1974 Edmonton/Spokane


The band played Klondike Days in Edmonton for the first time in 1974 and then traveled to the Spokane World’s Fair. They came in 2nd in the Edmonton Klondike Days Parade. The winning band was the Cavaliers Youth Band from Whittier, California.


1986 Pasadena Rose Parade


ABOVE: 86 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.

Happiness is being invited to participate in the annual Rose Bowl Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California, according to Gordon Olson, leader of Vancouver’s internationally known Beefeater Band. That’s what happened recently when Fred Johnson, President of the Tournament of Roses, visited Vancouver to invite the band to participate and speak to the members. The Vancouver youngsters will be watched by 145 million viewers of television around the world on January 1, 1986 – Expo year in Vancouver. What a perfect opportunity for Expo 86 to be part of the parade as well. I know that a group of Vancouverites has been pushing for the past two decades to get Expo officials interested in sending a float to the parade in Pasadena and I wonder why the brass at Expo hasn’t been turned on to the idea. What terrific exposure we would get with 145-million people watching. We have the finest float designer in the world right here in Vancouver in Frank Mansueto and his company. Frank would jump at the opportunity to design and build a float for Expo.

This is their second appearance at the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena.  Their first visit was in 1966.

ABOVE: Thanks to Stacey Henderson for the above photos.

ABOVE: Many thanks to Vanessa Lee Werth for her amazing performance photos of the Rose Bowl contest at Howell Field, Pasadena City College.

ABOVE: Disneyland photos from Vanessa Lee Werth


ABOVE: On a BC Ferry under the Lion’s Gate Bridge where they played for the first ever streaming of lights on the bridge as part of Expo 86 celebrations. Premier Bennett is back right.

ABOVE: A few  more photos of the Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade thanks to Carol Grassi and a couple from Expo 86.

ABOVE: Expo 86 Vancouver

ABOVE: These amazing photos were all taken by Vanessa Lee Werth’s mother with a telescopic lens of Charles’ and Diana’s arrival at Expo 86 and the band marching past to greet them. Note the RCMP band next to the Royals.

1983 UK Tour

ABOVE: In 1983 the Queen came to Vancouver harbor on board the RMS Britannia. She was here to promote Expo 86 coming up in three years. The Beefeater Band greeted her at Port Vancouver. Photos courtesy of Carol Grassi.

1983   Where?

“They shall have music wherever they go.”

In 1983 The Royal Tournament was pleased to welcome back one of the leading youth bands in North America. They appeared at the tournament on Saturday July 30, 1983.

1980 South Africa Tour

On May 14, 1980 the band gave a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Playhouse Theatre. The Master of Ceremonies was Bill Strafford.

PROGRAMME:   Totem Pole, Eric Osterling, I Write The Songs, Trumpets Galore, Paul Yoder, (Trumpeters: Cathy Wilson, John Molnar, Greg Hunka, Andy Edelmeier, Duncan Webster). Tuxedo Junction, Drummin’ Thro’ The Rye, Allegro Vivace, Warren Barker, Soloist: Ken Olson, Die Meistersinger, Richard Wagner, Selections from Chicago 10, Week-end Warriors, Sammy Nestico, Gospel John, Espana, Jay Bacook, Valdres, Johannes Hannssen, Rhapsody, Jim Curnow, Bunch o Bones, Richard Fote, Trombonists: Ivor Palmer, Susanne Filippelli, Brad Muirhead, Patricia Post, Copacabana, Jesters: Stacey Henderson, Christina Ceraldi, Lee Ann Peterson, Corri Kerswell, Crown Imperial, Wlliam Walton, Janta A Jag, Richard Maltby, Lord of the Rings, Leonard Rosenman, Procession of the Nobles, Rimsky-Korsakov

Personnel: Flutes: Arlene Frydenlund, Catherine Bealle, Brenda Baird, Dawn Warwick, Lisa Drab, Elizabeth Buckham, Linda Shepherd, Sandy Vaughan-Thomas   Clarinets: Mike Kenney, Michael Lee, Heather Lyne, Janet Parkinson, Teresa Spencer, Steve Smith, Naomi Redekop, Jean Hummel, Tracey Deverall  Saxophones: David Pierce, Rod Mont, Michelle Newman, Christine Morrison, John Pedosuk, Ian Campbell   Trumpets: Kenneth Olson, Cathy Wilson, Greg Hunka, John Molnar, Andy Edelmeier, Duncan Webster, Linda Cooper, Brendon Prosch, Peter McDonald, Karen Brown, Jonathan Gregory, Tammy Findlay French Horns: Jane Houlden, Heather Berkeley  Trombones: Ivor Palmer, Susanne Filippelli, Brad Muirhead, Arleigh Bell, Tom Brailsford  Majorettes: Stacey Henderson, Christina Ceraldi, Corri Kerswell, Lee Peterson  Flag Corp Coach: Carol Grassi Baritones: Patricia Post, Simon Everett, Roger Rourke, Burke Tanner Basses: Ed Baseley, Trevor Kitchen, Mike Bruce, Steve Willing, Scott Baran Percussion: Larry Olson, Dale Onions, Chris Bjelde, Louis Molnar, Lynn Horne, Peter Barone, Melody Duvenage, Joe Creegan Flags: Mary Wynne, Joldine Lee, Debra Pierce, Tania Davis, Lisa Angus, Cindy Luck, Joan Colley Lorelei Boos

The Durban Military Tattoo

The British Columbia Beefeater Band was officially invited to perform at the 1980 Durban Military Tattoo by the Mayor of Durban. The first Durban Tattoo took place the year before and was patterned after the Edinburgh Tattoo. An 8-man team came from Edinburgh to help assist in preparations the first year. 150,000 people attended the first tattoo. The Beefeater Band was the major draw card and had been recommended to Durban by the Edinburgh committee. Besides performing in Durban the band performed in other locations around South Africa. Official approval to perform at the tattoo was granted by the Canadian External Affairs Department, the British Columbia Government and the British Consul.

