who we were and we told them we were from Canada. One of them asked, “ Is it cold in Canada?” Typical we all thought. Back to Europe! I was really looking forward to that trip. It was my first trip to Europe. Before we went we had the usual fund raising requirements to meet. We had our band photo taken on the old courthouse steps downtown. The trip turned out to be a terrific learning experience for us all. I was amazed at how many towns we travelled through and got out and played. I loved the way everyone appreciated the band. When we were in London, I asked Mr D if I could go and see my grandfather. We were leaving the next day. When I got back to London, I could not find the youth hostel where we were staying. I started to have a panic attack. I was afraid the band would leave without me and I would have to find my own way home to Vancouver. I got back about a half hour before we were to depart for the airport. Being in the Kits Band was sort of like being in a rock band. We would often stop at unscheduled places and perform a short stand-up concert. We would change into our band sweaters, play and get back on the bus only to arrive shortly at another town. It was great fun! I remember in
BILL GUMBLETON ~ 95
Wales we played in a bandstand that was right on the beach. A terrific wind came along and the stage started moving. The canopy on the stage was like a tent. The wind picked it up. What were we going to do? Wally came along and him and a couple of other fellows jumped up on the stage. It stopped moving. The rest of us got up on stage and we played out concert with no problems. Wally had saved the day! We arrived in Inverness, Scotland in August but it felt like October it was so cold. We stayed in an old barracks that had a row of wood burning stoves down the center. It had been built for the troops in World War One. A bunch of us found some old wooden chairs. We broke them up and used them for firewood. The northern part of Scotland can be quite cold we discovered. We practiced our marching on the parade grounds. In Edinburgh, some of the guys climbed up the steep side of Edinburgh castle. Not a smart thing to do looking back on it but they made it. The hostel we stayed at in Edinburgh was part of group of row houses. They all looked exactly the same except for the plaque on the door which read ‘Scottish Youth Hostel.’ I remember vividly how salty was Scottish bacon. At the youth hostel, I got kitchen duty. This guy brought out a baking pan and filled it with salt. He said, “Here you go, pan the bacon in this. Put the bacon right on the salt. Later on someone will come and turn it over.” They love their salty bacon. I do not think anyone knew anything about the effects of salt on high blood pressure. I even asked the guy if I could do one tray without salt and he said, “ We all eat the same here.” I said, “Well, I won’t be eating any bacon.” He said, “Well,
96 ~ Dave McKenzie
that is your choice.” He gave me a funny look. “Tell me about Dartmouth? We all loved Dartmouth from the first moment we saw it. We came in from the upper road in 1970, parked our bus and marched down the hill. The whole town came out to greet us. We played both the carnival in July and the regatta in August. The girls were wonderful. I turned sixteen on the 1970 tour. Wally was quite the character. I had my camera stolen in Amsterdam. I went on a canal trip which was great. I remember landing at the airport in Barcelona and looking out the windows at the brown haze. As soon as you walked out the door you could taste the pollution. The smell stayed with me for quite awhile. I remember at the hostel we had to be careful how many guys got into the elevator at one time. It was on a rope system and was quite rickety. One day we went out for a walk. In one delicatessan we saw a bunch of chicken legs all covered with flies. Another time we came across a couple of older men drinking wine from a pouch. “Here try this,” one of them said to me. I didn’t want to be impolite so I took a swig of this warm, dry, red wine. They both started laughing at the look on my face. On another walk, I came across this mound of earth where people had dug out holes and lined the holes with cardboard. I guessed street people were living in them. Then we went around a corner and there was a beautiful, modern subway station. The contrast between the old and the modern was incredible. One time I took the street car into Barcelona. I can remember seeing bullet holes in the walls left over from the Spanish Civil War. I think that you had to be careful as a tourist in
BILL GUMBLETON ~ 97
those days. We all bought things that we really didn’t need, leather jackets in Spain, sweaters in Scotland and chocolate in Holland. When we were in Barcelona the older guys and Dave McKenzie (our band manager) wanted to go to Madrid. It cost each boy so much for the bus ride. We stayed on the top floor of a hotel on cots. It was too expensive to eat in the hotel, so I went across the street and into a bar and ordered a coke. The bartender gave me a beer. I took one swig of this beer and that was it. What with all the other aromas in the bar I was almost sick on the spot. I bunch of us did come down the next day with food poisoning. Our last day in Madrid we all went to see a bullfight. It was at the Plaza del Toros, a famous bullfighting arena in downtown Madrid. About half way through the fight it started to rain and everyone cleared out of the plaza at the same time. There were about seven fights in all that day. Dave wanted to stay and see them all and Mr D did not. Mr D said, “Those of you who want to go back to Barcelona, I’m going.” I was one of those who returned to Barcelona with Mr D. “How did Dave get back?” Dave rented another bus and he and the others came later. We all caught our plane back to Paris where we stayed at the Lycee St. Louis (youth hostel) on the left bank near the Sorbonne. I remember seeing all these taxis bringing our instruments along alittle later (I guess they could not find a bus). There were two fellows in the first taxi who led the way. One was standing up on the passengers side with his head sticking through the open sunroof giving directions to the other taxis. It was the funniest thing I ever saw. Right out
98 ~ Norm Black
of a Peter Seller’s movie. The West Van Youth band arrived at the same youth hostel a few days later. They were not enjoying themselves as much as we were because they were over chaperoned and were not allowed to go anywhere on their own. Norm Black (who the boys called Wolfman, not sure why) he was one of the tuba players, he got up on top of the youth hostel’s roof and started howling like a wolfman (maybe that is why they called him wolfman). The police were called and everything calmed down. One night Wally wanted to go downstairs and get something to eat, after hours, from the cafeteria. He climbed into a dumb-waiter and the rope broke. Him and a couple of other guys found themselves lying on the floor of the cafeteria which was in the basement. I remember the elevators had a light that projected a beam from one side to the other. We discovered that if you blocked the light with a shoe, the elevator would stop. When the West Van band was checking in, we blocked the light with a shoe and watched them have to climb up several flights of stairs to their rooms. Mr D found out about that and he was not very happy. When the West Van band was leaving the youth hostel, some of us got up on the roof and threw water balloons down on the roof of their bus. We did not know that the sunroofs were open and the water all went inside. I had my sixteenth birthday in a Paris cafe. I remember playing daily concerts in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris. MacDonalds had still not caught on in Paris but Marks and Spencers was huge in London. “What do you remember about Nice” Loved it! We stayed in a former Spanish Consulate
BILL GUMBLETON ~ 99
2008 Bill second from left playing snare drum in a rehearsal for the 2008 Reunion Concert. 2008 Bill (far right) next to Brad Goodwin and Don Luff on stage at the Kits Showboat.
100 ~ Gary Watkinson
building that was situated on a hilltop looking down on the ocean. It was a spectacular location. We played in a bandshell and all rented Vespa motor scooters and drove to Monte Carlo. I remember we went into the Battle of the Flowers Parade which was a huge parade on the Promenade des Anglais and won. Everyone was throwing confetti at us. It got inside some of the instruments and caused problems. We started throwing it back at the onlookers to their surprise. Because we were a good marching band we were able to win the contest and we were unaware that it was even a contest. The other bands had been practising for a year for the parade. I remember some of the hotel staff came into our room at the youth hostel on the morning we were to leave and began throwing our baggage out onto the street. It seems the night before someone through confetti into the swimming pool and plugged the drain. Someone had also put a North Vietnamese propaganda movie on the television (the Vietnam War was still raging in 1970). They thought that we had done both and were kicking us out of the hostel. We all wound up sitting on our luggage by the roadside waiting for our bus to come later that afternoon. A couple of the boys still had their Vespa scooters, so they went and got something to eat for everyone. The boys didnâ€™t mind waiting outside in the hot sun too much but it was pretty rough on Mr D who was eighty at that time. Dave was nowhere to be seen as we found out later that he had had a row with Mr D over something and left the band and flew back to New York. Eventually the chaperones called Dave in New York and he returned and the tour resumed as if nothing had happened. â€œWhat do you remember about the 1972 trip?â€?
