ABOVE:1931 With great thanks to Frank Hills who is the trumpet player on the extreme left side.
Arthur took his fledgling band into the local music festivals a couple of times in the early days but they didn’t do so well! He wasn’t happy unless they came in first so he continued to get better instruments for his boys and to drill them more and more.
As the boys got older and it came time to leave General Gordon and go over to Kitsilano High School, Arthur found himself in a dilemma. He went over to the high school and talked with the principal Major H.B. King. “Sure you can move your boy’s band over to the high school. We would be glad to have them here. We have heard nothing but fine things about them.”
So Arthur moved his boy’s band over to Kitsilano High School and they became known as the Kitsilano High School Band, the first band ever in a Vancouver high school.
ABOVE: The Kitsilano High School Band
In 1930 he took his Kitsilano High School band over to Victoria to play in the Pacific Northwest Music Festival. Word has it they stayed the Empress Hotel. Arthur was very frugal and he would never have paid for rooms at such an expensive hotel so if it is true he must have received some help which he did; in the person of Garfield White. Garfield White was the assistant to the Chief Ticket Master of the CP Railway stationed in Vancouver and Arthur hired him as his PR Manager. He probably met Garfield in vaudeville as Garfield and a fellow by the name of Dave Denton had their own vaudeville act called Madame Olga Petrovich. Garfield dressed up as an elderly woman and Denton was his straight man. Garfield would prove indispensable to Arthur throughout the thirties with his band’s future travel plans. The boys didn’t do so well at the music festival. They came in 2nd behind William Hoskin Sara’s National Juvenile Band.
Back in Vancouver Lillie consoled Arthur and he continued to train his boys as only he knew how into the best band in the land. With Garfield White on board and several other notable Vancouver businessmen, all parents of his boys, he formed a parents organization which would also become indispensable as the years went by. One day a letter arrived from Toronto and Lillie handed it to Arthur. “What’s this?” he exclaimed opening the letter. “We doubt there is a youth band of significant quality in Vancouver able to compete in next year’s CNE band Festival in Toronto but if you want to come the test piece is Haute Monde.” “Why, I’ll show them,” he said putting the letter down and heading out the door. “Where are you going dear?” Lillie asked. “Why I’m going down to Wards Music to order Haute Monde. There isn’t a moment to lose. We’ll show them who has the best band in the land. I wonder how they knew to send me the invitation?” “I ask them to send it dear!” she said demurely.
So Lillie and Arthur and their parent’s organization set out to send the boys to Toronto which would have been difficult in any day and age but in the middle of the depression it was unthinkable. “Who does he think he is,” one boy could be heard saying to another boy. “He’s Arthur Delamont, that’s who he is and don’t you forget it!” said another. Well he wouldn’t forget it and neither would anyone else. It wasn’t long before they had raised the necessary funds to send Arthur, Lillie and the boys to Toronto. Oh! and Vera came along too as their eight year old mascot.
Before they could depart though in two special Pullman cars which Garfield White had arranged they had a score to settle in Victoria. This time when the results were read out loud at the Pacific Northwest Music Festival Arthur’s boys were the winners. They were now provincial champions!
Garfield White accompanied Arthur, Lillie, Vera and the boys on the train to Toronto. Along the way, he had them play impromptu concerts at every whistle stop: Kamloops, Revelstoke, Banff, Moose Jaw, Winnipeg, Fort William, Port Arthur and Sudbury. This would assure the boys would be in good shape when they arrived.
ABOVE: 1931 Jasper, Alberta
In Toronto the boys were guests of the Southam Publishing Co. When the big day arrived the judges couldn’t believe their ears when the number of the winning band appeared at the top of their score cards. The up-start band from the west scored a sweeping victory for which they received the Daughter’s League Gold Cup. The officials were so upset they wouldn’t give them their medals which was customary instead saying, “We will mail them to you and you will have them when you arrive home.” One of the judges said afterwards to Arthur, “That was an easy win. You completely outclassed those other Ontario bands.”
Updated: October 2015