Maple Leaf Band

The 1960s bring ‘herstory’ as well as history to Trail Maple Leaf Band

The Trail Times is featuring stories and photos of the Trail Maple Leaf Band's 100-year history.

The Trail Maple Leaf Band is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2017. In this milestone year, the Trail Times will feature photos and stories of the band’s century-long history, pulling background from Steve Guidone’s 90th anniversary photo-history album (1917-2007). “Relocations” is an excerpt by Guidone that covers the years from 1957 to 1977.

“During the sixties there arose increasing sources for instrumental music education both public and private, and increased competition for the musicians. Enrolment in the junior band fell, so it was discontinued. Upon high school graduation, many young members of the band moved on to university or to jobs out of Trail. School music teacher Jack Bailey Jr. provided assistance by encouraging his students to enlist in the band, but it was becoming difficult to maintain membership. Since its founding, only males were allowed to join the band. Carole Bailey did play cornet in the junior band for a short time around 1962, but females were not allowed in the senior band. There had been a strong but dwindling number of members who were opposed to allowing women into the band. In the mid-seventies Jack Bailey brought several students into the band, one of whom was the first female, Darylynn Fox. What would have been a monumental shift a few years before, took place almost without notice.

Trail Maple Leaf Band celebrates Rossland Jubilee circa 1973

After renting rehearsal and storage space in the Colombo Lodge for more than 45 years the band moved out enabling the Lodge to renovate and create a museum. In June of 1973 they moved to the second floor of the Trail Legion, but within a year moved again to the McIntyre room in the Cominco Arena (Trail Memorial Centre), where they reside today.

The band continued to perform at local and regional events each year. One highlight was qualifying for, and performing at, the 1974 World Exhibition in Spokane. Lorne DePaolis became conductor in 1970 with Dennis Truant joining him as co-conductor a short time later.

Lorne began his musical career in 1938 as a member of the junior band. His skills on the trumpet were considerable and he was sought after by many local dance bands and jazz bands. Dennis learned clarinet and saxophone from Mystery DiPasquale while in the junior band. He later played in many local and jazz bands while furthering his musical education at the West Lake School of Music in the United States.

Lorne DePaolis and Dennis Truant continued as conductors for 16 years, retiring their batons in 1986.

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