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2016 Bandfest Report

Brian Ellis

Despite the demolition of Kin House, used extensively in previous Bandfests, and now replaced by a mountainous pile of dirt, the 12th Annual Ladner Bandfest forged ahead with remarkable success.

In fact, there were numerous comments that the new setup was better than the old one, both for the bands and the audience.

When the Bandfest organizers first learned that the demolition work was to commence, they informed the Mayor’s office that they would be canceling the 2016 Bandfest.  Within hours, Bandfest founder, Curt Jantzen, received a phone call from Mayor Lois Jackson asking him what was needed to stage this year’s event.


With the full cooperation and encouragement of the Mayor and Delta council, plus the hard work of its facilities and grounds-keeping staff, this remarkable event took place.


Playing to an audience of some 150, Port Moody Community Concert Band, under the capable direction of Andrew Clark, launched the event with O Canada, followed by an impressive selection of charts.


Following them over on the opposing show-stage, John White’s New Westminster and District Community Band, now in its 82nd year, opened with a delightful hymn, going on to entertain an appreciative audience with their distinctive performance.

Back at the gazebo, Rob McLeod’s eclectic group of musicians forming the Lynn Valley Black Bear Band, regaled the crowd with a mixture of old and new favourites, including ”Mac The Knife”.

You never know what Harry Peterson is going to bring to Bandfest with his Vancouver Traveling Band. This year it was George Jefferson’s special arrangement of “Mexican Hat Dance”, featuring three trumpets.  Vancouver Traveling Band is proud that it is one “L” of a band.

Another crowd-pleaser, Delta Concert Band, under the masterful baton of Jim Tempest, kept the momentum going up to the afternoon break.

Curt Jantzen then introduced Carla Qualtrough, MP for Delta and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, who complimented Bandfest and its organizers for their valuable contribution to the community.

Curt then presented Delta Secondary’s Outstanding Music Student, Emma Dotto, with a $400 scholarship on behalf of Delta Music Makers.   Marilynn Turner and Brian Lewis of Delta Concert Band, then presented Emma with a $1000 scholarship.

Always a crowd-pleaser, the Vancouver Naval Veterans Band, conducted by Larrie Forbes, continued to entertain the appreciative audience with their exclusive style of melodies.

Host band, Delta Music Makers received a warm reception from the swelling afternoon crowd when they made their appearance in the gazebo under the direction of Curt Jantzen and assistant conductor and vocalist, Margaret Behenna.  Highlights included solos by Michele McLaurin (baritone horn), Karen Nakajima (flugal horn), Wilf Radke (trumpet), and Ms. Behenna singing, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

With their love of sharing music together and with others, Langley Concert Band, directed by Brenda Wilson, took to the Showstage and strutted their stuff.

As a complete change from what had gone before them, A Little Night Music (Eine Kleine Nacht Musik) orchestra, with Peter Stigings and Chris Haas sharing the baton duties, entertained the crowd with their orchestral pieces.  These were enhanced by the oboe solo of Lucy Williams and the whistling virtuosity of Barry Rector.


Under the capable direction of Bob Goddard, the Fraser Valley Wind Ensemble brought the first day’s activities to a fitting close, sending the audience home with melodies ringing in their ears.


Another beautiful, sunny day brought the crowds back to Memorial Park, all set for another day of live entertainment.

Under the direction of Bob Mullett, the Richmond Concert Band showed the crowd what they were made of, with an impressive selection of charts.


The effervescent Victor Guy then put the North Vancouver Concert Band through its paces with an extremely lively performance.

In their 70th year, the Maple Ridge Concert Band, under the direction of Ed Dumas, impressed the audience with a variety of pieces.  This hard working group is responsible for the construction, 22 years ago, of their downtown bandstand.


Under the leadership of their new music director, Kris Covlin, the Royal City Concert Band entertained the burgeoning crowd with a fine selection of pieces.

By way of contrast, Jim Littleford led his Little Mountain Brass Band through a lively performance, enriched through the sonorous sounds of their particular instrumentation.


A break in the music enabled Curt Jantzen to introduce Vicki Huntington, MLA for Delta.  Outstanding Canadian composer, Robert Buckley, was then introduced and received a warm reception from the appreciative crowd. 


Making their third appearance at Bandfest, the Greater Victoria Concert Senior Band, capably lead by Dr. Michael Keddy, brought the flavour of the capitol city to the mainland with an entertaining performance.  This is one of five amateur bands run by their parent organization.

What would Bandfest be without the um-pa-pa sounds of a European band, or the dulcet tones of Alp Horns?  Well, we got both through the generosity of Bandleiter, Gordon Koch and the Vancouver Dorfmusik.


Dan Hearty can always be relied upon to bring his skills and good humour to Bandfest , as well as his Metropolitan Concert Band, made up of musicians from all over the Metro area.


What a treat it was to welcome back Robert Buckley and his beautiful wife, designer/choreographer, Marlise McCormick, on the closing day.


It is remarkable how many musicians from various bands chose to stay around after their performance to listen to other bands.  Not surprising, however, that many chose to stay when the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy took to the Showstage.  What a performance - as can be expected!  Surprisingly , however, Lieutenant (N) Matthew Clark (CD) did not wield the baton, but instead was found to be playing in the brass section.  Evidently he is leaving the navy to join the air force.  He will be sorely missed.


Without the dedicated commitment of those working behind the scenes, Bandfest simply would not be.  These were the people who organized stage equipment and seating, signage, tents and awnings, change facilities, first aid, advertising and publicity and a myriad of other details.

Led by a tireless Hilary Otten, the hard-working organizing committee included, Curt Jantzen, Margaret Behenna, Ellie Loades, Janet Drew, Gary Bateman, Lillian and Brian Ellis.


We owe a debt of gratitude to all those commercial companies who have supported the event over the years.  (List available upon request).


It will be interesting to see what the future has in store for this remarkable event which has captured the hearts of both participants and audiences.

Brian A. Ellis, Bass Clarinetist

Delta Music Makers Community Band Society

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