THE RICHMOND COMMUNITY CONCERT BAND

ONCE KNOWN AS

THE RICHMOND BRANCH 5 LEGION BAND





THE STORY OF THE RICHMOND COMMUNITY CONCERT BAND

Sometime in 1973 the Executive of Richmond’s Branch 5 Royal Canadian Legion, acting on a proposal of vice-president Jack Thompson, decided that Branch 5 would sponsor a Marching and Concert Band. Unfortunately Jack died about two years after the Band’s inauguration and before it reached its full potential. Some of his remarks on the Band are reproduced in Appendix 3.

Al Sweet (1914-2008), a former military and Salvation Army bandsman (euphonium player) and former conductor of the 15th Field Artillery Band was recruited by Jack to be the new Band’s music director. Al’s day job was a bus driver. One day Al stopped his bus in mid-route, honked the horn and shouted at Dale Peterson, whom he knew, to recruit him as a saxophonist for the new group.

The band’s first rehearsal was held Sunday, February 4th, 1973 in the auditorium of Branch 5, located on Westminster Highway near Number 3 Road in Richmond, B.C. (it’s not there anymore). Initially the Band was rather small, consisting of only six musicians, but grew rapidly. Founding members were Dale Peterson (alto sax and clarinet), Stan Lewis (trumpet), Jim Morecroft (clarinet), Ian Ramsey (clarinet), Gerry Crossley (trombone) and B.A. Reid (sousaphone). Ian Michie (cornet, and later, tuba) joined shortly afterwards . Ian later served as Band President and executive member.

Richard Branion joined the Band in 1974, followed shortly by Lesley and Grant Scott and Paul Watkinson, all of whom are still members.

Branch 5 supplied the uniforms seen in the following photos.

Herb Troke (euphonium) often served as Assistant Conductor, as did Gerry Crossley. Watching Herb’s conducting was somewhat like going to the ballet. At some point in the ‘70s, Gerry Crossley brought several of the members of his youth band into the Band.


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Al Sweet conducting the Branch 5 Legion Band in the Branch 5 auditorium sometime in the 1970s.
Clarinets L-R: John Gibson, unknown, Dale Peterson, Paul Watkinson, unknown, Doug Devenich, Richard Branion.
Back row: Saxophones: unknown, George Caslor

Al retired in 1979. He lived into his 90s and never seemed to age; he looked the same in his 90s as he did in his 70s.

Al was replaced by Bob Mullett, a well-known local trumpeter and percussionist. Bob has been the Band’s music director ever since. He has given all of us many wonderful memories with his expert direction and instruction in the intricacies of various rhythms. Bob may get frustrated with the Band but it’s rarely obvious.


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Band members celebrating Al Sweet’s 90th birthday.
L-R Peter Erwin, Richard van Slyke, Rick Mathias, Al Sweet, Richard Branion, Dale Peterson, Grant Scott, Brian Lewis, Paul Watkinson, Bob Mullett


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Ian Michie,
a Band Member in the Al Sweet days

Within a couple of years the Band had 50+ members and was able to field 45 members on a parade in Vancouver involving Branch Five Legion and some members of the American Legion. The latter were so impressed with the Band that they invited it to participate in the US Bicentennial ceremonies in Seattle. On another, later occasion the Band played for an American Legion event in Blaine, Washington.


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Richard Branion and Jim Helme,
Band Members in the Al Sweet Days


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Dale Peterson and John Gibson,
Band Members in the Al Sweet Days

From the beginning the Band performed regularly in Richmond’s Remembrance Day ceremonies and in Richmond’s Salmon Queen Canada Day festivities, both of these requiring lengthy marches. Nowadays the 1st of July parade starts and ends in Steveston, but in the early days there was a parade in downtown Richmond, after which the Band boarded a bus to Seafair Mall and from there paraded south to Steveston Highway and Number 1 road. Following that parade the Band played an outdoor concert as part of the Salmon Queen Festival. Frequently it rained on our parade so we covered our uniforms and our woodwind instruments with transparent, plastic capes. Often, in spite of this, we got soaked anyway. On a personal note I can march and I can play but I have trouble doing both at the same time. In still later years many of the band members were too decrepit to march so the Band now plays on a flat bed trailer, generously supplied by Aheer Transport of Delta.


