A 1940s photo of the band in the Trail parade. Mystery DiPasquale is pictured to the right.

A 1940s photo of the band in the Trail parade. Mystery DiPasquale is pictured to the right.

Trail musicians join military bands during war years

The Trail Times is featuring photos and stories 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).

“War Alters Lives” excerpt by Steve Guidone

“In August 1940 the Canadian government cancelled the naturalization of any person from Italy and Germany who took out their papers after 1922 These immigrants were required to report to the police as aliens and convince the registrar-general that they had been loyal subjects. Despite letters of recommendation from the mayor and other city officials, the MLA and MP, the church band clarinetist Ray (sic) Fred Tenisci was interned until 1945, his store and belongings confiscated and sold without compensation. Several years of Colombo Lodge records were also confiscated at that time, which have never been returned.

Some members of the band went into the military service and at a very young age, the compulsory call-up age having been lowered to 19. George Watson was not physically fit for action but still contributed through music he encouraged other musicians to do the same. Sandy DiPasquale, Lloyd Austen, Mello Angerelli, Raz Truant, Lorne DePaolis, Tommy Taverna, Peter and Victor Guidone and others also went into military bands. Later in the war, there was great need for fighting soldiers, so Lorne DePaolis transferred from the military band into the infantry and was transported to England. The war ended just as he was about to be sent to the front lines. He transferred back to the band and toured throughout Europe, entertaining the troops as they waited six months or more to be shipped back to Canada. Lorne DePaolis said, “As usual, my timing was impeccable.”

After the war, many returned to their jobs at the CM&S Company and rejoined the Maple Leaf Band, while a few others had successful careers in music. George Watson, a clarinet, flute and saxophone player, went on to play in the Vancouver Symphony and toured with the Dal Richards Orchestra.

Guidone writes that the post war priorities of many of the band members did not diminish their dedication regular banquets and picnics had always been for men only. But as time passed, spouses and then children were invited to these events. The band that had been a community of brothers slowly became a community of families.