The band departed Vancouver on July 1st for New York City where they spent the evening at a Holiday Inn near the Holland Tunnel in Jersey. The following day they spent on a tour of New York City. They visited Times Square, “The Great White Way,” the theatre district of Broadway, the Empire State Building, Greenwich Village, Chinatown, the Stock Exchange, Rockefeller Centre, Lincoln Centre, Grants Tomb and made a stop at Battery Park to view the Statue of Liberty. They they went on to Kennedy Airport.


ABOVE:  In New York on the way to South Africa.

They departed on South African Airways Flt 204 the evening of July 2nd bound for Johannesburg. From Johannesburg they caught flight 523 for Durban.  They arrived the evening of July 3rd at Louis Botha Airport in Durban. After a leisurely night at the Four Seasons and a morning of site-seeing they departed by bus for Hluhluwe and the Hluhluwe Holiday Inn. On July 5th they were up early to visit the Hluhluwe Game Reserve as guests of the Natal Parks Board. They performed on the Hluhluwe rugby field for their hosts at 11:00 am.

ABOVE: In the countryside visiting towns. Dale Onions on the right.

At noon they departed for Empangeni. There they met the editor of the Zululand Observer. They had a late lunch and met the mayor and the Zulu King. They put on a short performance on the rugby field before the game. After the game, they were invited to a braai and disco by the City Council. They were billeted in the homes of the local members of Lions, Rotary, Round Table and City Councillors. On July 6th they returned to Durban.

TOP LEFT: The Mayor of Empangeni, councillor Phillip Steenkamp leading King Goodwill Zwelithini and escorts through the ranks of the band and the Josni Battalion.

BOTTOM LEFT: King Goodwill and his queen welcome members of the band.

BOTTOM RIGHT: The four jesters proved popular with the 800 strong audience.

July 7th through July 9th they rehearsed for the Durban Military Tattoo.

and then the TATTOO!

From July 10 through July 19 they performed every evening at the tattoo.


On July 21st they were off to Capetown on South African Airways Flight 603.

From July 24 through 29 they visited Randburg. On July 24th after meeting their hosts they departed for the SABC/TV studios to do some TV recordings. On the 35th they played at a Beerfest before an Oompah Band took over. On the 26th they lead a parade around Randburg City and then they were off to Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria. On the 27th they visited a Mine Museum at Crown Mines, Johannesburg. They spent the 28th in Pretoria. On the 29th they went to Johannesburg where they visited the Stock Exchange and the Africana Museum. After a farewell party in the Airports VIP Lounge they boarded the plane for New York. On July 30th they departed New York on Air Canada Flight 825 for Vancouver after an amazing trip to the other side of the world.

ABOVE: Great performance in Ranburg for the celebration of the towns achievement of its authority this month. And the well known Canadian Beefeaters were also there to add to the celebration. The Beefeaters, who later in the afternoon appeared at Loftus Verdfeld (before performing in Ranburg). Here a flag dance is being performed by Stacey Henderson.

ABOVE: A few more photos of South Africa thanks to Carol Grassi


ABOVE: The Olson Family in South Africa: Gordon, Larry, Louisa and Ken.


1979 Melbourne Military Tattoo


It all started out with Sunday morning band practices at Empire Stadium. It seemed to rain every Sunday which was not very good. The practices started at 11 am and not end until about 4 pm, marching all the time which was very tiring. Time flew by and it was finally the last week before we were to leave. Everyone was running around making sure their name was on everything they own, and also making sure they didn’t forget their instruments, flags or in my case batons. It wouldn’t be very good if the band arrived in Australia with only half the equipment needed.

The day finally arrived and after we said all out goodbyes we were on our way. The flight was really long and tiring, but boy was it fun. We stopped in L.A., Hawaii, Fiji and Sidney. After a short stop in Sidney we flew on to Melbourne. The sights on the way took us over mountains and we really enjoyed the Sidney Opera House from the air. It was so clear out and the sky was the most gorgeous shade of blue I had ever seen. When we arrived in Melbourne we were all taken to our houses and given the rest of the day off to rest. Practices would start the next morning.

The band was to stay in Melbourne for three weeks, the last two weeks being performances. The first week was mainly practices and site seeing. After the first week the fun really started. We were performing in the Melbourne Military Tattoo. Opening night we were a big success. All the rest of the nights were equally impressive. When the two weeks were over we all complained because we didn’t want to go home. Melbourne was very beautiful with hot temperatures, blue skies and lots of scenic areas to visit. The people we all met in Australia were very pleasant. I wrote to many for a long time afterwards. We were all feeling very down on the plane ride home until our plane got hijacked.