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Lesley Scott
Band Member in the Al Sweet days


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Grant Scott
Band Member in the Al Sweet days

After the parade Band members get together for a barbeque, originally at Ward Redditt’s home but of late at Lesley and Grant Scott’s home. In addition to these barbeques the Band has other social events, a coffee/tea/sweets gathering after our annual Augustine House concert, at first at the home of Elvira Loades and of late, at the home of Lorraine Jarvis. After a short concert of Christmas music for family and friends at our final rehearsal in December a Christmas party is held.

The Band also gave concerts at Expo 86, The Kitsilano Showboat, at a tall ships visit to Steveston, jointly with elementary and high school bands, at Nibbles and Bites events sponsored by various Richmond restaurants, in seniors’ residences and hospitals (including an ordeal in the hot sun at George Derby veterans’ hospital, which just about precipitated a musicians strike!), etc.


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Waiting for the start of a Remembrance Day parade.
Clarinets L-R Richard Branion, Graham Budge, Paul Watkinson, Band Members in the Al Sweet days


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The Richmond Community Concert Band on a wet Remembrance Day Ceremony in front of Richmond's City Hall


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Marching in the old days in Richmond’s Canada Day Parade

Another disaster occurred at a Remembrance Day parade. After the completion of the ceremonies at the Cenotaph, the Band had to march out onto the street in single file. As a result the front of the Band started out playing Colonel Bogey whilst the back was playing National Emblem.

Another minor disaster occurred when the Band was hired to play for a banquet at a convention of dentists held in the Hotel Vancouver. We were elevated to the banquet site in a freight elevator that had previously accommodated a horse. We lined up in the servant’s entrance to the hall, ready to play off our march books. Our entrance was preceded by a mermaid on a tray carried by waiters. We started to march in only to discover the lights were so dim we couldn’t read our music. One of the other entertainments on this occasion was a lady walking around with an owl on her head; very weird!

Yet another weird experience happened when the Band was hired to perform for a convention of travel agents. We formed up in the middle of B.C. Place. The travel agents arrived in blacked out buses as a mystery tour. Then they got out of the buses and ate dinner while we performed; a very small group in that vast place.


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Trucking instead of marching in Richmond’s Canada Day Parade


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Band barbeque in Ward Redditt’s backyard

In 2003, a joint concert with the Hillcrest Band from the USA took place. That concert was recorded on CD as have been most of the Band’s Gateway concerts. One of the Irish Rovers was a regular at the Branch 5 canteen and as a result the Band was asked to provide some background music for a song on one of their commercial recordings. However when it was issued the Band’s contribution was so muted as to be almost inaudible.


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Band barbeque on Lesley and Grant Scott’s deck.

In 1981 the Band flew to Prince George to participate in some Legion activities, a parade and a ceremony.

On another Legion occasion the Band went to Duncan to do a parade and a performance. While on parade part of the Band, eyes glued to their march cards, made a turn while the rest continued straight ahead. Several hours passed between the parade and the performance during which some members over-imbibed.

At some point the Royal Canadian Legion held its annual convention in Vancouver. For this event the Band played for a parade, but instead of the Band marching, it remained stationary while the marchers paraded past it. Somebody from the Royal Family of the Netherlands was present.

The Band also played for the Legionnaires at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Later the Band crossed to the North Shore where, combined with the Fireman’s Band and the UBC Wind Symphony, it was supposed to board a barge and play while sailing to Stanley Park. However since it was raining and the barge appeared to be unseaworthy we opted out as did the UBC group.

One of the highlights of Band rehearsals, held in Branch 5’s auditorium, was the break, in which orders were taken and beer was delivered from the canteen to the rehearsal hall. This practice was later squelched by the Liquor Control Board. Subsequently if one wanted beer during the break one had to go to the canteen. Several of the members usually headed for the canteen after practice, sitting, drinking and talking until closing time. These were very intellectual discussions; when fed certain keywords Bill White would expound on Social Credit, the size of saxophones in the Garde Republican Band (they had to be brought out on wheels) and Cecil the boy trumpeter in a WWII military band; Danny Burns on the Irish Republican Army and his admiration for Khadfi [recte Gaddafi?]. On a more rational note, Dr. Arnold Emery would explain how to reduce expenses in B.C.’s medical care system and Graham Budge would astound us with his rugby exploits.

