A Boy With A Horn!
My cousin Charles Milroy was a trumpet player in the Vancouver Junior Band. I really admired him. I spent a lot of time at his house. When I was 6 he gave me a mouthpiece. I had it for about two years before my mother bought me a trumpet. The VJB had a A band, a B band and a C band. I joined in 1957. I really enjoyed it. I went to Britannia High School. We didn’t have a band at our high school in those days. I couldn’t play any sports because the band took up most of my time. It was a fabulous experience. My cousin Chuck was about 4 or 5 years older than me. He was a big influence on me in my youth. Other trumpet players in the band that I looked up to were Tom Rintoul, Sandy Barstow and Gary Thomas.
Mr. Olson was very dictatorial.I remember him standing up in front of the band conducting. I went to the band centre down on Broadway at Main. Ken Hopkins from the VSO was my trumpet teacher. Once a week I got a lesson. The band rehearsed in the Arcadian Hall on Main Street on the hill just north of Broadway. It eventually burnt down. I grew up at 4th & Commercial. I remember riding my bike over to rehearsals on Main Street. I remember carrying my trumpet. I must have had it strapped on somehow. I guess I must have practiced a lot. None of us liked fundraising. We had to walk door to door in our uniforms through the Shaughnessy neighbourhood selling chocolates. Here I was, a kid from the east end. We did a lot of marching.
My first trip was in 1960, the Western US Tour. I remember playing in Pacific Grove, California. I was only 12 on that trip. I met my first girl friend in Pacific Grove. We won a lot of awards. The band performed a lot of intricate march routines. We went to L.A. and Disneyland on that trip. In 1962, we went to Minneapolis. I was 14. We always had chaperones around so we didn’t get into any trouble. We practiced our marching routines at the Model School at 12th Cambie Street. Today there is a shopping centre where it used to be.