When we were boarding the plane in Sidney for the final leg of our journey there was an announcement that a man was holding a woman at gunpoint inside our plane. Luckily he hadn’t waited until we were all on board. We had to wait for hours for the event to resolve. During the first three hour stand-off the gunman hurt his hostage and she had to be taken to hospital but he remained on board. TV cameras and fire engines were all over the place and of course policemen. Finally , the police went in after him after waiting for six hours. There was a rumor that he had a bomb. We kids found it all very exciting. The policemen went in and shot the hijacker and he was taken to the hospital. An hour later we able to board our plane. Apparently there had been no bomb but they had to check any way to be sure. We saw a stain on the rug when we entered and they had to take out two seats.

ABOVE: Many thanks to Stacey Henderson for the photos and write-up on her memories of Melbourne.


The arena had an aura of pageantry and tradition, steeped in color and heavy with emotion and nostalgia. Against a backdrop of the Melbourne night and a replica of a castle keep, the first Melbourne military tattoo is played. And even though it has run only a couple of nights, it is already being ranked as the equal of the Edinburgh event. Troops and bands from Britain, Brunei, Canada, New Zealand and Australia drill, march and play with precision. The Brunei regiment plays a special march written for the tattoo by its musical directors. Altogether, 800 people take part in the program, which lasts nearly two hours. A spectacular fireworks display on opening night will be repeated on the final night, April 1. The display includes a mock battle, the flight of a flock of fiery doves and a star which bursts across a low trajectory above the MCC. The tattoo could rank with the Melbourne Cup and Moomba as one of the city’s great tourist attractions, its director, Mr. John Howell predicted yesterday. “With it we have the opportunity for the city to have an annual attraction that will bring in millions of tourist dollars,” he said. “This is a trial year – we are bound to make mistakes, but it is a spectacle that cannot be seen elsewhere except in Scotland.” Mr. Howell said next year it was planned to bring in 3000 Japanese tourists to Australia to see the tattoo.


ABOVE: As the performance nears its end, the troops and bands combine for a grand finale. About 800 performers from Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Brunei and Australia took part in the tattoo.

1978 Captain Cook Bi-Centennial Tour


Above: Delighting visitors to the Community Park area July 1, was the 110 piece Captain Cook band. The band played a number of selections for an attentive audience.

The Beefeater Band was appointed the official band for the Captain Cook Bi-Centennial. It included the joining together of 40 top young musicians from across B.C. with the Beefeater band bringing the total number in the band up to 110. It would be an honour band and it was known as the All British Columbia Bi-Centennial Beefeater band.

During May 11-16, the World International Band Championships were held in Vancouver and the Bi-Centennial Band was the host band for the event.
A tour of the interior of B.C. was planned for the first two weeks in July, highlighting many celebrations and events to be held in conjunction with the Captain Cook Bi-Centennial.


ABOVE: July, Osoyoos, B.C., Exhibiting the very striking Captain Cook Bicentennial flags are members of the provincial band who took part in Saturday’s parade.

This summer the British Columbia Bi-Centennial band is travelling over 3,600 km and bringing music to 14 different communities throughout the province. grand Forks is fifth stop o a tour that is taking the 110 member band from Vancouver Island to the Kootneys. The band should arrive in Grand Forks shortly after noon today (Wednesday July 5) and will play a selection of marching music as it makes its way through the center of town. Later this evening an outdoor concert will be held at City park. the Bi-Centennial Band has been together for just over a year and in that time has toured Great Britain playing in Cardiff and London. Members of the Beefeater Band from Vancouver as well as musicians from throughout the province have come together for this tour. The day of music is the result of collaboration between the Grand Forks and district Board of Trade and Stan Kirkpatrick of the Ministry of Tourism. The music of the band is an excuse to celebrate says Wilf Warner, president of the board of trade – and its free for anyone who wants to listen.


ABOVE: Does anyone know who this young lady is?.

On September 17, 1978 the Pope paid a visit to Vancouver. The British Columbia Beefeater Band was invited to perform.

1977 Royal Tournament


Above: Britain-Bound members of Vancouver’s Beefeater Band try trunks for size before packing for Friday departure. They will be first Canadian band to take part in Royal Tournament. 

– A Great Year in a Long Career of Successes for the BEEFEATER BAND

The Beefeaters were a smash hit everywhere they performed in England during the summer of 77. At the Agricultural Show in Stoneleigh before the Royal Tournament, they charmed all who saw them and made many friends. Notably were the children from Germany, The Voltigieren, amazing children’s horseback acrobatic team. The Royal Military Police Team ‘Red Caps,’ Horseman and motorcyclists, and of course the famed Band and Pipes of the Royal Scots’ Dragoon Guards.The Beefeaters had the pleasure of performing an amazing arrangement of Amazing Grace with these fine musicians in the closing ceremonies of the Fair.