After Branch 5 closed, Band rehearsals were held in a very crowded high school band room. This was not satisfactory so rehearsals moved to the Murdoch Centre of Brighouse United Church where they continue to be held.

As noted above the Band has regularly appeared at Richmond’s Remembrance Day ceremonies held every year on November 11 at the Richmond Cenotaph, which currently is front of Richmond City Hall. In the early days the Band would march from the Richmond Centre Mall to the Cenotaph, but now it just meets at City Hall. At some point the Cenotaph was put in storage while the new city hall was being constructed on the site of the old city hall. During the demolition and reconstruction the service was held in Minoru Park so the band simply marched onto the field and played the appropriate music to the audience seated in the stands. Standing on the running track was somewhat disconcerting because it was very soft in order to serve the racers during athletic events. But the weather one year was foul to say the least. The driving rain caused some difficulties for many of the players keeping their instruments dry. And the raindrops bouncing off the drum heads and cymbals felt like the percussionists were being stabbed with tiny needles!!

At these ceremonies the band plays the hymns Abide With Me and Oh God Our Help In Ages Past innumerable times, Colonel Bogey while the veterans and others march to the site, O Canada and God Save the Queen. Bob Mullet plays The Last Post and Reveille using a 1st World War bugle that has been in his family for over 100 years. After the ceremonies the Band would march back to Branch 5, where lunch and free beer were served, and play in the canteen for marchers and Legion members. After Branch 5 closed a small group of Band members would play for an audience in Branch 291 of the Legion.

Yet another annual event is performing at South Arm United Church’s Fall Fair. There we play for an hour or so on a portable stage for those attending the fair. On these occasions we use music from our “Gold Books”.


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The Band playing at South Arm United Church Fall Fair

The Band played for the opening of the Gulf of Georgia Fish Cannery in Steveston and appeared there frequently thereafter. We also played for the 100th anniversary of Steveston. The Band played at the opening of the Legion seniors' home, Golden Mews, and presented concerts there on several later occasions. The Band marched and played for the openings of Richmond’s Number 2 Road Bridge and the Alex Fraser Bridge. On the latter occasion we were accompanied on the bus to the site by B.C. Premier Bill van der Zalm and his wife Lillian. Bill was a regular performer at the post Remembrance Day parade festivities in Branch 5’s canteen when he would sing On Top of Old Smokey while standing on a table top.


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The Band at EXPO 86


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The Band playing at Courtyard Gardens, a seniors’ residence.


Band Festivals:
In the early days of Bob Mullett’s directorship the Band participated in competitions at Kiwanis Music Festivals, where it was well received. I remember one adjudicator saying (in a positive sense) “Where do you guys come from”.

In 2004 the Delta Music Makers Band began hosting band festivals in Ladner’s Memorial Park. The site has a band shell and a gazebo so that while one band is playing another can set up in the other site. Our Band has participated in all but one of these to date.

Prior to the Ladner Bandfest, the Band appeared at a Community Band Jamboree held in the Ladner Arena in May of 1978 and in Bandfest ’93 held in Maple Ridge in 1993. In 2014 the Band played, in the rain, for the 20th anniversary of the building of the Maple Ridge bandstand.


Gateway Concerts:
Beginning in 1986 the Band began to annually present a formal, ticketed concert at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre. This was advertized as a Christmas Concert and contained some Christmas music, including at the end of each concert an audience sing-along with Band accompaniment. Of late the Theatre has moved our bookings farther away from December, so less Christmas music. A feature of these Gateway concerts has been the participation of Richmond’s Mayor (or one of the Councillors) as guest conductor.

In 2014 the Band celebrated its 40th anniversary at its annual Gateway concert. This concert has been an important fund raiser for the Band. Each year the Band invites one or more other musical groups to be our guest performers (see list in Appendix 2).

In 2018 the Band decided to abandon, temporarily or permanently, the Gateway Theatre and move its fall concert to The Peace Mennonite Church.


Spring Concert:
Beginning in 2015 the Band decided to present a Spring Concert. These have been held in Richmond’s Peace Mennonite Church. Admission is by donation and is another source of funds for the Band’s operations. In these spring concerts smaller groups from within the Band’s membership, provide part of the program.


Aberdeen Mall Concert:
For the last few years the Band has presented an annual concert of Christmas music in the Aberdeen Mall in early December. Years ago the Band would play Christmas carols in some of Richmond’s other shopping malls, often using our green Christmas carol books.


