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Scout House 75th anniversary

Roy Wilson

Dec. 20/12

Preston Scout House Alumni Band is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2013, with a renewed dedication to youth in the community and an open invitation to anyone else with marching music experience to take part in events during the anniversary year and beyond.

The Scout House Cadets youth drum line has been practicing weekly since September and will be featured in a number of community special events beginning early in 2013. The Cadets were organized as part of anniversary plans that include social events for Band members and others in the coming year, local community performances and opportunities for new members to participate at a level they find comfortable, from a few parades or concerts to full participation in the field show unit.

In keeping with the spirit of innovation that has marked Scout House history, the Band added mellophones to the brass section in 2012 and will add quad drums to the percussion section in 2013.

The Alumni Band was formed in the fall of 1998, for the purpose of playing a single stage concert at the Great Alliance of Seniors (GAS) reunion in Mississauga. Obviously, Scout House Alumni Band kept marching and is now one of the largest and most popular alumni groups in North America.

Since that first stage show, Scout House has performed more than 360 parades, field shows and concerts in communities across Ontario and Quebec, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, West Virginia and Maryland. Members come from more than 20 communities across southern Ontario, with one member commuting from Warren, Pennsylvania for practices and performances.

Ensemble music rehearsals are held Sunday afternoons until mid-May, when outdoor field show practices begin and continue each Thursday evening until late August. The off-season schedule includes colour guard practice Tuesday evenings, and optional extra music instruction and practice Wednesday evenings.

Preston Scout House Band originated as an activity for members of the 1st Preston Boy Scout Troop in October 1938 under the direction of Wilf Blum. The Band eventually became independent of Scouts Canada, bursting on to the North American drum and bugle corps scene in 1954 with a modified uniform including tight black shorts, knee high socks, white gauntlets, short-sleeved red shirts and black Aussie hats. Scout House was a fan favorite everywhere the Band appeared from the American Midwest through Ontario and Quebec to the Atlantic coast.

Scout House set new standards in every area of the activity: introducing new instruments such as French horns and E flat bass horns as soon as they became available, playing popular music of the day from Broadway hits and the movies and introducing choreography to the contest field.

The organization included the Scout House Cadets, a feeder corps of young members who provided a steady supply of new Band members through the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Band’s slogan, featured on letterhead and publicity material was “In Step With Youth.”

In the 30 years that the original Band was in operation, Scout House won more than 80 regional, provincial, national and international awards.

For more information about Preston Scout House Alumni Band,

contact Activities Director Nancy Weiler at telephone (519) 653-3376

email prestonscouthouseband.adm@sympatico.ca

or visit the Web site at http://www.scouthouseband.com


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