Ventures, St. John’s Guards Performing At Spring Opening

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Two of the area’s top rated colour guard organizations, St. John’s of Brantford and Ventures of Waterloo, will be the first outside groups ever invited to perform during the annual Preston Scout House Alumni Band’s free Spring Opening arena concert. Both groups recently completed their winter season activities.

Preston Scout House Cadets drum line, soon to expand into a full drum and bugle corps, will also be featured in the 9th annual Spring Opening at Preston Memorial Auditorium, 1458 Hamilton Street at Bishop, beginning at 2 pm on Sunday, April 28.

Spectators attending the free concert offered in recognition of the strong community support Scout House receives from various Cambridge agencies and individuals will enjoy the first hometown presentation of the Band’s 75th anniversary year repertoire. Scout House earned a standing ovation in Rochester on April 13, on the first road trip of the year to perform in the Curt Anderson Classic XX stage concert sponsored by Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni drum and bugle corps.

St. John’s and Ventures both have long histories of high achievement dating back to the 1950s, when the region was Canada’s hotbed of drum and bugle corps activity. In Brantford, St. John’s Drum and Bugle corps started in 1953 as an all girl unit at Brantford Catholic High School. The group operated as a girls-only corps until 1985 when boys were allowed to join. Under various names, St. John’s won a number of provincial and national championships before the final year of field competition in 2006.

Ventures originated in 1972 and were one of the most successful all girl drum and bugle corps in North America over the following 20 years, winning five Drum Corps International (DCI) world titles between 1972 and 1994. Ventures and Scout House Alumni Band share a special bond in music arranger and teacher Dave MacKinnon who was music director of the Ventures during their productive competition period and now arranges music for Scout House.

The Preston Scout House Cadets youth drum line, formed just last September, will also perform for the first time on the arena floor in the Spring Opening. The Cadets have already performed at Kitchener’s Centre in the Square during the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony’s Drums, Drums, Drums family concert in January and at the Ventures winter guard exhibition in Waterloo.

The Spring Opening showcases all the Preston Scout House Band’s performing units: colour guard, drill team, Silver Leaves brass ensemble and the full marching band which this year includes more than 100 members. The Ventures will appear just before intermission and St. John’s will open the second half of the show after intermission. The Cadets will also perform in the second half, appearing after the drill team.

Before the show winds up, Band members and alumni from the audience will sing the Band’s theme song, to the tune Men of Harlech. Two original verses and chorus were written by the late Ken Whittington, a Band member in the 1950s. A new third verse, written by contra bass player Larry Green, makes reference to the activities of a flourishing alumni band adding to the Scout House tradition.

For more information about 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

Information about Preston Scout House Cadets is available from Del Barclay at: gascap [at] golden [dot] net or Jim Pratt at: kusankusho [at] hotmail [dot] com

Posted by on Sunday, April 14th, 2013. Filed under Current News, DCA News, FrontPage Feature.