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The Band at Bandfest ’93 in Maple Ridge


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At the Ladner Bandfest Main Stage


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At the Ladner Bandfest Gazebo


† Funerals/Memorials †
When asked, the Band has played at funerals/memorials for deceased members Gordon Brown, Arnold Emery, George Fisher, Ian Michie, Percy Mitchell, and Danny Shiu.




Miscellaneous Photos




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The Band at a Gateway Concert


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Earl Hobson Conducting the Band at the Steveston Community Centre


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The Band at Heywood Bandstand in Alexandra Park in Vancouver


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The Band at Nibbles and Bites


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The Band at The Richmond Library


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The Band at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery


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The Band performing somewhere


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The Band performing somewhere in Steveston


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The Band Performing a Christmas Concert in Branch Five Legion’s Canteen


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The Band at a tall ships festival in Steveston


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The Band at Gateway Theatre with the Delta Police Pipe Band

RICHMOND’S BRANCH 5 LEGION BAND’S TRIP TO THE UK
JULY/AUGUST 1989

The Richmond Legion Band’s first overseas trip occurred in 1989. It was to England and Scotland. The band’s liaison officer with Richmond’s Branch 5, Royal Canadian Legion, Jock Wallace, had recently returned from a trip to the UK and had scouted out some possible venues for our performances. Money to subsidize the cost of this trip was raised by holding Sunday afternoon tea dances at Branch 5. Swingtime (see photos below) a dance band made up from members of the community band, played for these dances. $60,000 was raised in this way.

July 22/23

The trip started in the parking lot of Branch 5 on July 22nd. There we boarded a bus for SeaTac airport. All those expected actually showed up on time. Along with us was a person from the travel agency who had booked the trip.

The first stop, a major error, was the duty free liquor store at the border where quantities were purchased and consumed on the bus, resulting in some problems at the airport.

Second stop: lunch at MacDonalds in Everett.

The plane (Pan American Airlines) was late so we sat around the airport from 4:30 to 8:00 pm. After an uneventful flight we arrived at London Heathrow at around 1:30 pm London time. A rapid passage through immigration was followed by a 30 – 40 minute wait for luggage. Then we boarded a bus to take us to King’s College University Holiday Hall on Clapham Common, a London district south of the Thames River, arriving around 3 pm. There was a lot of “musical” noise from the Common which is a large park.

There was a sort of pub in back of the Hall so a lot of us sat around there in the evening drinking beer and cider. It was very hot more than 30 C.

Breakfast at the Hall dining room, bacon, eggs, canned spaghetti or fried tomatoes, corn flakes and fruit juice (“one per person please”).


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Start of the trip in Branch 5 parking lot.


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Waiting at SEATAC Airport: Nancy Peterson, Dale Peterson, Barry Merrit

July 24

Sightseeing on an individual basis during the day; in the evening we held a rehearsal but were stopped by complaints from the neighbours about the noise! Not quite so hot on this day.

July 25

Lots of noise from the Common was heard during the night. Breakfast again occurred in the Hall dining room. There was a menu change to sausage, egg, pork and beans, cereal. This was another day of individual sightseeing. Drinks again were enjoyed at the Hall in the evening.


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King’s College Holiday Hall our residence in London

July 26

Up for breakfast at 7:30 am. Because of our early departure time only corn flakes and bread were available. We had to depart early because there was a bus and tube strike and as a result there were a lot of cars on the roads. However our bus arrived on time and we set off for York stopping a couple of times at service centres. Our bus driver (Ernie) was an excellent driver and tour guide.


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Drinks in back of the residence;
Richard Branion, Herb Troke, Arnold Emery, Roger Bailey

We were very nicely accommodated at a York University residence. As soon as we got settled into the residence we embarked on a guided tour of York, including its magnificent cathedral. York University is in a park like setting with rivers, lakes, lagoons and lots of water-birds.


