Scout House Invitational Tattoo Rained Out

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Preston Scout House Alumni Band is heading to Rochester for its ninth appearance in the Alumni Spectacular field concert on September 4 following a season that began in a February blizzard and ended with the Scout House Invitational Tattoo, the most anticipated show of the year, being washed out in a major summer storm the blew heavy rain, hail, thunder, lightning and damaging high winds across southern Ontario on Saturday, August 20.

A huge crowd was already seated in University Stadium in Waterloo, with many more still lined up at the ticket window, when stadium officials were forced to cancel the show and evacuate the stadium after Environment Canada issued a storm warning. The storm track extended from Goderich, on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, through the Kitchener/Waterloo area all the way into eastern Ontario. On Sunday, the storm destroyed a large section of downtown Goderich, often called the prettiest town in Canada.

Between the unexpected heavy snowfall which began an hour before Scout House performed in concert during the Ventures indoor colour guard show in Kitchener on February 26 and August 20, Scout House traveled more than 3,600 miles to participate in 18 parades, concerts and DCI and DCA field shows in Ontario, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. Almost all the events took place in blazing heat and high humidity.

The Alumni Spectacular concert in Rochester will be the final field show of the season, but Scout House will still be performing in a number of fall street parades and concerts in the Cambridge area.

Publicity for the Scout House Tattoo, including large feature stories in two local newspapers, a live television interview with organizer Pat McMahon and drum major Gary Tones and online advance ticket deals, helped generate strong community-wide anticipation for the show.

Members of performing units were also excited about appearing in the biggest show of the summer, which would have included Les Diplomates du Quebec Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps of Quebec, QC; Burlington Teen Tour Band, Toronto Optimists Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps; Toronto Signals drum and bugle corps; Guelph Pipe Band; Simcoe United Alumni Senior Drum and Bugle Corps; Philippine Heritage Band of Vaughan, Ontario; Twin City Harmonizers Barbershop Chorale of Kitchener/Waterloo; “HMS Ferret” Cannon Crew of 1812 Naval Re-enactors; Preston Scout House Alumni Band and Panwaves Steelband of Cambridge.

Every aspect of the event took place as anticipated and planned, except for the field show.

Many brass players commented on the special chemistry that flowed through the stadium during the afternoon rehearsal of You’ll Never Walk Alone, featuring more than 100 horn players. The song would have closed the show at the end of retreat ceremonies.

A Friday night social was well attended. More than 400 members of participating groups enjoyed a barbecue hosted by Scout House in the park next to the stadium after Saturday afternoon rehearsals. More than 70 southern Ontario marching music leaders and their guests from the past 50 years attended a special late afternoon VIP reception in their honor. The Tattoo was billed as a salute to Ontario’s marching music directors, bandmasters and drum majors of the past half-century.

The weather began to deteriorate about 5:30 pm with gentle rain. By the 7 pm scheduled starting time, the light shower had turned into a heavy downpour, forcing a 30 minute delay. During that half hour, raging winds and heavier rain drove many spectators under the stands for shelter. The announcement canceling the show invited spectators to visit the Scout House Tattoo web site at scouthousetattoo [at] hotmail [dot] com to obtain ticket refunds or a tax receipt for donations. Those attending were also encouraged to attend the following Thursday evening’s regular Scout House drill practice to see the band perform its field show in full uniform. The Tattoo was the only local opportunity of the entire summer for hometown fans to see Scout House in action on the field.

The Tattoo was planned to provide non-stop family entertainment, beginning with an opening ceremony featuring the Scout House drill team handling the flag raising, the Scout House color guard carrying the flags of all the Canadian provinces and all the other color guards on the field.

The Scout House horn line and Burlington Teen Tour Band were also scheduled to participate in the opening. Scout House was to play Jupiter as the flags passed from the honour party to the flag poles at the far edge of the field. The Teen Tour Band was then to play The Star Spangled Banner, followed by the Harmonizers singing They Call It Canada while the provincial flags were moved to the poles then leading the audience in the singing of O Canada.

Scout House and the Teen Tour Band would have then played If My Friends Could See Me Now, as they did in Burlington during the Sound of Music Festival in June.

The opening ceremonies would have concluded with Scout House members marching off the field while singing their theme song, set to the tune of Men of Harlech. The Silver Leaves brass ensemble was scheduled to play on the sidelines between performances on the field.

The retreat ceremony, with all the evening’s participants on the field, would have concluded with the Guelph Pipe Band playing Amazing Grace, and the massed brass playing You’ll Never Walk Alone.

This is the second year in a row that Mother Nature rained on the Scout House show. In 2010, a large crowd attended and sat through heavy rain that started early in the day and lasted well into the night.

The weather shouldn’t affect the next big highlight on the Scout House calendar, the brass, percussion and guard clinics to take place in a Cambridge high school on Sunday, September 25. The Time to Step Out clinics are designed to benefit brass players, drummers and colour guard members of all ages. Registration fee for each of the concurrent sessions running from 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday, September 25 is $5. Lunch will be available.

The morning sessions will concentrate on basic concepts and techniques. Following the lunch break, participants will learn Malaguena and all three groups will perform together at the end of the day.

Registration deadline is September 19. To register, contact Scout House Alumni Band president Bruce Witmer at wwitmer [at] rogers [dot] com or telephone (519) 756-0245 or contact Jim Fraser at telephone (519) 743-5164.

Scout House will begin preparing for the 2012 season in mid September, with new music and mellophones added to the horn line. Those interested in participating in Scout House activities over the coming year can obtain more information by visiting the web site at:

Posted by on Sunday, August 28th, 2011. Filed under Current News, DCA News, FrontPage Feature.