BILL GUMBLETON ~ 101
That one was to England, Scotland, Norway and Sweden. I was a senior boy on that trip. Mr D brought in a lot of boys from Victoria for that trip. One of the drummers (who was from Victoria) had trouble marching in time. Vera Delamont, Arthur’s daughter, came along on the trip. She played the bass drum sometimes. I remember Brad Goodwin often had to play a solo out in front of the band. He was quite short, so the audience loved it. I am not sure what Brad thought. We all loved Dartmouth again. I had to do laundry with Dave Jones and his mom who was a chaperone. In London, one of my aunts came to hear us play on the Thames Embankment. One time we were playing the Hunting Scene at a concert in Scotland. Gary Watkinson had to go go behind a fence to play the echo. Gary fell coming back over the fence and damaged his trumpet. He tried his best to play but eventually had to go to a music store to get it fixed. One time Mr D asked me to find a bird whistle which we needed in one of the pieces. I finally found a music store which had the kind we needed. I had to fill it up with water but unfortunaletly it was like a dog whistle, you could barely hear it. We took the ferry to Norway. We slept on reclining seats on the ferry. We didn’t get too much sleep. Mr D wanted to play on the ferry but it was too rough. “What did you think of Norway and Sweden?” A lot of the guys felt homesick because both reminded them of home. The red brick buildings and the beautiful trees and forests. In Stockholm we saw Paul McCartney & his band Wings perform. The tickets cost $.60 before 3pm and
102 ~ Emile Michaux
$2 after, boy, how things have changed! I remember that it was a hot day. They were doing a university circuit so this was when they were just starting out after the Beatles. It was a great concert. On the way back, we took the ferry to Copenhagen for a day. There is now a bridge from Stockholm to Denmark. “So tell me what being in the Kits band means to you now so many years later.” It was a great learning experience for us all. I learned how to get along in a group. We became a family on those trips. Mr D got the best out of us. His discipline was good for us. He taught us to appreciate music far more than we ever would have been able to on our own. I always loved the variety of music we played. “Who were the three people who were the biggest influence on your life?’ I would have to say my two grandfathers who both taught us how to laugh and to put things in perspective. They taught us to be positive and not to worry needlessly. Mr D of course on the musical side. Lastly I would say my parents. I was the the only one in our family who showed any interest in music. I became a chef later in life. I had an uncle who had been a chef on the Royal Scotsman. He was on the inaugural run of the train from Edinburgh to London. One time when they were approaching London the engineer decided to check the breaks. Every piece of china in the kitchen broke except for one teacup so he picked it up and said, “Oh to hell with it!” and smashed it down on the floor.
Ian MacLean “Another highlight of the trip was attending a fair in Stockholm where Paul McCartney and Wings performed. We were 50 feet from Paul and close to the speakers so it was a real thrill. The audience area was packed with standing fans but we did get three encore pieces before the show ended.” Not all Kitsilano Boys’ Band trips had Vancouver members traveling. Occasionally, Mr. Delamont would have to cast the net wider to fill out the band to forty members. In 1972, it was just such a year. Nine musicians joined the band just before leaving on the trip. Ian MacLean came from Victoria. How did you get picked to come on the 1972 Kits band tour?” Emile Michaux was our conductor at Mount Douglas Senior Secondary school in Victoria. He came to several of us in the senior band and said, “They are asking for musicians to go on a trip with the Kitsilano Boys’ band to England, Scotland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.”
104 ~ Thames Embankment
My parents were away at the time. I had to find a way of seeing if they were supportive of such a trip. Within a few days, I got their support and the two hundred dollars needed to go. It was the trip of a lifetime. In some ways, it was my reward for having played and practiced my trumpet almost daily since grade five. We got to go on high school band trips to Princeton, Portland, Kelowna. They were fun and enjoyable but it was not like going to Europe. This was going to be a great way to celebrate my graduation from high school. There were eight of us from Victoria. We had three trumpets, two trombones, one euphonium, one clarinet, and one drummer. We came from several different schools so we did not know each other well before the trip. By the end of the trip we knew each other very well. We traveled on the ferry over to Vancouver on a Saturday, there was a rehearsal on Sunday and we left on Monday. I remember the rehearsal was loud. It was in General Gordon School. I was not use to the bandâ€™s big brassy sound. We flew to England and landed in London, going first to the Salvation Army Headquarters where we stayed. We played our first concert on the Thames Embankment which was a little shaky, the concert not the Embankment. We were missing some parts of the music and it was quite difficult as well. It took us a while to get up to speed and to build up our endurance. Nine of the thirty-eight boys hadnâ€™t even seen the music until a week before we departed. Arthur Delmont was an interesting conductor. He was very proud of his 80 year old status and he put a lot of effort into the performances and into getting the band members to play their best. One of my strongest memories is marching in a
IAN MACLEAN ~ 105
parade in Dartmouth. We were there for five days and we were marching behind a vehicle with a heavy exhaust smell. Mr. Delamont was closest to the truck and he marched on but a lot of the band members were getting sick. Even at eighty years young, he had more drive than some of his teenage band members. It made us respect him even more. There were other times when the band was not pulling together and playing as well as it could. Mr. Delamont was never bashful and would often motivate us with the following phrase: “Come on you chumps, you fatheads, you silly asses. Let’s get this right!” We went to Basingstoke and Birmingham. There were many engagements but sometimes we just showed up. Then we would go over to wher ever there were a lot of people and get our instruments out. We played a junk music concert, (as he called it) since it was all modern music and not the classics. We sold records, postcards and put the hat out for donations. I am not sure if he had any funding issues but we sure sold a lot of postcards and records on that trip. We were often without accomodation. At our concerts, the plea would go out. Several of us would get billets. The rest of us would sleep on cots at the local Salvation Army Hall. In Dartmouth, I stayed with a nice family and saw British television for the first time. Programs with no commercials were wonderful along with the British accents. The band was invited to a lot of parties and other functions in Dartmouth. The people we met were all very open and friendly. After Dartmouth, we headed north to Salisbury, Weymouth, Sidmouth and Bristol. Bristol was the home of our bus driver. He was the same bus driver that the band had had for the previous two or three trips. Then came Carlisle, Glasgow,
106 ~ Paul McCartney and Wings
Edinburgh and so on. Then we came back south again into England and the ferry terminal at Harwich. We took a twenty hour ferry trip over to Norway. That was an adventure. We had no berths so we used reclining chairs to sit up on all the way. One of the sailors said to one of the band members, “If you are tired of sitting, you can use my bunk if you want to.” The band member thought that that was pretty nice of him. The only problem was that he soon found the sailor in the bunk with him. The band member was back sitting with us pretty quickly. A little worldly lesson on motives and using caution. The crossing got rough and some of us got quite seasick on the ferry ride. That didn’t stop Mr. Delamont from holding a practice/concert on the ship. This was challenging with the sickness but everyone played while they could and when they couldn’t the parts were covered by others. The show must go on! When we arrived in Norway, we then had to drive for eighteen hours to Stockholm. There were no stops along the way. Then we went to Goteborg, Sweden. We managed to fit in a day trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. That was pretty eye opening for an eighteen year old from old fashioned Victoria, British Columbia. Another highlight to the trip was attending a fair in Stockholm where Paul McCartney and Wings performed. We were fifty feet from Paul and close to the speakers so it was a real thrill. The audience area was packed with standing fans but we did get three encore pieces before the show ended. Through all this, the concerts got better and better. It was fun to play in the band and fun to see the showmanship that
IAN MACLEAN ~ 107
ABOVE: Ian with two groups he plays with these days
108 ~ Mark Stofer
Arthur brought to the concerts. When we played The Stripper in our junk concert, Mr. Delamont would occasionally start to remove his clothes, which the audience loved. The trip gave us a sense of what life on the road as a professional musician might be like. It is a hard and demanding life.” “What does the experience mean to you now as an adult?” “With this information, I made choices to attend UBC Mechanical Engineering and did not play at all for six years after the trip. But there was too much music in my blood and I started back playing in the North Shore Community Band and the Burnaby Legion Band. In 1978, Mark Stofer and I went to the big Alumni concert. We didn’t play but sat in the audience in the front row. It was such a great acoustical experience to see all those trumpets come out and line up for the Lost Chord. It brought back a lot of great memories. I went on to a career in Mechanical Engineering with BC Hydro living in different areas of the province but music has always been a big part of my life. I have played in community bands, Bavarian bands, pit orchestras for musicals and I play now with the West Vancouver Concert Band and Edelweiss Band. I like playing with musicians who are better than myself, like Wayne Pettie. I listened to him playing at the last Kitsilano Reunion concert. What a beautiful sound.” “Any thoughts on Mr. D?” “If Arthur Delamont were alive today, I would certainly thank him for all his efforts. The trip peaked my travel
IAN MACLEAN ~ 109
curiosity and confidence to do it. I made another trip to Europe sometime later going to Germany, Yugoslavia and Greece. My wife and I are continuing to explore the world. Mr. Delamont gave a lot to other people and made the world a much better place through music. I now try to carry this on with belonging to bands that play in nursing homes and other venues to bring live music into peopleâ€™s lives.