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Our residences at University of York

July 27

Some shopping was done in York in the morning; then the bus set out for Southport. Upon arrival there we checked into the Royal Clifton Hotel. In the afternoon we presented a concert in the bandshell on Lord Street with lots of people listening. John Gibson organized a fish and chip meal in a restaurant. John was a native of the nearby Liverpool and a lot of his family was on hand to support him. Larry White suggested to Mel Bowling that one could make a good float with ice cream in beer and to his, and others surprise she mixed them up, drank it and said it was indeed very good. Mel was a naïf; this was probably her first ever trip away from Canada/USA. Her roommate on the trip, Patti O’Malley, said she was up at the crack of dawn to ensure she didn’t miss the bus. In the evening Swingtime, a dance band made up from band members, played for dancing in the hotel ballroom. This hotel still exists as part ofthe Best Western chain. Swingtime members were amazed by the quality of sound in the hotel ballroom compared to some of the other venues in which we performed.


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Our hotel in Southport; The Royal Clifton and our bus


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Concert in Southport, UK


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Fish and chips, Southport, UK
Patti O’Malley, Bob Mullett, Roger Bailey, Bruce Ward, John Gibson


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Melba Bowling drinking beer and ice cream float, Richard Branion and Larry White, laughing


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Swing Time playing for dancing in The Royal Clifton Hotel Ballroom;
L-R Barry Merrit, John Gibson, Jan Mullett, Bruce Ward, Bob Mullett, Jim Kempton, Dale Peterson, Greg Holden, Roy Collett

July 28

We got up early for breakfast, this time including black pudding. Afterwards we did a bus tour through the English Lake District, partly on a one lane road. Lunch was eaten in Carlisle. Next stop was Edinburgh where we were supposed to play a concert at 2:30 pm in the Ross Theatre in the Princes’ Street Gardens, but since we were late in arriving we started at 3 and played until 4:30. Our accommodation was in the residences of Herriot Watt University with dinner in the cafeteria.

July 29

Sightseeing took place during the day. In the evening a dinner was hosted for us in The Polmont Legion. Polmont is a small village near Edinburgh. Swingtime played afterwards. Lots of friendly locals were in attendance.


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Our residences at Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh; Larry White and Marilyn Lofgren


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Concert in Princes’ Street Gardens’ Ross Theatre in Edinburgh


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Not exactly a standing ovation response to our Edinburgh Concert

July 30

This was a day for sightseeing.

July 31

On this day the Band played a concert in the factory where Remembrance Day poppies are made by war veterans. This was a true military operation complete with a barking major. In the evening we were invited for dinner at the Porto Bello Legion where there was a Scots’ show with pipers and dancing. Swingtime played for non Scottish dancing. This was the end of the organized part of the tour. Various members of the Band dispersed to other parts of Britain.

August 5

Many of us regrouped at Heathrow Airport to return home.


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Band members at the Porto Bello Legion reception


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Pipes and Drums at the Porto Bello Legion Reception


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Swing Time performing at the Porto Bello Legion


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Waiting to go home at Heathrow Airport

The RICHMOND LEGION COMMUNITY BAND’S TRIP TO THE NETHERLANDS
1995

1995 marked the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands from the Nazi occupation by Canada’s armed forces. Thus major celebrations were planned by the Dutch people. Our Band was invited to participate in these celebrations and remembrances. So we accepted that invitation accompanied by a colour party from the Branch 5 Legion. Since we would be expected to participate in parades we began to practice marching in a hangar at the Vancouver airport. Our specialty was forming a V (see photo below). The cost of the trip was subsidized in a similar way to what was done for the UK trip. $38,000 was raised.

April 29 1995

The trip started on this day. We flew via KLM for an 8 hour and 45 minute flight.


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Bob Jones (manager of Branch 5) and Bill Martineau (Branch 5’s band liaison officer) on the flight to the Netherlands.
Bill wrote a diary of this trip which was distributed to the travellers and was useful in preparing this account of the trip.
He also served as drum major during our parades.


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Loading the bus at Schiphol

April 30

We arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. As a result of these celebrations there were no immigration or customs procedures. There were a lot of people holding up “Welcome Canadians” posters. After a lengthy wait for our luggage we got on a bus a headed for Havelte, a small village where we were billeted at a Dutch army base – Johannes Post Kazerne. On our arrival at Schiphol our director Bob Mullett was told that our schedule of performances was “subject to change” and so “subject to change” became our watchword for most of our subsequent activities.The military people at this base were extremely helpful, going out of their way to see that our needs were met. On the way to Havelte we passed many typical Dutch scenes of windmills both old style and new, and fields of tulips. Much of the land through which we drove was land that had been reclaimed from the sea.

