Musical School Trips
One particular year the Senior Band, Orchestra and Choir were invited to tour the Kootenays and play at three different schools. We were transported there by school bus and billeted in local homes. It was always fun because we were never billeted alone that I know of and we usually had a large group so we ended up talking well into the night.
We performed at Nelson, Castlegar and Trail to standing room only audiences as we had quite a good reputation for putting on really outstanding performances. I remember Mr. Gergely was quite excited as he was from the Kootenay area and wanted to really show up the band and how good they were.
I was in the Choir only as I had given up the violin. My sister Sandy played first clarinet and was in the Band, Orchestra and Choir. My future brother in law Frank Jones was also in Band and Orchestra and was lead trumpet.
Our first concert night was in Nelson, then Castlegar and finally Trail. The auditoriums were absolutely packed and we performed in our usual enthusiastic way. The choir performed several numbers from hit Broadway Shows including South Pacific, the Flower Drum Song and The King and I as well as other songs that Mr. deBoer had found for us.
The band played a lot of show music as well and Frank had a solo called “The Trumpeter’s Lullaby. That first night in Nelson was kind of funny because when the band took the stage, Mr.Gergely laughingly said that he hoped the audience would enjoy the trumpet solo because the trumpeter had left his music in his locker at school! Everyone laughed but Frank borrowed sheet music from the second Trumpeter and stood up in his white shirt, pants and his red and blue cape and never missed a beat. He got a standing ovation. Mr. Gergely took many bows that night and each and every night.
Mr. deBoer was both Choir Master and Orchestra Leader and did a wonderful job in conducting both. We all used to get a real chuckle in choir because Mr. deBoer would sing along with us in his deep baritone voice and a huge smile on his face.
Everywhere we went we were treated like visiting royalty with tours of interesting sites and then home to our billet for a delicious dinner and off to the school to perform.
I loved all the music that we performed that year including a funny song. It was called “A Big Brown Bear.” The lyrics go something like this:
“I chanced upon a big brown bear, a gruff old bear was he. He basked content within his lair. I looked at him, and he looked at me. And all he said was “WOOF!” Ah me. And all he said was “WOOF!”
At the end of the song we were to hold the WOOF until Mr deBoer gave us the sign….we held that WOOF by staggering our breathing between the four sections of the choir and it was held for over five very long minutes. Finally as Mr. deBoer brought his hands together to end it on what was supposed to be a very loud WOOF, we managed a faint little “woof” and it brought down the house. I remember the audience rising as one to give us a standing ovation. Mr. deBoer just beamed and decided that we would end it that way at our next two stops!! It was a hit! We always ended our repertoire with the Hawaiian song “Aloha Oe”
We had the best of times in those years. We had top notch music teachers; beautiful music to play and sing but most of all, those wonderful trips out of town to entertain others. Such good memories can never be erased!!