110 ~ Bud Kellett
1972 The boys taking a rest from their bus tour around England and Scotland.
John Evans “The Canada/Russia hockey series was on at the time. We sat at this table with some Russian fellows. The conversation went like this. They would say, “Mahovolich, Esposito.” We would say, “Perlinov, Mikilov. That was it. It was cool! We had our pins on, so they knew that we were Canadians. They knew the names of the Canadian players. We knew the names of the Russian players.” John Evans was one of several saxophone players that Arthur took along on his last two trips. Instead of taking two altos and a tenor sax as he had done in the past it was not uncommon to see four or five altos. He needed to fill in the ranks for marching and could not always be too particular as to what they played. “How did you meet Arthur Delamont?” “My mother made some telephone calls regarding getting me into the Kits band. I was in the Kiwanis band and why that didn’t work out, I do not remember.” “Could it have been because Bud Kellett, the director, was retiring?”
112 ~ Hotel Pectopah
“Yes, that could have been the reason. Anyway, off I went to the Kits band. I could play fairly well. I didn’t really have to go through the gamut.” “CHUMPS, FATHEADS AND SILLY ASSES!” I have no memories of having ever been banged on the side of the head. I have a number of memories of musical moments. I started in 1970. I almost went on the 1970 trip. He wasn’t too happy when I told him that I wasn’t going to go. What ever happened to Gordon Stewart?” “I don’t know. I have not run across him anywhere.” “He used to be an assistant manager at the Bayshore Inn. I used to get my haircut down at the hotel. So did Jimmy Pattison as did Dal Richards. We all went to the same barber. He was a mans’ barber. He only retired three or four years ago.” “Any stories from your early days in the band?” “One of the things that I remember distinctly is marching in those community parades. We did one in Delta every year. We met at the Odd Fellows Hall and then we marched down Ladner Trunk Road. There was the White Rock Parade and the Abbotsford Parade. Quite a lesson in regional geography. We had to show up at all these odd corners.” “He was getting you ready for his next trip to Europe.” “I still look over at the Odd Fellows Hall and say, I remember when!” “What do you remember about the preparations for the 1972 trip?” “We raffled off a GMC pickup with a camper. It was donated by Jimmy Pattison. We sold raffle tickets everywhere.
JOHN EVANS ~ 113
In Europe, we sold postcards and records. Did you sell postcards and records on the trips you were on?” “We only sold postcards on the 1966, ‘68 and ‘70 trips. When we returned home from the 1970 trip, we made the record which you guys sold on the 1972 trip.” “In 1972, every boy had to take along with him twentyfive records to sell. We kept them in our luggage. After we sold the records, we had room in our suitcase for souvenirs, so there was an incentive to sell the records.” “Tell me about the 1972 trip?” “We travelled around England and Scotland, Dartmouth was great. We played the Dartmouth Carnival and the Regatta. I remember the boat ride over to Norway. Everyone was sick. We had to play a concert on the boat. I had to keep a ‘barf’ bag in the bell of my saxophone. I remember in1974, in the USSR, two Soviet students were put on our bus to accompany us around. One was pretty but she was a devout communist. She was with us for a reason. The other girl was much nicer. They stayed with us and were there to help out whenever we needed them. We were not suppose to go out at night. In Moscow a couple of us went out one night. We established our land marks so we could find our way back. That is the first thing that you learn to do in a strange town. We looked up at the top of our hotel and we saw that it was called the ‘Hotel Pectopah.’ It had a bright red neon sign, so, off we went to have a look around. After a while we got tired, so we looked around for our bright red neon ‘Hotel Pectopah’ sign. There it was over there, ‘Pectopah.’ The other fellow that I was with said, “No, no, no! There it is over there.” Another ‘Pectopah.’ And over
114 ~ Graham Smith
there was a green one. Unfortunately we had not realized that ‘Pectopah’ meant restaurant in Russian. We spent the rest of the night struggling to find the correct sign. And then once we did, we had to figure out how to get back inside because the hotel was all locked up. In Moscow, we had been advised that western goods had great value. Russians wanted watches and especially western blue jeans. I remember getting up in the middle of the night and going to the bathroom. I was standing at the urinal and this guy comes up behind me and starts tugging on my pants, a bit disconcerning! What he wanted was to buy my blue jeans. He had some how broken into our tourist hotel and wanted to buy what ever we had. Gum was also cherished. We traded gum for Russian pins. Some of the guys had hundreds of Russian pins. My great coup was a badge off a Soviet officers hat.” “John shows me a USSR gold badge and says,” “I bought this one in the GUM department store. I also bought a bear skin hat in the GUM.” “You only went to Moscow on the trip?” “No, there were three stops in the USSR, Moscow, Leningrad and then Talinn, Estonia. We got to see the ‘Winter Palace‘ in Leningrad. It was stunning! Inside, there was a fancy royal coach which had belonged to the czars. It was ontlined in diamonds. We were told that they were real. It was not even behind glass. It was just behind a velvet rope.” “Where did you play?” “The only concert that I remember was in an outdoor stadium at a fair or festival. It was a fairly rough start. The band classics were not well received, so Arthur switched to
JOHN EVANS ~ 115
the ‘junk music’ and everything opened up. We had them dancing in the aisles. ‘Midnight in Moscow’ was very popular. My favorite story on the 1974 trip was in Talinn. Myself and Graham Smith went out one night. We found a bar tucked away in a basement somewhere. We had to go down a multitude of stairs to get there. We ordered this Russian beer. It was the kind of beer that you had to strain through your teeth. The Canada/Russia hockey series was on at the time. We sat at this table with some Russian fellows. The conversation went like this. They would say, “Mahovolich, Esposito.” We would say, “Perlinov, Mikilov.” That was it, it was cool! We had our pins on, so they knew that we were Canadians. They knew the names of the Canadian players. We knew the names of the Russian players. That’s how we communicated. The train ride into Estonia was brutal. We had flown from England to Moscow. I remember eating reindeer on a stop in Finland at some point on the trip. There were chickens on our train going to Estonia, very rural! We had a guide in Talinn named ‘Lela.’ All the older boys got her name and address when we left. There was quite a line-up trying to get her particulars. Somewhere there is a great picture of myself with ‘Lela.’ On the 1972 trip, I met a girl with whom I kept in touch with afterwards. Eventually I threw her letters away in the name of marital harmony. We had the same bus driver on both trips. He was also the same bus driver the band had on the 1970 trip. His name was Alex. Glenn David played in a band in our hotel a few times in
116 ~ Marek Norman
either Moscow or Leningrad. I don’t remember in which city. We were billeted out in Dartmouth. We were always well received in Dartmouth. On one of the trips, myself and some others, stayed with a very wealthy gentleman, who lived on the waters edge out by ‘One Gun Point.’ There was a hotel. His house was past the castle and next to the hotel. He lived there with his driver or man servent. He set up an open table for us at the hotel on his tab. There were three of us. I remember that he had a tiny car called a ‘Daff’ and a ‘Rolls Royce’ in his garage. One time we even had drinks with him. It was all very formal. We were very well looked after, one other story. When Arthur’s health was failing, Vera took him on a trip to Mexico. When he came back at the end of practice one night, he shut it down a little early, he went into his case and said, “Boys, I have got something for you. I brought you a little present back from Mexico.” He pulled out a little straw animal and says, “I brought one of these for each of you. A silly ass! It reminds me of you.” He handed one out to everyone. For years, I had it hanging in my car, from my mirror. Now, it goes on our Christmas tree and it is a reminder of the ‘old man.’ My kids all know the story of the silly asses.” “Bob Buckley was going to write a song called CHUMPS, FATHEADS AND SILLY ASSES.” “It has already been done. Marek Norman wrote and performed it at one of the reunion concerts. It was stunning!” “I will have to tell Bob. Well I’ll be! I missed that one. John, what did the whole experience of being in the band mean to you?” “The trips were great. It was an opportunity to grow up
JOHN EVANS ~ 117
in a unique way. We had total independence. It taught us responsibility as well. I was only late for the bus once between the two trips, public humiliation! I learned to polish shoes as a result. Lots of skills were learned in that band. There was always a sense of team work. If you were not there, there was a hole in the music. A lot of life skills were taught in that band. It was not until the later reunion concerts that I truly got a perspective on what had gone on before me in the band, the legacy and all.” “Are you happy to have been a part of it?” “Absolutely! Only good memories of a lot of good people. One of my retirement projects is to find a band and play some more.” “Who are the three people who have influenced your life the most?” “Arthur I would say for sure. My dad died just after I joined the band. A fellow that I worked with for a while would be number two. I had known him since grade twelve. His name was Earl Gallagher, sadly, I have lost touch with him. A third would probably be my mother!”
