1971 Midwestern Canada & U.S. Tour


ABOVE: Beefeater Band visits Winnipeg (July 1971)

Conductor Gordon Olson directs the colorful British Columbia Beefeater Band on the steps of the Legislature Building Wednesday in one of several performances in Manitoba this week. The band, accompanied by the Jesters Majorettes Corps are to appear at Assiniboine Park at 7:30 today. Performances were held Monday and Tuesday in Portage la Prairie.

On June 30, 1971 the Beefeater Band departed on a four-week tour of Canadian and Midwestern U.S. towns. Their itinerary was a busy one: Kelowna July 1, Grand Forks July 2, Creston July 3, Fernie July 4, Calgary July 5, 6, and 7, Swift Current, Saskatchewan July 8 and 9, Moose Jaw on July 10, Portage La Prairie on July 12 and 13, Winnipeg, July 14 and 15, Minneapolis July 16 through 21, Chicago, July 22 and 23, La Porte City, Iowa, July 24, Watertown, South Dakota, July 25 and 26, Glendive, Montana July 27 and 28, Helena, Montana July 29, 30 and 31, August 1, Kalispell, Montana, August 3, Wenatchee, Washington returning on August 3 at 3:30 in the evening.

Bruce Harris

My Band Years (continued)

1971 Midwestern Canada and U.S. Tour
– On the bus listening to Merle Haggard “Okie from Muskogee” over and over again by our bus driver.
– Also seem to recall the same with Paul McCartney and “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”.
– Buses on the tour were segregated. I had to write letters or notes to my then girlfriend and pass them over when we stopped for lunch or a practice.
On this tour Mr. Olson added a song where the featured instrument was a trombone. Being the section leader at the time I was the featured performer. We practiced and practiced the song as there were some very challenging parts to it. Towards the end of the song there was a riff that was extremely difficult and ended on a high note. The first time we played it I hit the note. The second time we played it I missed the note and that was the end of the song for the rest of the tour. When Mr. Olson announced the song I would make my way to the front of the band. I don’t remember the original name but he had decided to rename it and announced it as “Blues Sophisticate”. Frank Costanzo, a clarinetist sitting close by me in the first row whispered with a big grin on his face “Blues Sophisticate???” I remember it cracked me up because I was so nervous.
Highlights of the U.S. tour were the Minneapolis Aquatennial, the Wisconsin Spectacle of Music and the Chicagoland Summer Festival of Bands. The trip only cost each band member $200 or $350 for two if they were in the same family.


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