The highlight of the tour was of course The Royal Tournament. The Royal Tournament opened at Earls Court at 7:30 pm on July 14th and ran through July 31st. Every day except Tuesdays at 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm. On July 19th there was a Review Parade. The parade was for those providing exciting and spectacular displays at the Royal Tournament. The march started from Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk at 2:30 pm, thence by the Victoria Memorial, The Mall and Horse Guards Road. Major General John Swinton O.B.E. General Officer Commanding London District and Chairman of the Royal Tournament Committee, took the salute from the Guards Memorial in Horse Guards Road. Participating groups were the Metropolitan Mounted Police, Royal Military Police, The Band of the Royal Marines, Royal Navy Field Gun Detachments, Band of the Australian Army Corps, The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, Royal Naval Display – Zeebrugge, The British Columbia Beefeater Band, Royal Air Force Police Dogs, The White Helmets Motor Cycle Display

An unforgettable moment came when Queen Elizabeth II stood up and applauded the young girls and boys of the Beefeater Band as they made their final bow before leaving the arena.

Other highlights included the jesters and majorettes handing out a beautiful red rose to each patron as they came to the Royal Tournament the night the Queen and Prince Philip were present. The band forming an honour guard for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip as their car drove up to earl’s Court. Then there was the time when the many members of the band formed an honour guard for various members of the Royal Family as they came down the red carpet.
Gordon and Louisa Olson were personally greeted by Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and other members of the Royal Family during the run of the tournament; Princess Anne, Princess Margaret, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Princess Alice.

The band also enjoyed:
* Meals at the Sargeant’s Mess
* Meals at the Officer’s Mess
* Their visit to Canada House where they were personally greeted by the Honourable Paul Martin.
* General Swinton, Commander of the British Army, coming to the Band’s lounge in Earl;s Court to greet the band members personally
* A visit to the Tower of London to meet the real Beefeaters



Beefeater exports in Britain

B.C. Beefeater Band’s Patricia Post, Cathy Wilson and Karen McKay ham it up in London’s Trafalgar Square while in Britain for the famed Royal Tournament recently. The band won Royal approval from Princess Anne after one of about 20 performances it gave at the Royal Tournament in Earls Court. The B.C. Lion’s mascot band is currently on a short tour of Britain and is presently playing in Cardiff, Wales. A highlight of the three -week engagement at Earls Court was a standing ovation led by Queen Elizabeth II. The Royal Tournament has medieval origins and is an active display by military units competing for the monarch’s favor. Each performance is attended by a member of the Royal Family. The 100 member band, whose complement is almost equally comprised of males and females, is expected to return to Vancouver August 15.

ABOVE: Canada House in London

                                                         The Royal Tournament

ABOVE: The Royal Tournament outside (some Cardiff shots as well)

ABOVE: Royal Tournament (inside)


Fri. July 1 Check in at Vancouver International Airport at Air Canada’s Special Group
counter 2:40 p.m.
Fri. July 1 Depart Vancouver on Air Canada 852 4;40 p.m.
Sat July 2 Arrive London-Heathrow Airport 11:00 a.m.
After clearing customs and immigration, transfer from London Airport to
Stoneleigh in Warwickshire
Sat. July 2 to
Thurs. July 7 Accomodation provided at Stoneleigh
Sun July 3 Rehearsal at Stoneleigh
Mon. July 4 to
Thurs. July 7 Perform at Royal Agricultural Show – National Agricultural Centre, Kenilworth,
Fri. July 8 Transfer from Stoneleigh to London
Fri. July 8 to
Sun. July 31 incl. Accomodation provided in London
Sun. July 10 Royal Tournament preview parade, St. James Park
Mon. July 11 to
Wed. July 13 Rehearsals at Earls Court
Wed. July 13 Dress Rehearsal
Thurs. July 14 First performance at Royal Tournament
Sun. July 31 Last performance at Royal Tournament

ABOVE: Meeting the Royal Family at the tournament.

ITINERARY (continued)

Two performances daily including Sundays: 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
No matinees on Tuesday and no performances on Mondays
Mon. Aug. 1 Transportation from London to Cardiff, South Wales
Mon. Aug. 1 to
Sun. Aug. 14 Cardiff Teachers Training College
Fri. Aug. 5 First performance: Cardiff Searchlight Tattoo, Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, South
Sat. Aug. 13 Last performance: Cardiff Searchlight Tattoo
Mon. Aug. 15 Transfer from Cardiff to London-Heathrow Airport
Mon. Aug. 15 Depart London on Air Canada 853 12:00 noon
Mon. Aug. 15 Arrive Vancouver 1:20 p.m.

ABOVE: 1977 Royal Tournament

77- 14

                                                     The Cardiff Searchlight Tattoo

Cardiff was a beautiful city. The people were very warm and friendly towards the band. The Cardiff tattoo was truly one of the most spectacular events the band had ever performed in. On the site of Cardiff castle, each nite around 1100 performers, musicians, athletes, combat teams, mounted groups, animals and others performed to capacity audiences.

Our host and producer, Aubrey Jackman, was also a narrator of a certain segment of the program that delt with the various British Monarchs since the reign of Queen Victoria. His narration was excellent and brought back many memories and well known vignettes of the Royal Family.

Jamie Croil – Memories!