At the Kazerne we were assigned two to a room, some of which had eight beds. Meals were served in the sergeants’ mess. The band members and their companions were welcomed in the base canteen where drinks and snacks were available at low cost.


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Johannes Post Kazerne, the Dutch army base in which we were billeted


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Sergeants’ Mess at the barracks where we had our meals

May 1

This day was for recovery from the trip, the only scheduled event was rehearsal of our V formation marching extravaganza.


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Rehearsing the V marching formation

May 2

In the morning we boarded a bus for a visit to Giethoorn which is a village without roads, only canals, bike paths and bridges. We toured the town in boats. After that we returned to the base, rested and had dinner. In the evening we played a concert in the Havelte village. An address was given by the mayor, who explained that during the war Havelte was in double jeopardy because of the Nazi occupation and a nearby German airfield which was bombed by the Allies. He invited us to a pub for drinks. We returned to the base around 11 pm.


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Concert in Havelte Village


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Boat trip around Giethoorn


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Mini-monuments to Jews interred at Kamp Westerbork/ Their height is indicative of the age of the prisoner.

We departed on buses for a visit to Kamp Westerbork Memorial, which is on the site of a holding camp for Jews during World War Two prior to sending them to death camps like Auschwitz. Over 100,000 detainees passed though this camp. Our visit there was a sobering experience. Then we travelled to Holten Canadian War Cemetery where we did a concert. Dinner was in the mess followed by socializing in the canteen.

May 4

We returned to the Holten Cemetery to play for the ceremonies. As part of these ceremonies there was a flyover of fighter jets followed by a bomber which dropped a cloud of poppies. Larry White remembers “From my vantage point I could see it coming in low over the distant horizon. I think it was a vintage Lancaster, coming in at about 1,000 feet. The entire assembly (several thousands in attendance) was totally silent. When the bomb bay doors opened and the poppies fell to the ground the significance of what we were doing and why overcame most of us and caused the tears to flow freely. I looked at Gordy Brown and he couldn’t even draw a breath to blow anything. I could barely hold the cymbals. Equally moving was the address given by a high school student. She spoke in perfect English, French, and Dutch. The official Canadian government spokesperson spoke in English and fractured French. As we later found out, it is still an honour that students seek out annually to provide each Canadian soldier’s grave with fresh flowers on May 5th (VE Day) and a candle on Christmas Eve. Even today I recall both immense pride at being a participant in this celebration and simultaneous embarrassment in the manner of how the government rep totally butchered the French portion of his address, after hearing the student’s tri–lingual address”.

After the ceremonies we did a 45 minute concert for people leaving and eating lunch. There was confusion about the arrival time of our buses’ arrival to return us to the barracks. We waited in a small grove of trees, competing for seats on whatever log was available, or trying to relax by simply lying down in the long grass, without food or water, for 3 hours.

May 5

We bused to Dordrecht where, unknown to us, we were supposed to give a concert. Speeches were made mostly in Dutch. Next we went to a sports field where we were served lunch. After that we participated in a tattoo in the hot sun. Our next move was to Arnhem where we were served dinner in another army mess hall. We later participated in a show in a plaza in front of a huge, old church. The show included bands, mounted hussars, parachutists and rock climbers descending the church tower. Bill Martineau wrote “Once again our Branch #5 band received cheers and standing ovations during our performance, and I believe we had the best band there. I must say that it is quite a feeling, marching into the middle of about 5,000 people watching our every move”. After the show it was back to the barracks arriving around 1 AM.


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May 3rd Concert at Holten Canadian War Cemetery


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May 4th Concert at Holten Canadian War Cemetery


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Bomber loaded with poppies approaching Holten Cemetery


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Bob Dunsworth waiting for the bus after the Holten Cemetery ceremonies.

May 6

We were driven to Holwierde, where the locals expected us to play another concert, but we thought it was a parade. We did the parade. A new memorial was being dedicated for 25 Canadians who had been killed on a bridge in this village in World War II. After that we did give a concert. Gordie Brown and Marilyn Lofgren did some dancing accompanied by us. Then back on the bus to Groningen. Lunch was served followed by a parade by us. We went for beer after the parade. Dinner was served in a band clubhouse.

Another tattoo took place in the evening. During this tattoo one member (Rob Gardiner) of the Legion colour party that accompanied us on the trip, was asked to say a few words of introduction to our band over the PA system. The MC of the event began his introduction with “Now I’d like to introduce Rob Oh ____!”. (expletive deleted) Who knows what had happened? Return to barracks was late.


