July 1973

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - OPINION -

Prince Al­bert Col­le­giate In­sti­tute (PACI). After the war, the band changed its name to the PA Col­le­giate Band, with mu­si­cians from both PACI and River­side Col­le­giate. In 1958, the for­ma­tion of a ju­nior band was pitched to the Prince Al­bert Li­ons Club. Ge­orge Robin­son, band con­duc­tor, told the club that there were cur­rently 27 mem­bers in the col­le­giate band. To feed ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers into the band, an ele­men­tary band pro­gram had been set up which had 93 mem­bers. “The dif­fer­ence be­tween a school band and a ju­nior band is that a school band is restricted to a def­i­nite age group,” Robin­son said, “while a ju­nior band has only the age limit of 21 years.”

The PA Li­ons Club agreed to spon­sor the Ju­nior Li­ons Band pro­gram, es­tab­lished in 1960. Five years later, Bob Gib­son came to Prince Al­bert from north­ern Eng­land to di­rect the Li­ons Band. Un­der Gib­son’s di­rec­tion, the Li­ons A, B and C Bands ex­celled. In De­cem­ber 1969, school mu­sic direc­tor Ian Bar­rie wrote in the PA Daily Her­ald that “ev­ery time the band per­forms in public the Li­ons pro­ject ap­pears to be more than worth­while.” A Sun­day af­ter­noon Christmas con­cert of the A and B bands, he stated, “cov­ered the full gamut of sounds from tran­scrip­tions of opera, mod­ern mu­sic, Latin Amer­i­can, and all gar­nished with a lib­eral as­sort­ment of sea­sonal mu­sic.” Linda Wal­lace on French horn, and Norma Wal­lace on flute, were high­lights, as were piano duets played by Alayne Hall and Brenda Prosser. “The Li­ons Band is an up and com­ing ag­gre­ga­tion and de­serves the sup­port of the cit­i­zens of Prince Al­bert,” Bar­rie said. “Much credit goes to the con­duc­tor, Bob Gib­son, for his pa­tience and hard work with these young peo­ple.”

In 1971, the PA Li­ons A Band had the hon­our of be­ing sin­gled out by the or­ga­niz­ers of the Moose Jaw In­ter­na­tional Band Fes­ti­val to ap­pear as one of two guest bands at the open­ing night con­cert. This recog­ni­tion came about thanks to Band­mas­ter Gib­son, who not only ar­ranged for the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the A and B bands in the Moose Jaw fes­ti­val, but also en­tered var­i­ous quar­tets, sex­tets, and soloists in spe­cial com­pe­ti­tions. These were truly en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ences for young mu­si­cians from Prince Al­bert like my­self. In the early 1970s, the se­nior Li­ons Band was awarded first place in its class at the Moose Jaw fes­ti­val, and many of the band’s soloists were schol­ar­ship win­ners.

A ma­jor high­light for the Prince Al­bert Li­ons A Band was its three-week tour of Eng­land and Wales in July of 1973. (I wasn’t on this tour as I had moved away to go to col­lege.) After fundrais­ing for over two years, fifty band mem­bers, in­clud­ing my tuba-play­ing sis­ter, loaded onto a char­tered plane in Saskatoon and flew to London for the trip of a life­time. The band trav­elled on two buses, play­ing con­certs in sev­eral com­mu­ni­ties. They even marched in a pa­rade, al­though they had to do so in their con­cert-stage blaz­ers. My sis­ter says that the best con­cert the band ever played was in Mr. Gib­son’s home­town of Bar­rowin-Fur­ness. “We knew how im­por­tant it was to him that we per­form well,” she re­calls.

Bob Gib­son con­ducted the PA Li­ons Band pro­gram for ten years, un­til it ended in 1975. He also di­rected the City Band and bands in the school sys­tem. His love of mu­sic ex­tended to his in­volve­ment with many cho­ral groups in the city, in­clud­ing the Prince Al­bert Men’s Cho­rus and the Cap­tones. Gib­son’s many con­tri­bu­tions to mu­sic and ed­u­ca­tion in the city were rec­og­nized in June 2015 when he re­ceived the Prince Al­bert Award of Merit.


Mem­bers of the PA Li­ons Band on tour in Eng­land, 1973. Band­mas­ter Robert L. Gib­son seated in cen­tre of sec­ond row (dark blazer).

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