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Deep History on Display at Bands 150


  • By Cory Crossman


ShArE


Deep History on Display at Bands 150

As Canada turns 150 we’ve celebrated our past and look toward our future. A wide variety of activities and programming has taken place across the country and throughout the Forest City. When London’s deep musical history collides with Canada’s 150th celebration great thing happen. Enter, Bands 150 which takes place Saturday & Sunday in Victoria Park. 

London has a magical history of producing world class big band musicians such as Guy Lombardo (sold nearly 300 million records) and the Niosi Brothers (Bert, Joseph and Johnnie). Bands 150 is London’s newest music festival and it’s dedicated to showcasing what a great Music City London is while highlighting local artists past and present. 

In this article London Music Office connects with Ted Medzon, Chair of Bands 150 Committee seen above.

LMO: Bands 150 is a massive festival. What was your goal coming into this event?

B150: We’re trying to illustrate how much talent there is locally. We have a diverse collection of artists that perform in both private and public settings. This was an opportunity to bring those artists all together.

LMO: How did Bands 150 come to be?

The idea started back in 2016 when we were thinking about the Sesquicentennial (150th celebration) events of 2017. I play in three (3) bands and know how many others who play in big bands. I started talking with friends saying why don’t we do something for the Sesquicentennial. We’re always helping one another promote each other’s events. Why don’t we get together and work on an outdoor even in Victoria Park. It started with twelve (12) bands and now we have into fourteen (14).

LMO: Bands 150 can mean so many different things. Why did you choose the name ‘Bands 150’?

We did it that way to indicate that this event was focused on the Sesquicentennial. The 150 logo is included in the artwork and reflects the 150 celebrations. We have also incorporated the band shell image from Victoria Park into the artwork.

LMO: London has a rich history of music, a major portion coming from the ‘Big Band’ era. How was that factored into the decision to present ‘bands 150’?

B150: Many of us are old timers in our 70’s and 80’s. Quite a few of the band members are also teachers and we wanted to connect with the past. We remember what happened and how many great bands were in town years ago. These people were a part of the history whether they played in the Police Boys Band or another group. Looking at the Jack Richardson London Music Hall of Fame there are the Lombardo brothers and The Niosi Brothers who had incredible success in radio with such programs as The Happy Gang.

LMO: The coordination of an event with groups this large must be extremely difficult. What are the challenges to presenting a festival with multiple groups of this size over multiple days?

B150: The issue was deciding how to manage the venue but we needed to first get City Hall to agree. Then we needed to sort out financing. We had help from the London Arts Council and the London Community Foundation. We also needed to collaborate with a not-for-profit and United Way was happy to do it! We also needed backing from music the music industry such as  Long and McQuade who are providing drums, keyboardand amps, and professional management for the days of the festival. We were fortunate to hire Savannah Sewell as to manage the event and to engage the sound crew. The Committee wasn’t able to manage things days of the event.

LMO: This is a new event, what can attendees expect to see?

B150: The important thing is first that it’s free. Second, all the musicians are donating their time. The third thing is you’ll hear a variety of music - Jazz, Swing, Dixieland, brass bands and concert bands. Wide variety! The full schedule is listed online (http://www.londonbigbands.ca/Canada150.html)

LMO: At this point, are you looking at plans for next year? Can fans anticipate seeing this on their calendars in 2018?

B150: I’m involved in many things both personal and public. I’m very busy right now so I can’t even think about next year. We’re going to see how it goes and if it’s successful we’ll make a decision then.  

Festival Details:

All Ages?:                    Yes
Licensed Event?:        No

This supports United Way of London 

Website:                     www.londonbigbands.ca/Canada150.html​

Local Acts:                    14
Total Performers:      300
Volunteers:                  25

Employees:                   3

   



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