In 1977, in Vancouver, before we went to London for three weeks for the Royal Tournament (Queen’s Jubilee) and then Cardiff for the Cardiff Military Tattoo, Frank Minear came up from Seattle. He had designed the field drills and written the arrangements. In practice, I decided to try some double B’s and double C high notes. He came running over to me and said, “Is that you of going up an octave?” “Sorry,” I said. “No, no leave them in. It sounds great!” So it became a part of the show. In England we played at the Warwickshire Agricultural Show to warm up before the Royal Tournament. That was tough to follow the cows on the field. One poor guy forgot his black shoes and he had to march the entire show in his stockings. Then, back in London, we marched in a parade around St. James Park which took us past Buckingham Palace. We followed the Royal Air Force Band and behind us were the massed bands of the Royal Marines. The Royal Marine Band was made up of three bands. In total 250 players. Fifty of them were drummers with 200 winds. Neither of those bands played drum cadences between songs. When they were four bars from the end of one piece, the bass drummer would play a roll off then they would just go straight into the next number with a flip of their music folders. All the musicians were issued Boosey & Hawkes instruments. They were each taught the same vibrato and military playing technique. Each British military band has its own tempo. Their tempo is slower than the military bands of other countries and has a permanence about it; a patience, a sound of empire! I was by myself one time walking under the stands at Earls Court (Stadium). I could hear what sounded like a hockey organ playing Rule Britannia. I went around the corner and discovered it wasn’t an organ but the 200 wind musicians from the Royal Marines Band; piccolo to tuba, so perfect. I was 21 on that trip and I went as a playing chaperone. My chaperone tag was enough to get me into the Junior ranks club, the Sergeant’s Mess and the Officer’s Mess. I could go anywhere I wanted for a meal. The boys stayed on the 6th floor of the Earls Court building. The girls stayed at the Teacher’s College downtown and were bused in every morning. Half way up the stairs one day after a show some members of the Kiwi Infantry Band accosted me and started interrogating me how I got those high notes. How did I do it! I wound up meeting their lead trumpet player who was my age. We hung out and played some duets a couple of times. He was a beautiful player. When we were playing at the Cardiff Torchlight Tattoo the Welsh Guards Band was there as well. Between shows the Major who was the Director of their band called me over to his table. He says, “How would you like to play with us? We would like your high notes in our band.” I asked, “What’s the up side?” “Well, we’ll feed you, we’ll cloth you, we’ll give you room and board plus we’ll pay you. All you have to do is play your trumpet all day long.” “What’s the downside?” I investigated. “Well, you will have to do duty in Northern Ireland for six weeks out of every year.” “Is that with my trumpet?” “Unfortunately not!” It had not been a good year for the British in Northern Ireland. Beautiful band! I would have loved to play in their band.

The Olson’s were great role models. Louisa managed the majorettes and shared most of the behind the scene matters as well. They always showed a lot of formality in front of the band. Mr. Olson was a very skilled and talented man. He was very supportive to us all in a fatherly way. He always maintained that formality but he was a complete person. We got to see him smile, laugh, be angry, he was very personable. When it was time for business though, Mr. Olson was very firm, always in a fair and appropriate way.

Being in the Beefeater band gave me a strong background in music fundamentals. I learned a lot of things that Mr. Olson focused on: timing, expression, tone, articulation. One of the biggest challenges facing any young musician is where to play after high school. First we find a home in our high school band. But after high school where do we go? I was lucky! On the flight home from London in 1977 I decided I wanted to play the trumpet professionally in Vancouver. A couple of days after we returned to Vancouver we had a performance at a BC Lions game. I played my high notes again. A few days later I got a call from the great Dave Robbins. “Do you want to play in my band?” He must have heard me and liked my high notes. It was the same thing with Dal Richards. Dal was famous for his work with the Beefeaters and the B.C. Lions so he might have known about me from those days. It ended up being a pretty busy future for me.

 Traditions and legends of the Beefeater Band were passed down to each new member by the senior’s members. There is one story about the band’s first visit to the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena in 1963. It was the top parade of the college football world. It was the first time the band donned their new Beefeater uniforms. The bands in front and behind them in the marshalling area called them names and laughed at their new uniforms. It made them so mad all 120 of them marched and played the best parade they had ever marched and beat out the number one, two and three college bands in the USA to take away the trophy and the grand prize. This story is one of the cornerstones of the continuing pride in the Beefeater Band; a true espri de corps.



ABOVE: B.C. Beefeaters Band Back Home……….tour audience topped 700,000

Beefeaters return, get big welcome
The B.C. Beefeaters band – back from performing before royalty and getting a standing ovation in the process – came home to a tumultuous welcome Monday at Vancouver International Airport.
Clapping and cheering greeted the 92 members of the band, color guard and drum majorette corps as they emerged from the customs area at the end of a six-week tour of Britain.
Band director Gordon Olson described the tour as a “super success.”
“We all had a marvelous time,” he said.
The band went to Britain with an invitation to play at the Royal Tournament in honor of Queen Eliizabeth’s silver jubilee. Before the July 19 performance, the band formed the honor guard for the Queen when she arrived at the tournament.
“The best part was when the Queen gave us a standing ovation,” Ivor Palmer, an 18-year-old trombonist, said.
The band also performed at the Cardiff Tattoo in Wales and at the Royal Agricultural Show at Stoneleigh. About 700,000 people saw the band it was estimated.