118 ~ Glen Miller 1974 Gretna Green, Scotland
Brad Goodwin “We went to Edinburgh and played around Scotland. Then we went over by ferry to Sweden. I remember going to see Paul McCartney and Wings in concert in Malmo, Sweden. It was in a park. We just had to go and pay an admission fee. I had to sit on top of the shoulders of one of the guys in order see Paul because I was so small.” Arthur always had one of the younger boys in the band come up front and play a solo. He was usually a smaller lad which only helped to accentuate is age. Brad was probably one of the last of a long line of boys to be shown off in this manner. While on tour in Europe, Brad would come up in front of the band with his snare drum and play a solo along with band accompaniment. “How did you get into the band?” “I was introduced to the band by a fellow named Glen Miller about 1971. He ended up not going on any of the trips. I joined just after Arthur had his heart attack.” “Anything you remember regarding the build up to the 1972 trip?”
120 ~ Graham Kita
“I was really short, I was thirteen years old and looked younger than thirteen. I became a favorite of Arthur Delamonts. I was a reasonably good drummer and because I was small, he liked to showboat me somewhat. When we were on the 1972 trip, one of the pieces we played was called ‘Drumming Up The Blues.’ I would strap on my drum and come up to the front of the band and play this piece in front of the band, with the band backing me up. I think when we returned Vancouver, I was up in front of the band three times for the homecoming concert. Once for Drumming Up The Blues, once for a verse that I had to recite for Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and once for a talk about somewhere we had gone on the trip.” “Was your dad on the 1972 trip?” “Yes, he was on the trip for the whole time. On the 1974 trip, he came at the start, then he went back home and then he came back to go to Russia. Arthur seemed to calm down after his heart attack. He didn’t seem to get near as mad at people anymore.” “Tell me about the 1972 trip?” “We went to Dartmouth. He stopped the bus outside of town and we all got out and marched into town, playing of course. We had a lot of fun in Dartmouth.” “Then you went up to Scotland?” “Yes, we went to Edinburgh and played around Scotland. Then we went over by ferry to Sweden. I remember going to see Paul McCartney and Wings in concert in Malmo, Sweden. It was in a park. We just had to go and pay an admission fee. I had to sit on top of the shoulders of one of the guys in order to see Paul because I was so small.”
BRAD GOODWIN ~ 121
“He put Keith Petrie out front to play as well. He was small. Keith played the trumpet. I introduced a couple of new fellows to the band, Graham Kita. He went on the 1974 trip. I remember when we marched into Dartmouth, Graham was carrying the flag out in front of the band. Graham went to the right and the band went to the left. I remember in Sweden, three or four of us decided to catch a hydrofoil over to Copenhagen on one of our free days. Arthur heard about it and the next day the whole band went to Copenhagen for the day.” “What do you recall about the 1974 trip to Russia?” “You know what Arthur was like. We were driving along and he spotted these steps leading up to some government building. He says, “That’s it! Stop the bus!” We stopped the bus and got out and unloaded our instruments and played a concert right on the steps of this government building. We had our photo taken as well. I cannot remember the name of the building. I have been back since but I cannot recall the name of the building.” “How did you get around in the USSR?” “We flew into Moscow and then after a few days in Moscow, we took a train to Leningrad. Then eventually we took a bus to Estonia. I remember that we had one drummer who couldn’t march in time. He drove Arthur nuts! I will not mention his name. I remember going through Red Square. We all bought Russian hats. One of the highlights was walking through Red Square and trading gum for Soviet pins.” “Where did you go after Talinn?” “We flew back to London and then we left for home.”
122 ~ Richmond Youth Orchestra
I remember after the 1972 trip, most of the fellows quit. I think that there was only ten fellows left in the band.” “What did you do after the band?” “I was playing with the Richmond Youth Orchestra before I joined the Kits band. I played in the senior band and the jazz band in high school. I also had a little rock band for a while.” “And after school?” I joined my dad’s electrical company. I worked my way up to be a foreman. In the early 1980s, the accountants left my dad’s company, so I went to night school and became a certified management accountant. I am still with the company after thirty years. We sold out the majority ownership and brought in some other people. The construction business is great! Dad has kind of retired.” “Your dad enjoyed the trips?” “Yes, he had a good time.” “What does the whole experience mean to you now, some thirty-four years later?” ‘It was certainly a maturing experience for a young kid of thirteen and then fifteen years old. All the touring around we did, living in youth hostels and playing concerts everywhere. I try to pass my experience on to my kids. My son plays in his school band. He has been to Cuba and to Hawaii with the Delta Senior Secondary band. Now my daughter is in the band. Last year she travelled to Costa Rica with the band.” “Who were the three people who were the biggest influence on your life?” “Arthur for sure, for his influence and making sure you did
BRAD GOODWIN ~ 123
ABOVE: 1972 Brad up front on snare drum at the left in Norway. BELOW: 1974 Brad with crest on his sweater in middle.
124 ~ Ed Foreman
did it right. My dad! I remember that my dad and Arthur got into a bit of an argument over finances. It was about whether we should play a certain concert. I wasn’t too happy about that because they were two people that I respected a lot.” “The bottom line always was, it was Arthur’s band. He wouldn’t stand for anyone telling him what to do. If you were going to argue with him, you had better be prepared to lose.” “Yes, well they got over it and all was fine. The third person who was a big influence on me was a fellow by the name of Ed Foreman. He was a motivational speaker I saw a few times.” “Thanks Brad!” “You are most welcome!”
