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Preston Scout House Alumni band celebrates Canada Day July 1

Preston Scout House Alumni Band, of Cambridge, will extend Canada Day celebrations from the traditional one-mile parade route through downtown Preston on July 1 to include a giant family barbecue and picnic at the Knights of Columbus building, marking the Band’s 75th anniversary season.

The family picnic for hundreds of Scout House Alumni Band and Preston Scout House Cadets members, family, friends and members of the public will take place from 2:30 to 5 pm on the grass and inside the Knights of Columbus building at 333 Speedsville Road, the Band’s winter rehearsal facility. Members of the public wishing to purchase $12 barbecue tickets should contact Wayne Ryder, at email: wayneryder2@gmail.com

The barbecue menu includes chicken, burgers, sausage, buns, two salads and a light dessert. A cash bar will be open inside the building. Tables and chairs will also be available indoors, but those attending should bring lawn chairs and blankets to fully enjoy the outdoor setting. The afternoon event will include door prizes, videos of Scout House Band, vintage pictures and displays of other Band memorabilia.

Members of the 1st Preston Scout Troop first began practicing on instruments purchased with a donation from a local businessman in 1938. Scout leader Wilf Blum thought marching music activities would help attract boys to scouting. The Band’s first performance took place in Riverside Park in June, 1939.

The Preston Canada Day parade will start on the street next to Scout House, the abandoned brewery stable renovated by Scouts and fathers in 1937 as a home for the 1st Preston Troop, and end in Riverside Park where the historic first performance took place. The band eventually took its name from the building.

Canada’s Preston Scout House Bugle Band grew to become one of North America’s most admired drum and bugle corps over a 30 year history up to 1967, winning more than 80 local, regional, provincial, national and international awards. The Band regularly toured from the American Midwest through Ontario and Quebec to the Atlantic Seaboard in the United States. Preston Scout House Band and founder Wilf Blum have been inducted into the City of Cambridge Hall of Fame. Scout House Alumni Band has received the Cambridge cultural award for achievement in music. Blum was one of the first Canadians inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame.

Scout House Band became independent of Scouts Canada in 1954, adopting a stylized uniform including tight black shorts, knee length socks, short-sleeved burgundy top, white gauntlets and black Aussie hats. The Alumni Band’s honour guard wears the vintage uniform for parades and field shows.

The Preston Canada Day parade is the favourite event of the year for Alumni Band members because of the overwhelming support the community provides on July 1 and throughout the year. Members were astounded on July 1, 1999 when Scout House Alumni Band made its first local appearance since organizing in the fall of 1998. Expecting to see sparse parade attendance because of cool weather and steady rain, Band members were delighted to find the entire route lined with local residents standing under open umbrellas, waiting patiently for Scout House to march down the main street again.

Scout House Alumni Band was organized as a stage unit with the intent of performing only a single concert during the 1999 Great Alliance of Seniors (GAS) drum corps reunion in Mississauga. Since then, Scout House Alumni Band has performed in more than 400 parades, concerts and field shows in Ontario, Quebec and 10 American states.

Scout House will perform at more than 20 events in Ontario, Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland over the anniversary year. A highlight of the schedule will be the 4th annual Scout House Invitational Tattoo, at University Stadium in Waterloo, Ontario on Saturday, August 10. The Tattoo line up includes Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, Hawthorne, New Jersey; Les Diplomates du Quebec Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, Quebec City, Quebec; Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, LeRoy, New York; Empire Statesmen Drum and Bugle Corps, Rochester, New York; Optimists Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, Toronto, Ontario; Burlington Teen Tour Band, Burlington, Ontario; Preston Scout House Alumni Band and Preston Scout House Cadets youth drum line.

The Band’s final field show of the season will take place in Annapolis, Maryland when Scout House performs for the 11th time since 2002 in the Alumni Spectacular field show during the Drum Corps Associates (DCA) championship tournament on Labour Day weekend.

For more information about Scout House Alumni Band, contact Activities Director Nancy Weiler at telephone (519) 653-3376, email prestonscouthouseband.adm@sympatico.ca or visit the Web site at http://www.scouthouseband.com/

Information about Preston Scout House Cadets is available from Del Barclay at: gascap@golden.net or Jim Pratt at: kusankusho@hotmail.com

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