Concerts in the Park
A typical summer’s night will see families or individuals strolling the paths and walkways of any city park –no doubt swatting away pesky mosquitoes! Occasionally they’ll stop and greet an acquaintance or sit on the grass to take in a band concert. In the early days of Lethbridge it was a way for everyone to leave their work behind and enjoy the crisp sounds of a brass band. Today it is a means of celebrating a special event bringing the community together for a common purpose.
The Lethbridge Colliery Band, founded in 1889, consisted of miners, as well as other mine and Canadian Pacific Railway employees. They played a selection of new and popular tunes and marches of that era in the “Square”, now known as Galt Gardens. The music was heard from the bandstand located on the west side of the public park.
The Lethbridge Citizen’s Band played weekly concerts in the Square from1906-1918, in a new and improved glassed-in circular bandstand. The band, numbering 30 members, played old favorites such as Sousa marches; “By the Beautiful Sea”; “The Maple Leaf Forever”; “Irish Washerwoman”; “The Sky Boat Song”, any Strauss waltz, and Elgar’s “Pomp & Circumstance March #1”. This band was the first to hold evening concerts with the help of electric lights strung inside the bandstand.
The City Band of the 1920s, the Lethbridge Junior and Kiwanis Bands from the 1940s-1970s, and the present Lethbridge Community Band have all performed open-air concerts. On Victoria Day, or Canada Day since 1967, they would assemble in Galt Gardens and, in later years, in Henderson Lake Park and Indian Battle Park with a repertoire of marches, ballads, novelty and other rousing numbers.
This August and September, music will be part of several community festivities at the Galt, including the August 19 Scenic Plaza Whoop-Up Days BBQ on the South Patio with music provided by Pyramid Entertainment, and the September 29 Harvest Festival with Shaela Miller and Pete Watson. For more information, visit www.galtmuseum.com.