1953 British Vaudeville

Kitsilano Boys Band trip to the British Isles


Conductor: Arthur W. Delamont Band Mothers: Mrs. Wood, Mrs MacKinnon*, Mrs. Emery and Mrs. Delamont
(*Evan MacKinnon did not go)


ABOVE: At the Palladium, London

The comedy sketch “Ragtime Wedding” (no. 7 on the program below) was featured on many British stages.  Two of the “Boys”, Michael Hadley and Ed Silva-White recount what happened on one of those stages, in this instance, the Bristol Hippodrome:

The “Ragtime Wedding” was a short musical farce of a hay-seed shotgun wedding ceremony: Kenny Douglas, played the effervescent and randy sailor forced to the wedding by the bride’s hayseed father (Roy Griffiths); I (Michael) was the coy and slow-witted bride; David Hughes was the crotchety preacher. I remember when we staged this in the Bristol Hippodrome where David Hughes decided to make his entry through the audience and up a ramp over the pit orchestra (which had vacated their seats for a smoke while the Kits Band was on stage). Followed by the spotlight as he raced through the audience ‘late’ for the wedding, he crossed the ramp, stepped  back — and fell into the orchestra pit with an excruciating crash, landing on the bass fiddle, snapping all the strings.

Still dazed, David crawled out of the pit to come face to face with a large marble nude bust of a Greek goddess of the arts carved on the stage entrance.  He paused, pulled out a white hanky and made a neat triangle fold.  He delicately placed the hanky over the bust and walked magisterially onto the stage to proceed with the wedding, while Ken danced the hornpipe, I (Michael) clutched my tummy, and a distraught papa (Roy) recoiled in feigned despair.

The audience must have thought that this had been rehearsed — but it wasn’t. In all, the scenario was sheer slapstick which we sometimes improvised. Naturally, it was a hit for the rest of the week.

By the way, Mr. D never ever suggested to us that our acting was getting a bit naughty. He seemed to get a kick out of the ad lib.

Michael Hadley reports: In all likelihood Ron Pajala would have played the much-touted show piece “Lady of Spain” with its flashy conclusion that always brought down the house. Eric Wood’s solo, a swiftly moving piece of melodic acrobatics always captured the audience as well. The trumpet trio, of course, was classic Kits band.

Cheers. Michael. (with the memories of Ed Silva-White)


Sunday evening, 15 August 1953

Marine Gardens Pavilion

Folkestone, England

O Canada

  1. March “Heroic” (G.E. Holmes)
  2. Selection “The Desert Song” (Sigmund Romberg)
  3. Medley “Hungarian Dances” (Brahms & Liszt)
  4. Accordion Solo: Selected: Soloist Ron Pajala
  5. Trumpet Trio “Triplets of the Finest” (arr. Paul Henneberg)
  6. Overture: “Overture of Overtures” (arr. L. Panella)
  7. Comedy Sketch: “Ragtime Wedding” (Paul Yoder)
  8. Xylophone Solo “Flotsam and Jetsam”

Soloist Eric Wood (arr. E.Barsotti)

  1. Selection: “The Student Prince” (Sigmund Romberg)
  2. Descriptive “Grandfather’s Drum” (A.E. Ostling)
  3. Fantasia: “Creme de la Creme” (arr. Theo Moses Thobani)
  4.  March “Washington Post” (J.P. Sousa

ABOVE: A sextet in West Vancouver, parade, Bill Good standing in front of a gigantic poster advertising the band at the Theatre Royal, Ken Sotvedt and Bob Nicholson upon returning home from the 53 tour.

Updated: February 2016


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