For 33 years Clark White walked beside the high school marching band picking up after “oops” moments like a dropped mouthpiece or other trinkets and baubles.
After teaching music at J.L.Crowe Secondary for decades and making sure students were spiffed up for every Silver City Days procession – he has no tangible memories, like videos, of the band marching through Trail.
So he’s hoping someone out there has a home movie or two to share of his students marching in the annual Saturday parade.
A recent interview with the Kootenay Columbia Retired Teachers Association brought up fond memories of the good old days and stories of teaching countless young musicians – some of them begrudgingly – the marching steps and impressive corner maneuvers the band was so well known for.
So if anyone has a video of those days, which ended in 1999, he’s hoping to see it.
His final concert in the spring of 1998, dubbed Mr. White’s Opus, was taped – but anything before that is only nostalgia.
“The retired teachers are keeping history of what had transpired in the past, and we had quite a long talk,” White began. “The final concert is on video tape, but I have nothing to give them before that and I would really like them to see the school band marching in the parade.”
White’s memories bring up a lot of laughs, but they are also bittersweet.
After proudly caring for the band uniforms and the collective’s tall white hats, all of which were paid for by community donors, the outfits have been largely forgotten in the basement of J.L. Crowe for a number of years.
“My role was getting all the hats passed out, we didn’t send them home with the rest of the band uniform,” White said. “Then I’d get (the students) on the bus and down to the parade route, get them all lined up and when the parade started, the drum major took over.
“Then I walked along beside, mostly trying to stay out of sight,” he chuckled.
“But on numerous occasions, kids dropped their mouthpiece or something else and I’d have to run out in the street to find it and pick it up.”
His favourite part of teaching music was, in fact, having students embrace the march and the pride of uniform.
“First of all, when the kids came up to Crowe they started in Grade 10 at that time,” he explained. “And when they came up, they would moan and say, “Why do we have to march in the band?”
After hours of practice on the football field adjacent to the old high school, teenage angst started to evaporate.
“When the audience applauded them as they marched down the road,” White laughed. “What a change in attitude, once they had done it, they could hardly wait to do it again.”
Anyone who has a home movie of the high school band marching in Silver City Days, or a photo of the students turning a corner, is encouraged to contact Clark White at 250.367.6115.