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Oldest band in Thorold returns to stage this summer

The Thorold Reed Band will be playing a concert at Battle of Beaverdams Park every Wednesday in July; 'Every concert will have something for everyone'
The Thorold Reed Band, Canada's longest standing band. Bob Liddycoat / ThoroldToday

After a two-year hiatus the Thorold Reed Band is back to playing Battle of Beaverdams Park this summer.

“It’s slightly different this year because the park has been under construction,” says the band’s director Andrew Carruthers, in an interview with ThoroldToday. “Typically we would already have a couple of concerts underway but our first concert will be on the evening of Wednesday, July 6.”

The Thorold Reed Band, which was established in 1851, is known 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.

Now, they’re finally able to take the stage at Battle of Beaverdams Park once again.

There will be a concert every Wednesday in the park for five weeks, culminating in a sixth one at Knox Presbyterian Church in downtown St. Catharines on August 10.

“The five concerts in the park are going to be entirely different programs, altogether different music every week,” Carruthers says. “The sixth one will be a greatest hits of the season.”

Just like in previous years the concerts will be free of charge.

“We will pass a hat if anybody wants to help us purchase new music for next year, that’s great,” Carruthers says. “Otherwise, if they just want to come and relax and enjoy the music, that’s what it’s all about.”

Carruthers says the great thing about the concert series is that it spans all music genres.

“Every concert I try to put the program together so that anybody of any age will come into the park and hear something that either they know well or appreciate,” he says. “We got Imagine Dragons and we got Owl City, but we’re also doing pop songs from the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, we’re doing marches, songs of faith, anything you can think of, medleys from things like Adele to The Doors. Every concert will have something for everyone.”

Because of COVID, the Thorold Reed Band has had a few stormy years but now the group is counting down the days until the concert series kicks off.

“The musicians are [excited],” Carruthers says. “The look of the group resembles something a little bit different because pre-pandemic we had 50+ members every week. We’re at about 35 members now. We had to request that everybody be up-to-date with vaccinations. We’re blowing air into a room, we want to keep everybody healthy.”

Asked if the musicians are nervous to return to the stage after such a long absence, Carruthers says nothing could be farther from the truth.

“I would say anticipation and anxiety,” he says. “Musicians live to play. They just want to get back at it.”

The concert series will kick off on Wednesday, July 6 at 7.30 p.m. at Battle of Beaverdams Park. The series will run until August 3. On August 10 there will be a final concert at Knox Presbyterian Church in St. Catharines.

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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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