Bill Walters I was entering a world that I had never imagined. It was like a private boarding school for boys, the gateway to the “Lord of the Flies.” I remember on the flight to England, Mel the chaperone coming to the back of the airplane. He was going to lay down the law. He wanted to make it very clear regarding his expectations. I didn’t really understand. It was very clear that after he left, all the experienced boys thought it was alot of hot air. “Tell me how you got into the Kits band?” I played in the Burnaby Central Secondary band and my grade eleven band instructor, who had been in the Kits band (Dick McManus), was very encouraging. I didn’t know that he had been a member at the time. In my grade 12 year we won the BC Band Championship. That would be in 1971. My playing level was getting pretty good. I played the solo in the test piece for the festival that we won. There were some really good players in that band. Peter Audet was playing in the VSO at the time as well, so the playing level was
126 ~ Ron Winters
pretty high. It just raised everyoneâ€™s standards. Dick McManus encouraged me to play other kinds of music. Earl Hobson conducted the Dunbar Operatic Society at the time, so Dick sent me over and I played two years in the pit orchestra for Earl. I also played in pit orchestras for Broadway productions at other schools whenever a trumpet was needed. My chops were getting pretty good! Ron Winters, a musical colleague of mine, saw an advertisement in the newspaper for a band (Kits) looking for members to travel to Europe in the summer of 1972. Both Ron and I joined the band. I will never forget my first rehearsal at General Gordon, scared the hell out of me! Delamont raised the baton and dropped it and it was like a jet plane taking off, I couldnâ€™t hear a thing. Must have been a 150 decibels echoing off those basement walls where we practiced. That was in the spring of 1972. We did some marching around Kitsilano, in the community, played in his White Rock band and then we were all brought together with some musicians from Victoria who he added. I had wished that I had joined the band earlier, as I could tell that those boys who had come up with Mr. D had superior abilities, great chops and an exposure to a wider range of repertoire. My grade 12 band director was actually Gary Hartley. Dick had relenquished control and went into counselling. He became a full time counsellor at the school. Gary was a trumpet player fresh out of UBC. Dick was an influence on me. I reconnected with Dick in later years when he encouraged me to come out to the Kits Band Alumni Reunion Concert in
BILL WALTERS ~ 127
2007. “Did the Burnaby Central Band travel?” We did many trips in BC and to Oregon, Oliver, usually by bus but nothing greater than five hours away. Nothing as spectacular as the Kits band trips. “Did they go into the BC Music Festival every year?” I only had two years of playing at Burnaby Central. I have a gold medal though for the one we won. “What do you remember regarding your first meeting with Mr. D?” I remember intimidation, being put on the spot. I had to take a solo and I was ill-equipped for the pressure of the kids. I was an older lad and I wasn’t prepared for the situation. The younger trumpet players were really outstanding and I had not played for a year (since grade twelve). He gave me a sort of coy look. I felt humiliated because I was older and these young kids had such amazing chops. “Tell me about the trip.” I was entering a world that I had never imagined. It was like a private boarding school for boys, the gateway to the “Lord of the Flies.” I remember on the flight to England, Mel the chaperone coming to the back of the airplane. He was going to lay down the law. He wanted to make it very clear regarding his expectations. I didn’t really understand. It was very clear that after he left, all the experienced boys thought it was alot of hot air. There was no way that he was going to lay down any law. I have looked back at it retrospectively and realized I was entering a whole new code of conduct that had its own rules and rituals like an English boarding school. And at that point, I was entering into the darkside of the
128 ~ Dave Jones
hazing rituals. It really reminded me of the Lord of the Flies. I felt that left to our own devices, someone could have really gotten hurt. For example: ‘The ritual of the hazing.’ All the younger boys had gone through these humiliating experiences (or at least that is what they told us). There was a hierarchy in the band. The older boys were maintaining the history of the band. They referred to the previous trip where there had been a fair amount of muscle imposed on the younger members. As it turned out, because I was bigger than most of them, they solicited my support in the hazing process. I went through a token hazing. It only lasted a few days and then we all bonded. “There always has been a hierarchy by which the older boys kept the younger boys in-line, musically speaking and regarding behaviour. The older boys were expected to keep an eye on the younger boys as well.” I remember the boys who had been on previous trips telling us about the level of extraordinary, mission impossible events of stealing flags and so forth. We thought we were walking in the steps of giants. It was typical British boarding school behaviour. “Sounds to me like there were no moderating influences on the trip (boys with more maturity).” I do not recall any musical directions from any of the guys. As my chops progressed, the boys marched me up to Delamont and demanded that I play first trumpet. That was the musical dynamic. I think Arthur thought it was funny, so he let me play first. “Your first concert was on the Thames Embankment?” For my first few days in London, I was in a complete
BILL WALTERS ~ 129
haze. It was like the twilight zone. It was my first time off the continent. I remember the Salvation Army barricks where we stayed. “Then you headed down to Dartmouth?” Yes, I have very fond memories of Dartmouth. We were starting to march and play well. The countryside was gorgeous. Our bus driver told us about the local legends, Agatha Christie’s house. I was just starting to settle down and get into the pub scene. Redding was the watershed moment. We performed a concert on stage in a community auditorium. We played the Lost Chord for the first time. We never rehearsed it. He just said, “Get up!” I didn’t know what was going on. The band hadn’t quite jelled yet but the audience gave us a standing ovation. It was at that point that the band started to come together. We were starting to see his expectations regarding showmanship. “Any thoughts regarding the other fellows in the band?” I started hanging out with Dave Jones. Church halls and billeting were the two forms of accomodation we usually had. I remember often our billets would bring us a cup of tea in bed and sometimes a wash cloth. We all started to like that! We would also often have the same thing to eat three times a day. It was usually a combination of eggs, ham or bacon, toast and fried sausages and tomatoes; oh, sometimes beans as well! We played many holiday resorts and parks. We did not make much money when the hat was passed around in those places. Delamont would often complain. I remember the distinction between the festival ports and the ones like
130 ~ Stuart Rogers
Blackpool (seaside resorts). We were experiencing the class distinctions from one town to another. I remember we had a connection with the Rotary as well. “We never had that kind of connection. We always had to source out places to stay. We sometimes stayed in bed and breakfasts but they were getting expensive. We were hardly ever billeted.” We did stay in army barricks. I remember some of the local English bands we ran into as well. I developed a real fondness for their style of playing. It was a very eye-opening experience for us all. I became lifelong friends with Stuart Rogers. He lives in Toronto. Many of the guys went on afterwards to become engineers, which is interesting. I know that because of all the business cards I have collected at the reunion concerts. “Yes, many of the guys became very well educated. Even back in the 1930s, they became engineers and accountants. I think that there must be some correlation between music and occupations that have a mathematical basis, like engineering and accounting.” The band was a wonderful experience and my only regret (as I said) was that I didn’t join when I was younger. I have two memories of the band, one as an eighteen year old and one as a 50 something year old. It has left a strong impression on me as to what I might have achieved had I joined earlier. I see alumni who had stopped playing and have now gone back to it. My perspective now is that I am a part of this secret society. We all have this shared experience. I see the others now as little boys because of your photos and books. My group was the end of an era (the seventies). I also now wonder when I see all these guys still playing into their seventies, how good can I still get if I practice hard. It
BILL WALTERS ~ 131
ABOVE: Bill with Dick McManus at the 2008 reunion at the Kitsilano Showboat.
132 ~ Brian Bolam
gives me a sense of optimism. I tell young people to try as many things as possible when you are young because it stays with you and it opens doors. I have taken some lessons from Jim Littleford and I still play alot of show music. It is a great challenge. Swing bands as well are challenging. I play in the Brock House Big Band and the Milleraires Big Band in West Vancouver and Sentimental Journey in the summer. They are all great experiences. Getting back to the trip, when I started the trip I was a very moral person but I liberated so many souveniors on that trip that my morals were certainly loosened. I never stole so many things in my entire life. We created our own code of conduct. It goes back to the ethos of this group of young men. I remember taking signs off of ferries, cobblestones from street corners. I have not done anything like that since. I still have the souvenirs. They are all now just a part of the experience. Overall the guys were a good bunch. I think the band offered a rare opportunity to be a part of a cult around a generational figure. To meet them again at the end of their lives and to see we all shared the same experiences is very rare. To meet guys like Jim Pattison and all those Order of Canada recipients tells me this was an exceptional organization and they all still have this thing about their shoes and socks (Mr D stressed black socks and shoes on stage). Everyone knows the routine. A rare opportunity to reflect on life. â€œWhat did you do after the band?â€? I went through the educational system, getting a degree in psychology. I worked in the executive field in government.