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V Formation at Dordrecht Tatoo

May 7

First thing in the morning we took buses to a sports’ arena in Appeldorn where we waited for about an hour, then boarded another bus into town. We were deposited in a park like area where we waited for 2 – 3 hours for the parade to start. There were many bands in this parade, including the Canadian Air Force Band, British regimental bands and a variety of pipe bands, not to mention veterans of WWII and other marchers.

We finally got going in rows of four and were literally shoulder to shoulder with the enthusiastic people watching the parade. John Gibson, our bass drummer, who normally marched in the outer file of the band, had to move to the centre to avoid hitting parade onlookers in the face with his drum beater. There were hundreds of thousands of folks watching this parade, our biggest ever audience. It was start and stop throughout the parade route which was 2 – 3 miles in length. The crowd sang along with Tulips from Amsterdam, Pack Up Your Troubles, Keep The Home Fires Burning and It’s a Long Way to Tipperary. We also played The Maple Leaf Forever and O Canada. We finally reached the end and went to a pub for refreshments.

This parade was a killer, feet hurt, back ached, arms ached, etc. After an hour or so in the pub we boarded a shuttle bus back to the arena where we waited for a couple of hours for our bus back to the Kazerne for dinner in the mess.


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Arnhem Tattoo


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Holwierde Concert


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Marilyn and Gordie swing dancing at Holwierde


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Groningen Parade


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Groningen Concert


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Groningen Tattoo


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The Appeldorn Parade


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More of the Appeldorn Parade

May 8

Nothing official happened during morning and the afternoon. In the evening we went on the bus to Almelo where we were to give a concert and play for dancing. The concert was cancelled and Swingtime played for dancing. Dinner was provided at the site. This was followed by a demonstration of Dutch folk dancing and singing. The evening ended up with a ceremony, lots of speeches and singing of WWII songs by a Vera Lynn clone. Then back to the barracks at around 2 AM.


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Swingtime playing for dancing in Armelo.
Gordie Brown, John Gibson, Dale Peterson, Greg Holden, Bruce Ward, Saxophones; Barry Merritt, Trombone; Jan Mullett, Trumpet

May 9

We got on the bus at 8:30 am and drove to Maduradum, which is a to-scale miniature village, where we ate lunch, the usual ham and cheese. Next stop was Scheveningen for a glimpse of the North Sea. Then off to Delft for a visit to the famous blue and white pottery works. Continuing on we went to Gouda where dinner was served in a very classy Army Command Centre. After that it was back to the barracks.

May 10

In the morning a visit was made to an open air museum in Arnhem which consisted of historical buildings that had been moved to the site such as old houses, windmills and a paper mill, etc. Then sightseeing in Arnhem took place after which we returned to the barracks. In the evening a party was held for us in the mess. It included swallowing herring and lots of beer. Drinks were 50 cents because of the 50th anniversary of the Netherlands liberation.

May 11

On this day our bus took us to Staveren where we got on a boat that took us over the Ijsselmeer to Enkhuisen. We first visited another outdoor museum of historical buildings that had been moved to the site. It included demonstrations by folks in period costumes of various aspects of Dutch life in the past. Later we visited the town; then back on the boat, bus to the barracks for dinner.


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In the background, a giant Bob Mullett films the 1/25 scale model village at Maduradum in The Hague. Bob made a comprehensive video recording of the Netherlands trip.


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Some band members in front of the Delft Pottery Works including Arnold Emery, Bob Mullett and Brian Bolam


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Band members Bob Mullett, Norm Ludington, Ward Redditt , unnamed, Bruce Ward, unnamed, and Gordie Brown playing at farewell party number 1.


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Judy Bolam, Margaret Branion, Marilyn Lofgren eating pickled herring a la Dutch.

May 12

Today a visit was made to Amsterdam. We all took a tour of Amsterdam’s canals on a boat. Various band members split up some staying longer in Amsterdam, others taking the bus back to Havelte via a road showing the dykes and dams which hold back the sea from the reclaimed land. Dinner was in the mess and since this was our last day at the Kazerne. A farewell gathering was held in the evening in the canteen.


