The band was started by a man by the name of Pop Price during the second world war. He was a military man so the band was set up military style. My aunt Eleanor (Armstrong) Hayward was one of the original members. She is the drummer in the front row, 2nd from the left.
Since her time, we have almost always had a family member part of the band. My cousins were in it and both of my sisters and I spent a number of years in it. And now one of my nieces are in it. We had a great time, we met new friends, and travelled to many places in the USA and Canada. In my youth, families didn't travel like they do now. But if you were in the band, you got to go lots of places. We travelled in school buses and slept on the floors of school gyms or church halls. It was great fun!
My cousin Bonnie played with the band at the Montreal Olympics and was able to see the Beatles in person while she was there. My sisters and I played for Queen Elizabeth at Fort Steele. We went to the Calgary Stampede yearly. The band has won many awards there. We attended the parades in places like Spokane Washington, Seattle Washington, and Vancouver, B.C.and of course our local towns.
One of my favorite trips was when we went to Victoria. We took a ferry from Vancouver B.C. to Victoria. And no sooner had we arrived on Vancouver Island, the ferries went on strike. The trip was supposed to be a couple of days on the island but soon turned in to a couple of weeks. Can you imagine taking 100+ girls for a few days and having it turn into a few weeks? What to you do with that many girls for that length of time. We went site seeing. We saw the Buchard Gardens, the Wax museum, we saw the parliment buildings and saw the Giant Redwood forest. And we played for whoever we could. It was amazing!
This past weekend, we had a reunion. All members from those early days until now were invited. Did it ever bring back memories. We marched in the Sam Steele parade along with the present day members. Some of us played our old instruments or twirled our battons or flags. It took a bit of practise.
At first I was a little hesitant to join in. When I was a member of the band I was a Flag Majorette. I was slim and trim back then. I really didn't know if I could do it. But the band no longer has enough members to have Flag Majorettes so if we didn't do it, there would be any. With a little encouragement a group of us made up a simple routine and we joined in. I'm sure we didn't look as good as we did twenty or thirty years ago but we had a great time. Our families laughed so hard when they saw us coming.
My niece Derrien plays in the band today. She is the smiling blond. They still play those original bugles. (They haven't been made since 1940.)
We missed all of you who couldn't be there!