BILL WALTERS ~ 133
I have made films. It has been an eclectic experience. “Are your kids musical?” Neither of them were really interested in a musical instrustrument. No, I more or less just give an Uncle’s advice to any young people I run into. My advice to all young people is to get into music, you will never regret it. There is a quote I like: “Live as though you are going to die tomorrow and learn as though you are going to live forever.” Mahatma Gandhi My heroes are Sonny Rollins (saxophone player) and the guys from the Kits Band who are in their seventies, eighties and nineties and still playing away (Sonny Rollins because he still plays seven hours a day). But the Kits guys really inspire me, especially people like Brian Bolam and others (Bill opens a book of music and hands it to me). Bill Trussell’s wife was giving away some of his things after he died and she gave me this book. It is one of my treasures. “Who are the three people who influenced your life the most?” My inspiration has come from different people. As far as Kits alumni I would say Dick McManus is one. He was an encourager. Now that we are both older we can have adult conversations and reflect on things that happened. We have different perspectives of course as he was the teacher and I the student. Brian Bolam would be another. I love the way he attacks a solo and his tone is just beautiful. The swing music he plays is just great. And Earl Hobson is another. I met Earl when I was seventeen. I played in the Royal City Band under Earl when he
134 ~ Stuart Rogers
was their conductor. I have come to respect Earl’s depth of knowledge as a conductor. I might include Stuart Rogers as well. He is brilliant. He became a judge on ‘Reach For The Top’ and also wrote questions for the show. He was paid by CBC to write. He is now a technical writer. He played trombone in the band. He taught himself to play the violin after high school and went to UBC. This is unheard of now. You need to begin playing when you are young and play Suzuki and so forth. He actually got accepted to a National orchestra in Toronto. He still plays for fun. Quite a guy!
ABOVE: Bill on the 1972 Europe trip in front of a statue of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. It is thought that the band’s uniforms were patterened after the SA uniforms.
Dale Peterson “He was tougher than Delamont in many ways. He was extremely demanding and he was a real disciplinarian. No one moved and you watched him all the time. If you moved or did not watch him he would stop the band immediately and be on top of you saying, “Why weren’t you watching me?” That was just the way he was. Soon people realized that they were there to learn music and that there was to be no nonsence. He was so knowledgeable and so prepared.” Dale Peterson did not play in the Kitsilano Boys’ Band but he did play in the Arthur Delamont Concert Band in later years. Dale was a member of another prominent band in Vancouver in the fifties and sixties, the Kerrisdale Kiwanis Band under Bud Kellett. Dale wanted to be included in my books to say a few words in memory of Arthur and I wanted to hear more about the Kerrisdale Kiwanis Band about which nothing has ever been written. “When did you first become aware of Arthur Delamont?” I heard Arthur’s bands playing in the parks when I was a
136 ~ Bud Kellett
kid. My mom would take me down to the park and whenever we heard a band, I would go running over to see who it was. I started playing clarinet about 1962. I took lessons from Wesley Foster, he later became the principal clarinet with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He was the top student of Don Dorazio. He took his overflow. I studied with him for two years. I tried his alto saxophone one time and he said, “You should be playing that.” It came so easily to me. It wouldn’t be until years later that I would switch to alto, tenor and baritone saxophone. I joined the Kiwanis band and played third clarinet in the junior band under Bud Kellett. I had one of those horrible metal clarinets (Oxford of England). I finally earned enough from my paper route to get a good clarinet (Boosey & Hawkes, series 220, advanced student model). I still play it today. I then put my name on a list to take private lessons from Bud. It took me about three years after I became a student of his to get into the senior band. Bud was a very tough teacher. If you didn’t practice one week, he knew within two or three notes. For the rest of the half hour he would be on you like a shirt. He would get mad and say, “Your waisting your time.” He was tougher than Delamont in many ways. He was extremely demanding and he was a real disciplinarian. No one moved and you watched him all the time. If you moved or did not watch him he would stop the band immediately and be on top of you saying, “Why weren’t you watching me?” That was just the way he was. Soon people realized that they were there to learn music and that there was to be no nonsence. He was so knowledgeable and so prepared himself, so you learned alot. A half hour with Bud was like two hours with someone else. We worked through scales, ear training, sight reading, he really put us through the works. He had been in the
DALE PETERSON ~ 137
military playing in the Navy Band overseas for many many years. He played hundreds of concerts every year, all kinds of music. “He was no Gordon Olson?’ No, he was the consummate professional. He was tough on you but when you played well he would say, “Good man Peterson, good man. Have a rest” Then he would say, “Okay long enough rest,” and then we would go on to the next thing. “Delamont would say,” I don’t know how you get such a nice sound?’ Different styles I guess! Because Bud was a pro player and so well versed in performance and entertainment he was amazing. We played every year at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre with the band. We had the junior band and the senior band. Both were about fifty piece bands. He also had half time entertainment. He could announce but we usually had the fellow from ‘Reach For The Top’ do the announcing. If he was late or couldn’t do it, Bud just took over. He knew how to entertain a crowd but in a very strict, professional manner. It was very entertaining. “How much traveling did the band do?” The band did not do alot of traveling, at least not when I was in it. We did go to Expo 67 in Montreal. That was a wonderful trip. We played around the Lower Mainland. We sent a tape to the Expo Committee the year prior. Someone came out and heard the band live and we were accepted right away. We had six months to prepare. It was a fabulous trip. Bud was a wonderful bandmaster and great at teaching music to people, quickly! He had this wonderful gift for
138 ~ Bruce Fairbairn
teaching. He always had a sense of humour as well. He was always first class. He showed up in a suit with his baton sticking out of his briefcase. He knew the music backwards and forwards, not like today. Today conductors are learning the music as they play it with us. He knew who made the mistake in the back row. Just before the Expo trip some of the guys couldn’t make the trip. Bruce Fairbairn had prior commitments with his own band. Bob Mullet, who conducted the junior band, decided to come along as lead trumpet. He had been the lead trumpet before Bruce Fairbairn took over. He got guys from different places. I went from clarinet to tenor saxophone. Delamont even said to Bud at Expo 67 when they met, “Boy, I wished I had your reed section.” Bud said, “ You can’t have them.” He loved our reed section. It was a great clarinet section. Bud’s son Lorne played lead clarinet not because he was Bud’s son but because he was the best. Paul Cram played second clarinet. There was Brad and David Cachet, Ardith Vincent was another. Dallas Hinton was yet another. He went to Berkley College later on. “When did you first play for Delamont?’ I think it was in 1975. That is when George Fisher and Frank Hills came and talked to me about having this Alumni band. They said, “We talked to him and he wants you to come out.” I said, “I don’t know him.” “Doesn’t matter!” they said. “Just come and play.” I went to a rehearsal in Marpole. He seemed to like my playing. I think he heard me playing Sophisticated Lady. We had a nice chat. I told him that I had played for Bud Kellett for years. “Nice man,” he said. I got to play with him and played with him right to the
DALE PETERSON ~ 139
ABOVE: Dale playing a solo at the 2004 Ken Sotvedt Memorial Concert at the Kitsilano Showboat. Dal Richards is reading Thanks For The Memories. BELOW: The Kerrisdale Kiwanis Band playing at Expo 67 in Montreal.