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Windmill in a restored village near Arnhem

After dinner a reception was held. Here’s what Bill Martineau had to say in his travel journal about this reception –

“We took this opportunity to present plaques and pins to show our appreciation of the hospitality we received over the past two weeks. Words cannot explain the treatment we received and


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Paper Mill in restored village near Arnhem


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Stan Lewis and Bruce Ward on the boat from Staveren to Enkhuisen


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View of Enkhuisen, another restored Dutch Village


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Arnold Emery,Bill Rushworth, Ward Redditt, Stan Lewis, Diane Kempton, Jim Kempton on the boat from Enkhuisen to Staveren


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Canal Boat on which we toured Amsterdam

these people just simply opened up their hearts and met our every need. The food was fabulous!” Speaking of food on our various trips away from the barracks we were supplied with bag lunches in which ham and cheese sandwiches were so ubiquitous that Stan Lewis made up a song about them. After the brief party we said our goodbyes to the officers, sergeants and their wives and it was back to the barracks to pack for home.

May13

An uneventful trip to the airport was followed by a couple of hours waiting for our flight and then back to YVR.

This trip to the Netherlands was truly remarkable in that so much admiration of Canadians was obvious. Everywhere we went we were roundly applauded.


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Final Reception with us and our hosts

Spinoff Bands

Swingtime,directed by Bob Mullett;
see photos above. After the trip to the UK Swingtime continued playing acclaimed commercial gigs for dancing at a variety of downtown Vancouver hotels. When Bob Mullett was not available Swingtime was directed by Dale Peterson.

Take 5 Big Band, directed by Ward Redditt:
Take 5 was a band mostly made up of Band members.


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Take 5 Big Band:
l-r Norm Ludington, Harvey Korsrud, Brian Bolam, Gordon Brown, Fred Duck, Russ Cumming, Ivan Herejk, Richard Branion, Barry Merrit, Roger Bailey

Summing Up

After reading the above Marilyn Lofgren has pointed out

“Some members have been enjoying Band rehearsals and concerts for many years. Something especially commendable about the Richmond Concert Band is the loyalty of the members. We get a lot out of it in so many ways. It’s always a pleasure to welcome new members to play with us."

Band Finances and Organization

In the beginning the Band was financed by the Royal Canadian Legion who supplied rehearsal space, uniforms, some instruments, music stands and musical arrangements plus other miscellaneous expenses. Over the period 1979 – 2000 Branch 5 RCL gave $28,610 to support the Band. When Branch 5 folded the Band became an independent organization. First it was The Jack Thompson Band Society, then The Lulu Island Music Society and finally The Richmond Community Band Society. These latter societies are or have been registered charitable societies recognized by B.C.’s Society Act and by Canada Revenue Agency. Operating grants have been received from the B.C. Gaming Commission, the City of Richmond and Branch 291 of the Royal Canadian Legion. In addition a more than generous donation to the Band has been made by Dale and Nancy Peterson. Other funds have come from concert ticket sales, honoraria from various performances and membership fees.

The Band’s business is taken care of by an elected executive. At the Band’s Annual General Meeting directors are elected. From these elected directors, a president, secretary and treasurer are selected. The executive takes care of such things as arranging concerts, setting membership fees, recruiting new members, purchasing uniforms, applying for grants etc. The Band has been truly fortunate in that, over the years, many members have served on the band executive, putting in a lot of time to make what the Band is at present.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This was written in 2017/19 by Richard Branion, with input from Marilynn Lofgren, Bill Martineau, Ian Michie, Bob Mullett, Dale Peterson and Larry White. The cover photo is by Juliette Fricker and most of the other photos are by Margaret Branion.






APPENDIX 1
PEOPLE WHO ARE OR
HAVE BEEN BAND MEMBERS
(† INDICATES DECEASED)

Conductors

Associate Conductors

Flute and Piccolo

Oboe

English Horn

Bassoon

Eb Clarinet

Clarinet

Alto Clarinet

Bass Clarinet

Contrabass Clarinet

Alto Saxophone

Tenor Saxophone

Baritone Saxophone

French Horn

Trumpet

Trombone

Bass Trombone

Baritone and Euphonium

Tuba

String Bass

Electric Bass

Percussion






Appendix 2
LIST OF GUEST GROUPS
AT RICHMOND BAND GATEWAY CONCERTS




Appendix 3

REMARKS BY JACK THOMPSON


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