On November 27, 1977 the Beefeaters played at the 65th Grey Cup game in Montreal dubbed “the Ice Bowl.”  The playing surface was more ideal for ice hockey than football. A blizzard hit Montreal two days prior to the game, and stadium crews put salt on the field to melt the snow. But as the temperature dropped the next day the melted snow turned into a sheet of ice. To combat the conditions, many of the Montreal Alouettes players put staples on the bottom of their shoes in order to get good traction. The move was spearheaded by star defender Tony Proudfoot. It was the third meeting in four years between the Alouettes and theEdmonton Eskimos. With a record Grey Cup crowd of 68,318 at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, the home team did not disappoint in a 41-6 rout over their Western rivals. The producer of Entertainment was Hugo Depot.

1975 Edinburgh Tattoo


On Sunday August 3rd, 1975 the Vancouver Beefeater band boarded Wardair Flight #402 at Vancouver International Airport at 6:20 p.m. for bound London’s Gatwick Airport. They would be in the old country until September 14. After a few days of sight seeing in in and around London, the band was off by motor coach for Edinburgh, Scotland where they would full fill another engagement at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo from August 9 through September 14.

ABOVE RIGHT: The Chaperones Mr. & Mrs. Anderson, Vi & Dave Alexander, Greta and Lance Jewall  ABOVE LEFT: Lance Jewall, Gordon & Louisa Olson.
In London they stayed at the Atlantic Hotel. Their London itinerary included all the sites, the West End, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park and Picadilly Circus.
The next day the band was off by coach to Stratford, Blenheim Palace and Oxford. And the next day they visited St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Bank of England, Mansion House, The Stock Exchange and the Tower of London. The following day would see them visit the cathedral city of York. The following day would see them travelling on to their appointment in Edinburgh.
In Edinburgh they stayed at Pollock Hall at the University of Edinburgh.

ABOVE LEFT: Connie Demchuk, Mancy Alexander, Karen Alexander, Gloria Grassi, Cindy Arsenault   ABOVE RIGHT: Nancy Alexander, Connie Demchuk, Gloria Grassi, Karen Alexander, Cindy Arsenault



                                                           JUMPING IN JEST

High jinks on Princes Street today – from the Jester Corps of the British Columbia Beefeater Band, one of the colorful attractions of the tattoo. The parade was watched by thousands of visitors thronging the pavements.


The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is probably the most spectacular event of the Festival – and there’s no doubt that it is the most popular.
More than 200,000 spectators will walk up the historic Royal Mile to see this year’s spectacular, which will cost an estimated 270,000 pounds. And that does not take into account of the millions who will watch the televised performance in Britain, Europe, Canada and Australia.
There is no doubt that the tattoo organisers have established the almost perfect combination which keeps the crowds coming back year after year, and makes the event a “must” for most visitors.
The Tattoo had huimble beginnings. In 1948 and 1949 a few thousand people watched military displays at the Ross Bandstand in West Princes Street Gardens, but it was not until 1950 that the event, which has developed into the present tattoo, was launched.
In 1950, audiences clutching their one shilling programme, watched eight items, including a pageant scene on the installation of General George, the Duke of Gordon, as Governor of Edinburgh Castle.
The evenings entertainment, lit by Second World War searchlights, included massed pipes and drums and military bands and sing-a-long numbers.
Much of the success of the Tattoo lies with its director from 1950 to 1966. the late brigadier Alaister Maclean, an exuberant character whose enthusiasm and drive lifted it to world level and created a legend for himself in the process.
This year Brigadier Jack Sanderson, who was assistant to Brigadier Maclean for six years, is stepping down from thw producer and commentator’s rostrum. Now 66, he can look back on eight Tattoo’s of his own, and for this year’s, his ninth, he is firmly in the chair until the closing night.

ABOVE RIGHT: Young members of the Vancouver Beefeater’s Band get in some musical and marching practice at Craigiehall, Edinburgh yesterday in preparation for their part in this year’s Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

ABOVE LEFT: Waving the flags at this year’s Edinburgh Tattoo are the Beefeater Band including majorettes (from left) Nancy Alexander (14), Karen Alexander (17), Cindy Arsenault (16), Gloria Grassi (19) and Connie Demchuk (15). They’ve been practicing their swirls and steps at Craighall, near Edinburgh.


ABOVE: Back home at the PNE Parade

On February 21-22, 1976, the Beefeaters appeared on the Variety Club Telethon. Guests included Jo Anne Worley, Monty Hall, Gloria Kaye, Paul Horn, Blake Emmons and Bob McGrath.

