First Scout House Concert Of 2012

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Preston Scout House Alumni Band, of Cambridge, Ontario, is again stepping out into a new season with an indoor concert during an exhibition sponsored by the Ventures Winter Colour Guards.

The evening program will take place in Preston High School in the Preston neighbourhood of Cambridge, on Saturday, March 24.

This will be the second year in a row that Scout House has opened the new season with an appearance at the Ventures show. Last year’s event attracted a full house despite a raging snowstorm that unexpectedly blew into Kitchener just a few hours before the show started.

On March 24, Scout House will present its 2012 summer field show music, including two new arrangements by Dave MacKinnon, whose drum corps instructing career began with the Ventures in the 1970s. Scout House will offer a majestic version of Waltzing Matilda, the first total re-arrangement of the Band’s popular signature tune since it was first played in the 1950s. MacKinnon’s arrangement presents the song, an Australian folk tune now recognized around the world, as a dramatic hymn building to a stirring fanfare-like ending.

His other new arrangement for Scout House is a fast-moving version of Johnny One Note, made popular by Judy Garland in the movie Babes In Arms. The Scout House version highlights the Band’s new mellophones, which were added to the horn line over the winter to provide more depth to the middle voice of the horn line, which still includes first and second French horns.

The Scout House field show will again open with If My Friends Could See Me Now, followed by the new version of Waltzing Matilda.

The field show concert is one of the most popular songs from the Big Band era, Sing, Sing, Sing featuring new drum parts written by percussion arranger Lee Buckley.

The Band will move out of concert playing Wayward Wind, a top 40s radio hit in the 1950s, and one of the most popular songs that Scout House has played over the years.

The percussion section feature is based on Wooden Soldiers, another popular novelty number first performed by Scout House in the 1950s. Johnny One Note follows the percussion solo.

The field show will end with Wish Me Luck and Waterloo Fanfare, both strongly identified with Scout House for more than 50 years.

Under the direction of brass instructors Gord Cupskey, who runs the Band’s regular Sunday afternoon music rehearsals, and Norm Courneyea, who organizes Wednesday evening sessions for brass players wanting extra playing time, the horn line has learned this year’s new music early enough for the early spring performance with the Ventures. The drum line has kept pace under the instruction of Don Rieck.

The Ventures began to rise to prominence in the early 1970s, just a few years after the original Scout House Band wound up 30 years of international achievement, winning more than 80 regional, provincial, national and international awards between 1938 and 1967.

The Ventures all-girl drum and bugle corps was formed in 1972, in response to the Waterloo region police chief’s request for a new youth activity for girls in the area. Since then, more than 3,000 young ladies have participated in various Ventures programs.

The Ventures traveled extensively and competed for 22 years, winning five Drum Corps International (DCI) world championships in their class along with many other awards. The baton corps formed in 1982 evolved into a winter colour guard program for girls between the ages of 8 and 12. The Ventures stopped operating as a drum and bugle corps in 1995 but continued as a winter guard organization.

Scout House is still on its winter practice routine, with weekly Sunday afternoon instruction for brass and percussion. Colour guard sessions are held Tuesday evenings under the direction of Ken Becker. The weekly indoor sessions will continue until late May, when the schedule switches to outdoor field show practices on Thursday evenings.

Since performing its first concert in Mississauga in 1999, Scout House Alumni Band has performed in more than 360 parades, field shows and concerts in communities across Ontario and Quebec, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida.

About 50 of the current alumni band membership of about 100 marched with Preston Scout House in the 1950s and 1960s. The ages of Band members range from 22 to 80. Originally, Scout House was an all male organization, but today’s marching unit includes more than 20 females.

For more information about Preston Scout House Alumni Band, contact Activities Director Nancy Weiler at telephone (519) 653-3376, email prestonscouthouseband [dot] adm [at] sympatico [dot] ca or visit the Web site at

Posted by on Saturday, March 10th, 2012. Filed under Current News, DCA News, FrontPage Feature.