Funeral Services For Long-Time Guelph Royalaires Leader Stan Biggs
The funeral service for Stan Biggs, who helped found the Guelph Royalaires, marched in front of the corps for many years as drum major and served as corps director and business manager, will be held on Monday, July 19 at 1:30 pm at the McIntyre Wilkie Funeral Home (Gilchrist Chapel), 1 Delhi Street in Guelph, Ontario. Visitation at the funeral home is Sunday, July 18 from 1 to 4 pm.
He passed away in the early hours of Thursday, July 15 at age 90. Former members of the Royalaires are invited to attend the service then form an honour guard following the service
Under his direction, the Royalaires became one of Canada’s most successful senior corps. In 1980, he was one of the first Canadians inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame. He served for many years on the executive of the Ontario and Canadian Drum Corps Associations, and was an organizer of the annual winter instruction clinics that attracted corps personnel from across Ontario and western New York state.
Under his guidance, the Royalaires won the Canadian senior national championship six years in a row from 1959 to 1964. During the years of his close involvement, the Royalaires won 16 Canadian national championships in 22 years.
The group originated in 1932 when veterans of World War I formed the Guelph Legion Bugle Band as a way of maintaining the bonds of friendship formed during the war years, increasing their musical knowledge and continuing their military-style training.
That group eventually became the marching band of the 11th Field Regiment, winning the Canadian standstill championship three years in a row: 1953, 1954 and 1955.
When the military band welcomed members of the general public to join in 1954, the newly-formed drum and bugle corps became known as the Royalaires. The name came from Guelph’s nickname as the Royal City. The Royalaires quickly adapted to field shows featuring marching and maneuvering.
Competing across Canada and the United States, the Royalaires soon became known as “the corps with the heart.” The repertoire featured love songs, and a highlight of the drill was a giant heart-shaped formation used for colour presentation.