Taking a break from this 24/7 world and spending time in yesteryear may well be a theme in the Trail area for all of 2017 – that’s if the birthday band can have its wish come true.
The Trail Maple Leaf Band is celebrating its 100th year in 2017, a true accomplishment considering the group’s grassroots start by Italian immigrants in the early 1900s and renaming to the Maple Leaf Band in 1917.
As the band begins planning a grand commemoration, two musicians paid a visit to Trail council this week, asking for the city’s help to host a noteworthy year of celebration for the entire region.
“We recognize and we do believe this accomplishment of our 100th anniversary is much bigger than just the band,” began Terry Moon. “We see it as a celebration of the whole area, people of Trail, Greater Trail and the West Kootenay area, are the reason for the band to continue rehearsing and performing all of these years … with that in mind we are inviting you to promote and showcase the fantastic history and culture of the total area.”
Moon and Bandmaster Joe Fuoco spoke on behalf of the group, asking city officials to get on board with the idea of “Yesteryear” and paying homage to all the century old businesses and groups that still call the region home.
“Trail and area has been very strong in sports but it also has a very strong arts culture, vibrant ethnic culture and dynamic industrial culture in its past,” said Moon, listing the cities of Trail and Rossland, the Colombo Lodge, Teck, the Trail Times and FortisBC (West Kootenay Power) as examples. “Our suggestion to council is to examine the existing longevity, records and accomplishments of our local foundational institutions and honour them through the whole year of 2017 – let’s work together to promote the uniqueness of this heritage.”
He recalled attending past events like Rotary bingo and dances, seniors’ hockey games and old timers’ ball games at Butler Park.
“Our suggestion is to call next year, ‘yesteryear,’” Moon said. “Let’s explore bringing back some of the historic, cultural memories.”
He requested assistance from Trail councillors to keep the event on track, platinum sponsorship for the July 21 banquet and access to the city’s communications and events coordinator to develop an effective media strategy.
Moon admitted the group request was a little bold – but as volunteers and musicians, he says they need help in the planning arena, and that begins with support from the city.
“I want you to know we’ve thought a lot about this, we have an organization in place, a budget set and we have the celebration planned out,” he concluded. “We are asking you to help us to maximize the impact for the benefits of the community and let’s take pride in all our accomplishments.”
Trail council thanked the men for attending and agreed to respond to their request in September.
For information on the Trail Maple Leaf Band, visit trailmapleleafband.ca and click on “100th Anniversary page.”