Jamie Croil (continued)

In 1975 we went to Edinburgh. When we arrived in London, en route, we couldn’t find anywhere to practice. We went to Hyde Park but the ground was too uneven and, after playing a couple of tunes, the police kicked us out. It would have been easy for us to injure ourselves marching on wobbly ground. So we didn’t practice for a week. Mr. Olson was an outstanding band director. He had some techniques that he used to get what he needed from the band. For example, when we arrived at our next stop in York, still en route to Edinburgh, we had a couple of hours to spare. We found a triangular piece of ground and got out to practice. We sounded terrible and the ground was rough. He knew it would be bad but he wanted us to regain our focus. He gave us a lot of grief that day trying to whip us into shape. We only had 6 trumpets. At dusk Mr. Olson said, “Come on; let’s go get a Wimpy burger.” As we were getting into the bus the trumpets agreed to stay behind for more practice. We practiced our marching for about an hour and then we walked back to the university where we were staying. There was a heat wave that summer and it was hard to find a cold drink. We found some finally at the university then we practiced our music for another hour and a half. We basically memorized it. The next day we arrived in Edinburgh and went straight to Craigy Hall where we were staying. Once out of the bus Mr. Olson immediately called another practice out on the adjacent football pitch. On the field he said, “Trumpets you don’t have your music.” We told him we had memorized our parts. We sounded great! It wasn’t long before he started giving grief to the other sections. “Why can’t you sound like the trumpets?” he asked. He let us trumpets go half way through the rehearsal. We were in Edinburgh for 5 weeks, the run of the Tattoo. We made a recording with the military bands that year and another one in 1977. Also staying at Craigy Hall were the Maori Singers. The first night they all went into town and the next day they were restricted to barracks. There was a bomb threat made against them. Nice guys! They weren’t allowed to play rugby either because someone always seemed to break a collarbone or something. The band worked hard that summer. The crowds were amazing! There were five military bands and five pipe bands in all. When they all came together and played in the Grand Finale it was such a beautiful sound. Near the end, all the lights would dim for the lone piper on the castle ramparts to play “Sunset”. In the darkness, the front row of the massed military bands would throw something over the rest of the musicians behind them: toilet paper one night. The entire formation was covered in toilet paper. Another night it was mandarin oranges and another night coins. You could hear them tingeing off the brass bells. Then all the wind bands would join in with the lone piper and all the pipe bands would join. It’s such a beautiful piece. It was such a great musical experience for us in that format and to hear the full size of the band was wonderful and had such a great low brass section. For the finale the massed wind bands marched off the esplanade to ‘Scotland the Brave’ (I think); we would all do a counter-march then back down the esplanade out onto High Street. We all had to stop and pass through this narrow cast iron gate on the right, one by one. I was at the back of the line and the pipe bands who came out behind us playing the Black Bear March were bearing down on me. The drums were pounding and the buildings were rattling. I was confronted by a wall of bass drums and guys who looked much bigger than they were with busbies and epaulettes. I couldn’t get out of the way. They were frightening! I got the full realization why they were used in war. I remember the first night they had half price tickets for seniors. We started off our portion with fanfare trumpets. The lights would dim and we would run off and exchange our fanfare trumpets for small ones and then get up on stage in time to play. Then we would walk off the risers and go into our drill routine. It was an amazing show. After the show Al Guraliuk and I went back to get the fanfare trumpets. We were tall and could see out over the entire crowd as they were leaving. The average height was about 5 foot three inches. We towered above them. One night near the end of our stay about ten of us found a pub. A couple of us went up to get the drinks. On the way back an old guy tugged at my pant leg and asked, “Excuse me lad but is there a competition?” only in Great Britain. They were great times!

1973 Hawaiian Tour

On January 28, 1973 The Beefeater band played for Schmocky ’73 put on annually by the Kinsmen Rehabilitation Foundation of British Columbia. Besides a lot of Vancouver’s local entertainers and personalities it featured Rich Little, Karen Magnussen, Barry & Louise Soper, Toni Sinclair and the Dal Richards Orchestra. The Beefeaters and the White Spot Pipe Band put on the Half Time Show at intermission.


The band left on April 19, 1973 from Sea Tac Airport bound for Honolulu on a Northwest Orient Airlines, Boeing 747 for a 11-day Hawaiian Tour. Half their time was spent on the island of Oahu and the other half was spent on the island of Hawaii. The band participated in the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, Hawaii.
On arrival in Honolulu, there was a traditional flower lei greeting and then they were whisked off to the Reef Hotel on the beach of Waikiki. They stayed there for four days. They spent their time playing, enjoying Honolulu and the many attractions of the island of Oahu.
They had the choice of several tours from which to choose; the Pearl Harbour Cruise was one. That evening they had the option to have dinner at Chuck’s Outrigger Hotel Luau. The next day they could participate in a City-Punchbowl Tour which was a tour of Honolulu. and Waikiki. Another tour they could take was the Oceanic-Sea Life Tour. It was a trip to Sea Life Park to see the world’s largest exhibit of marine life. Another tour was the Circle Island Tour. This tour visited Oahu’s most scenic attractions. A Night in the South Pacific was another with a trip to the Polynesian Cultural Centre where they could see authentic reproductions of six villages” Tongan, Hawaiian, Tahitian, Fijian, Maori and Samoan.
On the 23rd of April, they flew by Aloha Airlines to the big islnad of hawaii, arriving at the city of Hilo. Here they got down to helping the Hawaiians commemorate the memory of their Merrie Monarch, King Kalakaua. Elected in 1874, he was a big spender. He was the first king to travel around the world and the first monarch of any countryto visit the United States. His love of luxury increased Hawaii’s national debt seven-fold during the ten years of his reign, and the Merrie Monarch Festival lives up to his reputation of lavish Hawaiian fun, music and colorful parades.



