Norm Godfrey

Norm Godfrey’s Memories

[Norm was unable to join us on the 1950 trip, although he was a faithful attended at every rehearsal – gl]

How it all started!

Norm Godfrey – January 24, 2001

Hi, Gordon: Your recollection of joining the Point Grey Band brought to mind my experience.  I was at Point Grey Junior High from 1941/42 to 1943/44.  We had army cadets during those war years, and somehow I found myself playing the bugle.  Of course, Mr. D conducted that band as well.  This group even played for Sir Ernest MacMillan.  I vividly remember parading before that renowned gentleman as he was seated at a desk in the Commodore Cabaret!  The noise was absolutely deafening, but Sir Ernest managed a smile as we marched by. What the occasion was, I can’t imagine.

Anyhow, I believe the Kits Band must have performed in the auditorium at some point while I was in grade seven or eight, because while I was in grade nine I decided what a wonderful thing it would be to play in the Kitsilano Boys Band. So, I found out when Mr. D rehearsed the Point Grey Band and approached him while the band was in session.  I told him that I would like to join the band, and he asked what instrument I would like to play.  I said that because I played the bugle, I thought it would make sense if I played the trumpet.  With that, he rushed over to a hapless trumpet player, snatched the horn from his hands, and thrust it at me.  “Play something,” he said.  I made some quite respectable sounds, I thought.  After all, I had played the bugle for Sir Ernest MacMillan! The trumpet was unceremoniously removed from my grasp, and returned to its owner with the same dispatch as it was removed.  He then grabbed a trombone from its owner, and again I was asked to play something.  This I did, but there was no quality to the sound that I emitted.  When the trombone was returned, he said that I would play the trombone!  “Everyone wants to play the trumpet,” he pronounced.

And so it was to be.  When I went to Lord Byng, I joined the Kits Band at their rehearsal hall in the basement of General Gordon School.  The memory of those rehearsals will stay with me forever!  And I never regretted being assigned the trombone, which has been a source of adventure and satisfaction which still continues after 56 years!

I left the Kits Band when I went to UBC, so I was only in the band for three years.  However, I joined the UBC Band, and of course, there was Mr. D, conducting it with the same no nonsense style he used on the kids at Point Grey. But, by then, I was able to see the twinkle in his eyes as he strove to extract the

very best that he could from his boys.  He was a wonderful and unforgettable man, for those that really came to know him!


The trip to Los Angeles – 1947

Norm Godfrey

Subject: Kits Band Memories

Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000

From: “Norm Godfrey”

Hi Gordon

Thanks for your e-mail of Feb. 1st and 16th, and March 5th.

When I e-mailed you last I mentioned a photo that I took on the 1947 trip to L.A. I had no idea where it had been taken, so I took it with me on our trip to Yuma, hoping that I might see it on the way there or back. However, while in the pool at the RV resort I got talking to a fellow forester who had worked in Vancouver for a number of years before moving to the States. He now resides in Eugene, Oregon. On a hunch, I showed the photo to him and his wife, and they recognized it immediately! It is Salt Creek Falls on the highway between Klamath Falls and Eugene. Obviously, the Band took that route on the way home.

Shirley and I made a point of heading east from Eugene on our way home. The falls are the second highest in Oregon – 286 feet, and very spectacular! Unfortunately, there was still a lot of snow, so I wasn’t able to follow the steep trail that heads down the canyon to the point where I took the photo 53 years ago. However, we did get some good shots from the edge of the canyon beside the falls. I wonder if anyone else recalls that area and took photos?

I recall that the Band played a concert on the way south in Ashland, Oregon, on a band stand in a park. We drove through the town on the way home and I asked an elderly woman (you know, our age) if she knew of such a park where we might have played. She pointed it out, and we drove by it for old time’s sake. There was nowhere to park – the place was absolutely jammed as it was a Saturday afternoon. However, it brought back lots of memories. One that stands out is Mr. D quick-stepping about the stage in exasperation as he tried to convey his wishes regarding the placement of the chairs. I discovered that it was best to keep out of the way when this sort of thing was taking place!

I will see what I can do to recall more memories of the 1947 trip and discuss them with others that went. It would be nice to put something together for the Band Web Page.

Cheers, Norm


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