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100 years and counting, Trail Maple Leaf Band

The Trail Maple Leaf Band is still marching strong into its centennial celebration.
The Trail Maple Leaf band on May 24

There’s been countless highs and lows noted over 100 years, and the Trail Maple Leaf Band is still marching strong into its centennial celebration.

Since forming as the Italian Band in 1910 and re-branding to the Maple Leaf moniker seven years later, the concert band has played a role in every Silver City event imaginable. From May Day parades and bridge openings to Remembrance Day in the Trail Cenotaph and for years, the opening act for Music in the Park - the group continues to be the one of the most recognizable arts and cultural icons in the region.

Italian Band, 1913

“The Trail Maple Leaf Band has been, and continues to be, a dynamic part of our culture and community,” says the city’s Andrea Jolly. “The city is proud and honoured to help promote their 100th anniversary in July.”

The planning committee is still ironing out details, however, there is one special event the band will lead, and that’s the grand opening of the Columbia River Skywalk.

“The Trail Maple Leaf Band was important contributor to the soft opening of the Columbia River Skywalk and they will also have a strong presence at the grand opening of the bridge,” Jolly added. “An Evening Passeggiata, is scheduled for the evening of May 11 during Silver City Days.”

A centennial reunion is slated over four days in July, which city council has supported with a $6,000 cash grant and a waiving of rental fees for facility usage.

The celebration will include everything the community is used to when the band takes centre stage - a banquet and social, a picnic, “mix and mingle” sessions, and of course, a massed band concert of current and former members.

In the meantime, visitors to downtown Trail can look forward to music-themed storefronts as photo displays from the Colombo Lodge archives go up alongside stories from the band’s rich history.

“Downtown merchants have given us some space so we can put up various displays and picture of the band starting from 1917 to the current date,” Bill Burkholder told the Trail Times.

Burkholder is a 29-year band member. He now plays the trombone, but when he joined in 1988 he was playing the euphonium, which is a small tuba.

And what has kept him as member all these years?

“I was always interested in playing concert band-type situations, and I had a friend in it,” Burkholder said. “He got me playing an instrument again and after practicing at home for a year, I was ready to join,” he chuckled.

“I enjoy playing when you have other people playing with you because you get that band sound you don’t get practicing by yourself in the basement. I find it interesting, and it’s nice to get out with other people once in awhile.”

Over the next five months, the Trail Times will feature photos from the Trail Maple Leaf Band history, pulling background from Steve Guidone’s 90th anniversary photo-history album (1917-2007) of the band.

“Early Days,” excerpt from Guidone’s history album

For the Italian community of Trail, music was a powerful carrier of its culture. Its members formed numerous instrumental and vocal ensembles to reproduce the music of their homeland. The roots of the Trail Maple Leaf Band can be traced back to these early groups A contest to find a new name for the band was held with the winning entry ‘Trail Maple Leaf Band’ submitted by CM & S chemical engineer and band member Perry Landucci under the direction of Frank Giovanazzi with a membership of up to 72 musicians In the last 1920’s to ensure access to music by the community and the next generation, Domenic Daloise, Peter Lauriente and other prominent members of the Italian community devised a plan which included the recruitment of students, hiring a teacher, arranging classroom/rehearsal space and acquiring funds. They went door-to-door selling the idea to parents, convincing many to enrol their boys in the class to learn how to play a band instrument.The first conductor hired was Maestro G.D. Colistro who arrived from Calabria Italy in 1928. The band raised the money for the conductor’s small wage, instruments and sheet music by charging the boys’ parents a monthly fee of one dollar. This fee was a significant commitment given the <sp

Sheri Regnier

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