ABOVE: Chaperones Anne Grassi and Greta Jewall

Bruce Harris

My Band Years (continued)

1973 Hawaiian Tour
– We had a morning or an afternoon off as soon as we arrived in Honolulu. All of us went to the beach to swim, play in the water, sun ourselves and just relax. Of course most of us had never been to Hawaii and didn’t have a clue about the sun and how quickly you could burn. I was so sunburned I wasn’t able to expose my skin to the sun for the rest of the trip. I don’t think the room I was in was air conditioned either.
– On the big island of Hawaii near Hilo we were playing a concert for an elementary school and there was an earthquake. It seemed quite strong to me as I recall a lot of the children were quite scared.

Bruce Harris
Some other random notes from my time with the band.
– Parade day where we are all eating breakfast together and some of the senior members are telling us to be sure to put lots of salt on our breakfast of eggs and bacon so we do not get dehydrated.
– Participating in a gala for the Queen and Prince Phillip at the Pacific Coliseum and I was the section leader for the trombones. Mr.Olson arranged us and I was at the end of the line. I decided to reverse the line so that I could sit beside my then girlfriend. The Queen, Prince Phillip and their entourage enter and walk right beside the band. Prince Phillip stops and speaks to Art Smith at the end of the trombones and don’t you know the next day there is a picture in the Vancouver Sun of him talking to Art and they have also printed a short interview with Art. That could have been me.
– Taking trombone lessons at the Band office on East Broadway with Ted Lazenby, trombonist with the Symphony and having to repeat over and over and over a certain musical repetition. His eyes would be closed and he would only say “again”, “again” like a scene out of Whiplash the movie.
– Performing at the 1st home game of the Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Coliseum on October 9, 1970.
– The Arcadian Hall on Main Street where we had a lot of our practices. It was an old dance hall from the early 1900’s. After practice I would walk up to Broadway and Main to catch the bus home. If there was time some of us would grab a quick bite to eat at the Aristocratic coffee shop on the corner.

All in all it was a great experience and I feel privileged to have been a participant. It is definitely something I will always cherish.

Jamie Croil (continued)

In 1973, the entire first trumpet section couldn’t go on the planned trip to Hawaii that summer. They had to work to make money for university in the fall. Mr. Olson auditioned all the remaining trumpets and bumped me up 10 positions to be right behind Ross Noble and Ken Olson. Mr.(Gordon) Olson said to my mom, “I can’t believe how much Jamie has improved.” My original audition had not been very good so I had started in the band way down on third chair. In Hilo, Hawaii we marched in a big parade. At the end of the parade we were just sweating and ridiculously hot because of our wool uniforms. When we got back to the bus we begged the driver to turn the air conditioning right up. A couple of days later we were setting up in a courtyard at an elementary school getting ready to play a concert. All of a sudden we heard this rumbling and we could see the houses in the distance going up and down in waves. I remembered what my mom always said to do in case of an earthquake,” Go stand in a wide open space or in a door frame.” The next thing we knew there were four waves passing one at a time underneath us and we rose up and down with each wave. It was only seconds before some US Navy jets flew past heading toward the source of the earthquake. We found out later that we were 36 miles from the epicenter of a 6.8 magnitude earthquake. It was felt in Vancouver. The next morning we boys had to walk 40 minutes from the barracks where we were staying to get breakfast because there were no vehicles allowed on the damaged roads. The girls stayed in a seaside hotel with a beach and a pool.

1972 Calgary Stampede


ABOVE: Braving the Showers are the Colorful Beefeater Band

The Beefeaters, a junior brass band from Vancouver, marched off with the top awards Monday in the Calgary Stampede parade. They were judged the best over-all band, the best Canadian band and the best Canadian brass band.

The band was in Calgary in the summer of 1972 for one week as guests of the Calgary Stampede. The were able to visit all the highlights of the city as well. As part of their engagement they played a series of concerts for pre Stampede Grandstand entertainment and in-city concerts. A big part of their week in calgary were the two major parades which attracted outstanding bands from Canada and the USA.

Enroute they played concerts in Kelowna, Vernon and/or Revelstoke. The band was away from July 4 through 12 and stayed at Kanaski Hall.

ABOVE: Gloria Grassi with the T. Eaton Co. Ltd. trophy as best Canadian band. Dave Onions, Keith Woodward, Nancy Bryson and Enzo Grassi (Gloris’s dad) and Enzio Gassi with Sousophone who accompanied the band as a chaperone.

Jamie Croil


I started playing trumpet when I was in grade 5. Mrs. Kitty Carson at Kerrisdale Elementary said, “We are going to have a band this year. Does anyone want to play trumpet?” Five of us got up. My oldest brother had shown me how to make a sound on his trumpet. She liked my sound the best so I got to play trumpet. My brother took lessons from Gus Sheedle who played in the symphony. He used to come to our house and I would listen to his lessons. I played all through school. In high school, a classmate by the name of Bill Dudlets put together a swing band and I remember we played in the first Vancouver Stage Band Festival at David Thompson Secondary in 1972. We had a good stage band at Point Grey and a good concert band because all the stage band guys played in the concert band.

The Beefeaters:

I was 14 years old when I auditioned for the Beefeaters in 1970. My first trip was to the Calgary Stampede in 1972 where we played in the Stampede parade. We had a very competitive band that year and took the top 5 prizes out of 6 that were awarded (continued 1973, 1975 and 1977).