140 ~ Bob Mullet
end in 1982. I was supposed to go on the 1979 tour to Great Britain but that was the year that I got married and the post office would not let me off. I never played with him as a kid but the alumni all took me in. There was no problem! It was kind of neat. I played all his concerts. I knew enough of what he was like and what he expected, so it was fine. Bud taught us about punctuality and Delamont was the same. He didn’t tolerate lateness in any form. I liked Delamont. It was almost entertainment just being at his rehearsals. I remember one time going to a gig in Cloverdale and he had no music. He would just call out the piece, “Raiders boys!” and the guys would all play it from memory because they had all been in his Kits band. I just listened and played along. He always asked, “Who is having a birthday?” Then he would play Happy Birthday and we would all join in. He had this way about him that made it hard for you to not like the guy. His smile would melt butter. I enjoyed the cameraderie in his band. Bud retired from the Kiwanis band after Expo 67. We then got a new conductor. He was a great trumpet player but a lousy conductor. That was Stu Carpenter. He thought that he was dealing with a kid’s band. We decided to start a band of our own because we were unhappy with his conducting. It was called ‘The Ambassadors of Sound.’ We had fifty-five people in this band. That would have been about 1969. We hired Bud back and the Lion’s Club became our sponsors. That lasted for only a couple of years. Some former Kits players like Peter Erwin came and played. Then we started up the West Point Grey Concert Band. There was a contest between Dallas Hinton and Bob Mullet to see who would
DALE PETERSON ~ 141
become the conductor. Bob was more of a swing player and Dallas was more classical. Bob won the day! Later, Garth White became our conductor and then Fred Stride. It is still around today in some form. In 1993, Al Sweet got me to join the Richmond Legion band which he was starting up. “Any Delamont stories?” Not really, I was proud to have played at his service. I was a letter carrier (postman). I came down and changed in my car for the funeral. He was a great guy for what he and guys like Bud Kellett did for the kids of Vancouver. I am sure a lot more kids would have gone astray if it hadn’t been for guys like them. Bud played first clarinet in Arthur’s pro band as well. Members of the Kerrisdale Kiwanis Band included: Rick Kilburn, Bill Buckingham (producer), Cathy Auld, Tom Northcott (singer), Tom Keenlyside, Jim MacGillvary, Ralph Eppel, Sharman King, Paul Cram, Lorne Kellett, Dallas Hinton, Bruce Scott, Brad Scott, Bruce Fairbairn (legendary rock producer), Bob Mullet, Richard van Slyke, Gene Ramsbottom, Jim Littleford, Bill Dudlets, David Palmquist, Grant Scott, Murray Webb, Lynn Chappell, Sally McLellan, Kevin Chipperfield, John Anderson, John Davies, Ron Hanford, Ron Phillips, Barbara Palmquist, Grace Anderson, David McCashen, Brian McCashen, John Hutton, David Proctor, David Phillips, Patsy Ellerby, Lottie White, Mandy maxey, Murray Faerheller, Craig Smith, Ralph Inglis, Alan Morley, Joy Grieg, Sharon MacGougan, Tom Friedman, Murray Low, Ardith Vincent, Brian Brow, Hugh Stansfield, Gordon Hall, David Mclellan, Paul Christianson, Steve Tjoren, Ron Turner, Gordon Low.
142 ~ Bobby Hales
I managed to reach Bud Kellett a few years ago and arranged to meet him for coffee at the Langara Public Golf Course clubhouse off 49th Avenue on Vancouver’s westside. Bud was in his nineties by then but as spry and sharp as ever. I asked, “Where did you begin your playing career?” I played in the Vancouver Juvenile Band under Bill Sara and Jack Parle. Bill Sara lived with his daughter and taught woodwinds. Jack Parle taught brass. They won many prizes. Sara taught above the legion every Saturday.Hhe taught the Royal Conservatory exams. He was a good teacher. I was in the band when many of the boys left him for Arthur Delamont who was just starting his band. That would be about the spring of 1933. “Why did you not leave to join the Kitsilano Boys Band?” Loyalty to Bill Sara. He was devistated and it really spelled the end of his band. I didn’t want to leave out of loyalty to him. I wound up playing later on for Arthur when he started his Arthur Delamont Concert band. I was his first clarinet player right up until the end. “Where did you play before 1954?” I was in the Naden band during the war years stationed in England. I was also in a quartet with Mickey Crawford on flute. Johnny Shamlin was our bass clarinet player. He later went to the Curtis Institute. Maxwell Snider played oboe and english horn and myself. After the war we were offered twenty-five cents a week to stay in England by a Scottish organization. We couldn’t get out fast enough! We did play at a Scottish university. I joined the Naden band in 1941. I spent two years in the band here in Canada and then two years
DALE PETERSON ~ 143
with the band in England at SS Nairobi. After I returned to Vancouver in the early 1950s a Mr Palmer ask me if I would be interested in forming a band. He was in the Kiwanis. I thought about it and decided to try it. Our first concert was at the Kerrisdale Arena at Christmas time. We had about twelve players. Eventually we got bigger and we also had a junior band. I hired Bobby Hales to run the junor band. Things got too busy for me after the Expo 67 trip, so I packed it in. If I hadnâ€™t, my wife would have disowned me!
144 ~ Index
INDEX A Abbotsford Music Festival..........82 Aeroflot........................................88 Air Canada...................................74 Alexander Park............................83 ‘Alex the bus driver’..................115 Arseneau, Joe........................36, 41 Arseneau, Ron........................39-46 Arthur Delamont Concert Band..................................135, 142 Audet, Peter...............................125 B Ball, Bruce.........................71-9, 93 Banff............................................72 Barcelona.....................................96 Basingstoke.........................83, 105 Battle of the Flowers Parade.....100 BC Allstar Band..........................58 BC Band Championship............125 BC Lion’s Band...........................60 BC Music Festival.....................127 Bensted, Jack...............................53 Berkley College of Music...........88 Birmingham...............................105 Black, Norm................................98 Blackpool..................................129 Blakely, Jim.....................11, 12, 19 Bolam, Brian.......................16, 133 Bonnell, Greg.........................81-90 Bonnell, Ken................................93 Bouwman, George...........61, 66, 83
Briscoe, Wayne...........................93 Bristol........................................105 Brock House Baig Band...........132 Brodie, Malcolm.........................44 Bruce, Bobby..............................67 Buckley, Bob............................116 Buckoll, Ken...............................53 Burnaby Central HSchool.........125 Burnaby Legion Band...............108 C Calder, Bob.................................48 Calder, Bruce..............................40 Calder, Dave...................12, 48, 93 Calgary........................................72 Calgary Stampede.......................60 Capitol Theatre............................13 Carlisle......................................105 Carpenter, Stu...........................140 Christie, Keith.............................45 Christie, Richard.......19, 36, 41, 44 Chycoski, Arnie..........................15 CJOR...........................................41 CKMO........................................41 CKWX........................................41 Cologne.....................26, 27, 49, 62 Copenhagen........................85, 102 CP Air.........................................74 Cram, Paul................................138 Crawford, Mickey.....................142 Cromie, Don...............................41 Cromie, Terry..............................41 Curtis Institute..........................142
146 ~ Index
Dafoe, Ernie....................53, 89, 90 Dartmouth....27, 50, 63, 74, 83, 96, 113, 116, 120, 129 Dartmouth Carnival/Regatta......113 David, Glenn........................88, 115 Delamont, Arthur....18, 21, 40, 48, 58, 78, 92, 120 Delamont, Vera..........................101 Delamont Community Music Room...........................................20 Delta Concert Band.....................66 Delta SS Band...........................122 Disneyland...................................93 Dorazio, Don.............................136 Duck, Fred.............................83, 89 Dudley, Paul................................14 Dubar Operatic Society.............126
Fairbairn, Bruce........................138 Fisher, George..........................138 Follies Bergere............................75 Foreman, Ed..............................124 Forester, Charlie..........................53 Foster, Wesley...........................136 Fraser, Bob..................................73 Fulton, Jack.................................15
E Edelweiss Band.........................108 Edinburgh..............61, 65, 84, 91, 95, 105, 119 Edmonton....................................60 Ellenton, George....................57-70 Emery, Arnie..........................81, 86 Emery, Bert............................21, 29 Empire Stadium...........................48 Eric Hamber S School.................66 Estonia.......................................115 Evans, John..........................111-18 Expo 67...............42, 137, 139, 143
