Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin The Nanaimo Concert Band rehearses at St. Andrew’s United Church last month. The band will play on Nov. 11.

Nanaimo Concert Band never misses Remembrance Day

Concert band has played a part in observing every Nov. 11 since 1918

On the day the armistice was signed to bring an end to the First World War, the streets of Nanaimo “wore a fest air.”

Nov. 11, 1918 was observed as a general holiday in the city and next day’s edition of the Nanaimo Free Press described “scenes of great enthusiasm.” The celebrations culminated in a torchlit procession through the downtown. At the head of the parade, flanked by returning soldiers baring the Union Jack and Red Ensign, was the Silver Cornet Band, now called the Nanaimo Concert Band.

Since then the band has had a presence at every Nov. 11 ceremony, and on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. – the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice – the 146-year-old ensemble will once more provide musical accompaniment at the Remembrance Day observation at the Dallas Square Park cenotaph.

“Why we do it is because it’s important,” said Shari Barker, who’s played clarinet in the concert band for 37 years and acts as the group’s historian. “It’s important to us, it’s important to the community and its important to Canada that we do it.”

She said she’s seen the ceremony change during her tenure, from “extremely low” attendance in the early ’80s to much larger crowds today. She’s also seen the focus shift from commemorating the First and Second World Wars to more contemporary conflicts.

“It’s one of those events that we wouldn’t even hesitate to do. We’re not even asked to do it anymore. We’re just so part of it,” Barker said. “We don’t get invitations anymore. We’re there. We’re the band.”



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Police officer recounts car chase and takedown in Nanaimo drive-by shooting trial

B.C. Supreme Court trial sees RCMP officer testify about multi-jurisdictional car chase

Crime Stoppers received more tips last year than the year before

The City of Nanaimo has proclaimed January as Crime Stoppers Month

‘Nanaimo is next’ for urgent primary care centre

B.C. Health Minister says new centre coming in next few months

Prolific offender arrested in “dynamic takedown” in Crofton

Lower Mainland man facing at least six charges

UPDATE: Gofundme campaign started for wife of victim in double fatal head-on crash

Clifford Bishop, 54, a resident of Cassidy, had been a truck driver since he was 18

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Nanaimo Women March On with a message that matters

A range of voices will lead the conversation at Jan. 19 event downtown

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

Manly will give it another go with federal Green Party

Paul Manly to be acclaimed as party’s Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidate

Lantzville soccer player a first-round major-league draft pick

Callum Montgomery goes fourth overall to FC Dallas in MLS SuperDraft

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Most Read