1967 Montreal Expo


In 1967 Arthur was 75, but he was as spry as ever. With Dave MacKenzie as his manager he set his sights on Montreal’s World Exposition. It was probably a good thing it fell in between the years he planned on going to Europe, or he might have missed that one. Gone were the days that he could go to both a World’s Fair and on to Europe. The cost was too high, he told one parent at a parents meeting at General Gordon School. “It’s not 1939 any more,” which in a way I’m sure he was glad it wasn’t, what with the war and all.

This trip was to be short by Arthur’s standards. It took three days to get to Montreal by train and three days to return, so if he went for two weeks that would give him a week in Montreal. That was plenty of time, he thought, after what he read out loud to his band parents one evening. It was a letter he had received from fair officials just the day before, confirming his application.
“It says we can only play in three band shells, three concerts and that’s it. Dang blast it! Don’t they know how much it costs to bring a band out from Vancouver?”
Arthur slouched back in his chair, wearing his favorite cardigan, with a scowl on his face that would have disappointed the most optimistic of individuals.
To say that Arthur took the changing times in his stride is an overstatement. Arthur was like a single-minded old dinosaur whose world had changed before his eyes and he alone was now the last of his kind, left on earth to carry on, a dinosaur whose stride and size often overwhelmed the new world, I might add.

A demonstration of this occurred in Montreal when they arrived for the World’s Fair.
Having finished playing one of the three concerts in the band shell they had been assigned, the boys began to put their instruments away, until they heard Arthur’s voice saying from behind:
“What are you doing? Get them back and line up over here in march formation. We didn’t come all this way just to play in this old band shell.”
The reaction from the boys was, “Hey, all right, let’s go and play some real music!” The excitement they were used to on Arthur’s trips had just not been there up to that point. The reason was that Arthur couldn’t be Arthur. There was too much red tape, and the spontaneity which he and the boys needed to spark their fire had been thwarted.
By 1967 Arthur was using more of the boys who had been with him on the previous European tour because of the difficulty he was now finding attracting boys. The majority of the boys with him in Montreal had been with him in Europe in 1966 and they could really play. They also knew what to expect from Arthur, and he just hadn’t been himself.
Dave MacKenzie was several hundred yards away when Arthur gave the signal to march, and he could see what was happening. He knew what the old man was up to, and he also knew that the fair officials were not kidding when they had told him that if he didn’t abide by the rules, that they would be kicked off of the grounds.
So with the band on the march, the strains of the Raiders echoing between the pavilions, and Dave MacKenzie running behind trying to catch up to Arthur before the fair officials did, the stage was set for a very interesting afternoon, Delamont style. – excerpt from By Jove What A Band!



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