G Gallagher, Earl..........................117 Gateway Theatre.........................67 General Gordon School..12, 18, 22, 25, 36, 40, 60, 92, 104, 126 Gehring, Maz..............................69 Glasgow....................................105 Goodwin, Brad......99, 101, 119-24 Goodwin, Mel.....................85, 125 Gomez, Harry..............................46 Goteborg.............................85, 106 Grady, Rod..................................40 Gregg, Mike..........................58, 59 Gretna Green.............................118 Griffith, Ross..............................82 Gumbleton, Bill...................91-102 H Habkirk, Jack.57, 58, 60, 71 Hales, Bobby...143 Hamburg...78 Hartley, Gary...126 Harwick..106
INDEX ~ 147
Hawthorne, Jamie.......................59 Hawthorne, John.........................82 Heathrow Airport........................76 Helsinki.......................................88 Hereford.......................................83 Herman, Woody.....................81, 86 Herriot, Bobby.............................66 Hills, Frank................................138 Hinton, Dallas....................138, 140 HMCS Discovery.........................91 Hobson, Earl..............................133 Hopkins, Ken.........................36, 46 Horrocks, Al................................57 Hot Jazz Club..............................14 Hotel Puerto Toledo.....................76 Hughes, Bill.................................30 I Ingledew, Bill........................49, 48 Inverness,.................................... 95 Isyâ€™s Supper Club........................47 J Jardin du Luxembourg..........84, 98 Jones, David......................101, 129 K Kalmanovskaya, Nadia..........57, 69 Kellett, Bud........111, 135, 138, 142 Kellett, Lorne.............................138 Ken Sotvedt Memorial Concert......................................139 Kent, Doug............................81, 86
Kerkrade..............23, 24, 49, 61,62 Kerrisdale Kiwanis Band.........111, 135, 139, 141 Ketchum, Chris...........................50 Kingcrest Community Band.......12 Kirov Ballet................................57 Kitsilano..................................... 29 Kitsilano Showboat........21, 28, 87, 131 Kiwanis Music Festival..............40 Klondike Days............................60 Kursaal Ballroom..................27, 42 Kutney, Chris..............................81 L Lehtonen, Al.............46, 62, 82, 98 Leinbach, Barry.........21-37, 44, 45 Leinbach, Bea.......................21, 29 Leningrad..........................114, 121 Littleford, Jim...........................132 Loewen, Wendy....................51, 78 London...........23, 91, 94, 104, 128 London Records.........................47 Lord Byng HS............................43 Lower Mainland Allstars Band...58 Luff, Don.............12, 47-55, 93, 99 Luff, Doug......................48, 91, 92 Luff, Vic................................47, 91 Lycee St.Louis......................41, 97 M Macaulay, Doug....................19, 20 MacKinnon, Bryon.....................41 MacLean, Ian.........................103-9
148 ~ Index
Madrid.............................49, 75, 97 Maeda, Tak..................................18 Malmo..........................85, 119, 120 Mark Hopkins Hotel....................46 Marks & Spencers.......................28 Matheson, Alan............................14 Maz and Mes...............................67 McCartney, Paul & Wings........101, 103, 106, 119, 120 McCullock, Jim...........................89 McKenzie, Dave.......12, 37, 42, 48, 75, 89, 97, 100 McManus, Dick........125, 126, 131, 133 Metro Theatre..............................66 Michaux, Emile.........................103 Miller, Barry..........................51, 73 Miller Glen................................119 Milleraires Big Band.................132 Millerd, Bill...........................12, 48 Monte Carlo..............................100 Monteith, Graeme..................45, 59 Moscow................88, 113, 114, 121 Moscrop Junior Secondary School..........................................92 Mount Douglas SS.....................103 Muir, Eric....................................53 Mullet, Bob........................138, 140
New Westminster senior band....15 Nice, France................................84 Norman, Marek.............50, 84, 116 North Shore Community Band...16 Norway..............101, 106, 113, 123
Queen Elizabeth Theatre......22, 92, 137
Naden Band...............................142 Navy League Cadets....................91 Neff, Tracy...................................69 Negrin, Tony................................45 New Westminster District Band..13
P Page, Jennifer.............................69 Pantages Theatre...................36, 41 Paris....................26, 63, 75, 84, 98 Parker, Edward............................55 Parker, John, Kimura..................55 Pattison, Jimmy.................112, 132 Pattison, Jimmy, Jr......................54 Peabody, Eddy.......................36, 41 Penticton Peach Festival.............60 Peterson, Dale......................135-43 Petrie, Al.....................................85 Petrie, Iain.................19, 43, 50, 81 Petrie, Keith..............................121 Pettie, Mr & Mrs.........................74 Pettie, Wayne..........19, 43, 50, 108 Pickell, Dave...............................78 Planten um Blumen.....................78 Poole, Wally................................53 Q
R Red Barrel Room........................71 Reid, Bernie................................57
INDEX ~ 149
Reid, Bob.....................................89 Rich, Buddy...........................47, 55 Richards, Dal...............49, 112, 139 Richmond District Junior Band...57 Richmond District Senior Band..57 Richmond HS Band.....................57 Richmond Youth Orchestra.......122 Robertson, Wally..........................66 Rogers, Stuart....................130, 134 Rollins, Sonny............................133 Rose, Bev.........................67, 68, 69 Rotary Club.................................85 Royal City Alumni Band.............14 Royal City Concert Band...........133 Royal Scotsman...................91, 102 Royal Winnipeg Ballet................70 S Salisbury....................................105 Sara, William, Hoskins..............142 Schick, Larry...............................73 Scoular, Dave..............................73 Sentimental Journey...................132 Shamlin, Johnny.........................142 Sherman Clay Music.............36, 41 Sinatra, Frank..............................69 Sinclair, David.............................78 Slyke, Richard, van.....................81 Smith, Graham...........................115 Snider, Maxwell.........................142 Solby, Deryk..........................16, 17 Southend-on-Sea.......26, 42, 63, 70 Soviet Union................................86 Stamms, Marvin...........................15 Stewart, Gordon.........................112
Stockholm...................85, 103, 106 Stofer, Mark..............................108 Stride, Fred...............................141 Sweden................................85, 101 Sweet, Al...................................141 T Tallinn...............................114, 121 Tarling, Bryce.............................19 Tarling, Jay..................................14 Tarling, Wayne.......................11-20 Thames Embankment.......104, 128 The Ambassadors of Sound......140 Top of the Mark..........................46 Trussel, Bill...................19, 90, 133 Tuck, Doug.................................41 Turner, Fred..........................14, 58 Turner, Kerry...............................15 U UBC Pep Band......................28, 85 Urchuk, Walter................... ..81, 86 USSR..........................86, 113, 121 V Vancouver Community College..14 Vancouver Dorf Music Band.....14, 16 Vancouver Firefighterâ€™s Band....32, 35 Vancouver Junior Symphony.....36, 46 Vancouver Juvenile Band..........142
150 ~ Index
Vancouver Rube Band...........48, 53 Vancouver Symphony Orchestra......................................48 Vancouver Youth Symphony.......14 Victoria......................................103 W Walker, Barry...............................82 Walters, Bill.........................125-34 Watkinson, Gary........................101 Watt, Pete.....................................90 Weeks, Anson..............................46 West Point Grey Comm band.....16, 140 West Vancouver Comm Band.....16, 108 West Vancouver Youth Band.......98 Weymouth..................................105 White, Garth..............................141 White Rock..................................51 White Rock Band..........85, 93, 126 Whitely, Len................................66 Wiebe, Mr....................................92 Wilson, Gary................................52 Winters, Ron..............................126 Woolwich...............................23, 61 Wright, Jack.................................40
TOP: 1968 Marching to play a concert in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris. BELOW: 1968 Playing a concert at a seaside resort in England.
Published on Jun 30, 2013
Meet the boys from the 1960s and 1970s Vancouver Boys' Band. As the years went by the band's tours became more frequent, every two years. Ar...