ABOVE: The General Gordon School Band
In 1920 Arthur Delamont arrived in Vancouver by train with his wife Lillie and his young son Gordon. He couldn’t find work playing his trumpet right away because the Musician’s Union had a 6 month waiting period before new musicians could look for work. So he bought a grocery store in an up and coming neighborhood called Kitsilano and opened the Delamont Grocery Store at 7th and Maple. After 6 months he started playing his trumpet in the vaudeville theaters of Vancouver’s downtown east side. He prospered enough to buy three lots in Kitsilano. He sold two and built a house on the third lot adjacent General Gordon Elementary School which he used for his young family. One day he noticed the boys at General Gordon playing in the field behind the school. He thought, “if I could harness their energy I bet I could make them into a very good band.”
It wasn’t long before the General Gordon School Band was formed. They weren’t much at first with all the wrong notes but gradually he whipped them into shape and in 1928 they welcomed home runner Percy Williams who had just won a gold medal at the Olympics.
ABOVE: The National Juvenile Band.
There were other youth bands in Vancouver at the time most notably the National Juvenile Band led by William Hoskins Sara and Arthur Peel. Another youth band was the South Vancouver Juvenile Band led by Joseph Olson.
ABOVE: South Vancouver Juvenile Band
He wasn’t worried though about the other youth bands because his band was going to be a ‘travellin band.’ When the neighborhood boys in Kitsilano heard some guy named Delamont who played trumpet in a Vaudeville orchestra downtown was starting a ‘travellin band,’ they flocked to him by the dozens.
Updated: October 2015