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Brian Ellis, Bass Clarinet, Delta Music Makers


This year’s, international, award-winning Ladner Bandfest is being touted as the “best ever”.  Not only for the perfect weather, record crowds, or the 21 bands that participated, but because of the overall excellence of each performance, reflected by the audience’s exuberant response and participant’s enthusiasm.


To accommodate this number of non-stop performances over the June 9-10 weekend, bands played on two facing stages with the audience in the middle.  As one band played it’s 40-minute gig, the next band was setting up.  The strict timetable was adhered to through the watchful eyes of the four MC’s:  Curt Jantzen, Brian Ellis, Margaret Behenna and Sherry Lowes.


A distinguished looking West Vancouver “Pops” Band kicked off the weekend in the Gazebo, under the direction of Tak Maeda.  They were followed by the ever-popular Port Moody Band, playing on the Delta Parks & Rec. Showstage, and ably conducted by Gord Hembroff.  Under the baton of Dan Hearty, the Metropolitan Concert Band regaled the audience with their set of popular charts.


Making their debut at the Bandfest, Sidney Concert Band, led by Claire Mackelson, showed us that music is very much alive on Vancouver Island.


Host band, Delta Music Makers, looking sharp in their new uniforms, took to the stage in the Gazebo where Curt Jantzen and Margaret Behenna shared the conducting.


Following their lively performance, Bandfest Founder Curt Jantzen introduced the organizing committee to an appreciative audience.  He then introduced Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington who praised the Bandfest for bringing together bands from the United States and Canada and adding to the culture of the community.  Curt then introduced the remarkable bandleader Dal Richards, who was making his third appearance at the Bandfest. 


To start the second half of the program, Dal was invited by Harry Petersen, director of the Vancouver Traveling Band, to conduct them through, “As Time Goes By”, which happened to be the title chosen by Dal for his band’s latest CD.


For something totally different, A Little Night Music Orchestra, under the direction of Peter Stigings, filled the Gazebo, not only with musicians, but with beautiful sounds of strings, woodwinds and brass.


Reaching further still into musical variety and military precision, the audience was next introduced to the marshal sounds of the Vancouver Naval Veterans Band, led by Bob Juulsen, ably assisted by Lucas Teodoro da Silva.


After completing their own performance, many musicians remained behind to hear the following bands.  They were not disappointed as Langley Concert Band took to the stage in the Gazebo, under the watchful eye of music director Brenda Wilson.


The South Fraser Community Band, conducted by Steve Ho, brought to a conclusion “a very successful” first day, with their pleasing musical selections.


Little Mountain Brass Band, under the direction of Jim Littleford, can always be relied upon to start things off enthusiastically and as first band on the Sunday Showstage, they delivered. 


They were followed by a lively Lynn Valley Black Bear Band, directed by Rob McLeod, and Richmond Community Concert Band regaled the audience under the capable baton of Bob Mullett.


The effervescent Victor Guy put the North Vancouver Community Band through its paces to an appreciative audience, followed by the first US band of the day, Orcas Island Community Band, Washington State, under the watchful eye of Joe Babcock.


Appearing for the second time, North Cascades Concert Band, Washington State, directed by Lylburn Layer, gave a stellar performance before the break for second-day presentations.


Curt presented each of the participating bands with an envelope containing a $100 gift card from Long & McQuade, a $50 gift certificate from Matterhorn Music, a Certificate of Participation from the Bandfest Committee and the attractive, multi-coloured programme, with a covering letter.


Designed and compiled by Royal City flutist Pat Hull, the programme proudly displays an image of the 2011 “Hats Off To Excellence Award” in the Events and Tourism Category, presented by the Delta Chamber of Commerce to Music Director Curt Jantzen, founder of the Ladner Bandfest. Above it, members of the host band, Delta Music Makers, are pictured in their new uniforms.


The centre pages contained a list of the times each band would be playing with the name of their director. A synopsis of each band appeared on other pages, together with thanks to companies and individuals who provided financial support, and to the organizing committee and the army of volunteers.


A special $300 award from the Delta Music Makers was presented to this year’s recipient, Delta Secondary School student, Kristin Kirkegaard.  Her music teacher, Catherine Campbell, speaks highly of Kristin’s accomplishments and says, “She is continually searching for ways to build on her skills as a musician.  Along with the flute, which she plays in class, she also plays drums and guitar, and is taking piano lessons”.


Royal City Concert Band resumed band activity under the capable guidance of Earl Hobson and Bob Schaefer, followed by an enthusiastic Maple Ridge Concert Band, conducted by Ed Dumas.


The renowned Vancouver Dorfmusik, directed by Gordon Koch, presented its special brand of European charts, highlighted by the Alphorn duets by Bob Mullett and David Gsponer.  They were followed by the New Westminster & District Concert Band, under the direction of John White.


Last, but by no means the least, was the Delta Concert Band, directed by Jim Tempest, who enthusiastically received a gift certificate from Cobb’s Bakery for being the last band to perform.


The Bandfest owes a debt of gratitude to the Organizing Committee: Curt Jantzen, Patricia Hull, Margaret Behenna, Lucy Williams, Gary Bateman, Hilary Otten, Alan Dodds, Janet Drew, Jhandie Jantzen, Elvira Gee, Sherry Lowes and Brian Ellis.


What would we have done without the help of over 70 volunteers who give so generously of their time behind the scenes?  A special thanks to them all.


Generous support was received from the following sponsors: Archetype Print Ltd; Bri-Tek Fire Protection Services Inc.; Delta Parks, Recreation & Culture; Envision Financial; Long & McQuade; Matterhorn Music; Prussin Music and Save-On foods.  Special thanks for the use of band equipment, stands and chairs to Catherine Campbell, Delta Secondary School, and Jill Sparrow-Ng, Seaquam Secondary School.


Thanks also to the TOOB (Tsawwassen Order of Old Bastards) for providing an endless supply of burgers, hot dogs and curly fries to the hungry crowds, and for their ongoing support and financial contributions to the Bandfest.


Although exhausted, the Organizing Committee was thankful that they had been able to put together another successful Bandfest and were already talking about next year’s event.  Such is the enthusiasm that this annual function has generated, so it is little wonder that a San Diego band has already applied to participate in the 2014 Bandfest!



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