Aboriginal Brass Band Contest


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Aboriginal Brass Band Contest
Dominion Exhibition, 1905
New Westminster, British Columbia

[2007 January 06: This page has been revised. Click here for the revised version.]

This summary is based on "The History of Music in British Columbia 1850 - 1950" by Dale McIntosh and by articles published in the Vancouver Province and New Westminster Daily Columbian newspapers. All records maintained by the exhibition were destroyed in a fire in 1929.

  • Dominion Exhibition, September 27 - October 7, 1905
  • Department of Indian Affairs brought 7 aboriginal brass bands to the Exhibition to perform in a brass band contest.
  • Aboriginal bands in attendance:
    • Aiyansh
    • Bella Bella
    • Bute Inlet
    • Nass River
    • Port Simpson
    • Sechelt
    • Squamish
  • Other bands participated in the Exhibition, including the Irish Guards, Vancouver Piper's Band, Revelstoke Band, and 6th Artillery Regiment Band. These bands did not compete.
  • J. Wyatt Trendell, who later became director of the Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles [this regiment carries on in the present day as The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own)], was the adjudicator for the event.
  • The event began with all seven bands forming three sides of a square and performing for Sir Henri Joly de Lotbiniere, the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, under the direction of Mr. Trendell. The massed ensemble played "The Maple Leaf Forever" and "God Save the King", followed by each band playing a selection.
  • The band from Aiyansh played the "Imperial Native March", an original work by its musical director Job Nelson.
  • A ballot was held to determine contesting position, with two bands competing each day. Those bands not competing that day performed public concerts throughout the Exhibition and New Westminster.
  • Each band played three own choice selections for the competition. These selections included a march, waltz and overture. Marks were awarded for each selection, with the winner being the band with the greatest aggregate mark.
  • Competition ended October 5, as follows:
    • Port Simpson: march 47, waltz 46, overture 70, total 163, first place prize of $300
    • Squamish Mission: march 44, waltz 41, overture 64, total 149, second place prize of $200
    • Sechelt: march 40, waltz 38, overture 63, total 141, third place prize of $100
  • The end of the contest was marked by another massed band performance. The bands formed a quadrangle and, under the direction of Mr. Trendell, performed "Maple Leaf Forever" to a triple encore, "God Save the King" and "Old Hundredth". Each band then followed with a selection.
  • The final massed band performance was supposed to have been a torch lit tattoo, but this was cancelled due to a strike by the torch makers.
  • The Exhibition was officially closed with a performance of "God Save the King" by the Sechelt brass band.

Brian Stride, March 24 2004

Updated 2007 Jan 07, 15:48 EST/EDT

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