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Oldest band in Thorold (and Canada!) getting back together

'The Thorold Reed Band is hoping to present a concert with Christmas music in early December,' says the band's director
The Thorold Reed Band, Canada's longest standing band, before the pandemic began. Bob Liddycoat / ThoroldToday

After a year and a half of not playing together, due to Covid-19, Thorold Reed Band is finally getting back together.

Says Andrew Carruthers, the band’s director, “We’ve just gotten back to rehearsing a few weeks ago so we’ve had three Wednesday practices under our belts now. Just like audiences craving to hear music, these people have been craving to play music too.”

The Thorold Reed Band, which was established in 1851, is commonly referred to as the oldest, continuously running band in Canada, but when Covid-19 reared its ugly head the concert band was forced to take a break.

Says Carruthers, “(The band) managed through the Spanish flu, it managed through the world wars, but it couldn’t survive Covid.”

Carruthers explains that continuing rehearsals over Zoom was not a viable option for the band.

“It’s not possible with that number of people. You can’t play with live microphones as a group. Everyone’s got different lag, according to what the distance is to the receiver. To play as an ensemble with that technology is pretty impossible.”

Not having any live music since the pandemic began has been a huge loss for society, according to Carruthers.

“Wether it’s young people going to rock bands, or going out to dance, there’s been no live music. People have been missing this for far too long. I want to bring it back to the people, absolutely, but I don’t want to put any of my players in jeopardy.”

The Thorold Reed Band is currently holding rehearsals with about 35 to 37 band members present, instead of their usual 52 to 54. Carruthers says this is partly because every player in the band has to be double vaccinated to be able to attend rehearsals, and because some band members don’t feel comfortable to gather in larger groups just yet.

Because of the smaller amount of players the band is not able to play the most complex multi-instrumental pieces.

Says Carruthers, “I have to choose carefully what we’re playing. I want to present things that the band themselves are going to proud to play but also things that are going to be nice to listen to.”

Carruthers hopes the band will be able to perform live again by next summer.

“I have to assume that come summer 2022 we’ll be allowed to present outdoor concerts. I have to move forward with that intent in mind. Typically the band presents nine Wednesday evening concerts at the Battle of Beaverdams Park and I have to assume that that concert series will be back up and running for mid-June of 2022.”

But the people of Thorold might not have to wait that long to hear the band play again.

Says Carruthers, “The Thorold Reed Band is hoping to present a concert with Christmas music in early December.”

If you want to watch some of the Thorold Reed Band’s recent rehearsals head on over to Youtube.

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Bernard Lansbergen

About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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