The story of Arthur Delamont touches many people. It is about
the famous and the not-so-famous. The young and the old. It is
about four generations of boys who became men. It is about
four generations of men who never forgot how to be boys….. It is
a story about a band which never grew old. A band that won
over two hundred trophies and awards during an unprecedented fifty-year history. A band that made fourteen European tours and attended five world fairs. A band that dined with royalty but never lost the common touch.
As one Vancouver columnist wrote: “Woodwinds, Brass
and Glory,” a Vancouver institution, more famous in
Europe than in Canada. When Arthur Delamont died in
1982 at the age of ninety, the band died with him. He had
not groomed a successor. He had not wanted his band
to go on without him.……



Some of the more famous boys from the Kitsilano Boys Band:

Gordon McCullough, Clif Bryson, Roy Johnston, Gordon
Delamont, Dal Richards, Jim McCulloch, Don Radelet
Jimmy Pattison, Ray Smith, Ron Collier, Kenny Douglas
Brian Bolam, Donny Clarke, Bing Thom, Arnie Chycoski
Bob Calder, Bill Millerd, Bill Ingeldew, Bob Buckley, Richard Van
Slyke, Bill Inman, Malcolm Brodie, Marek Norman, Dave Calder,
Tom Walker…

What makes some people successful and others not? There are
lots of theories going around but one thing that successful
people seem to all have in common is that they were usually
inspired at an early age to excel. Call it a role model if you like,
but it is more than that. We can all think of someone who was a
role model in our lives. I believe it has to do with experiencing
success ourselves at an early age which makes us always want
to aspire to that level and beyond throughout our lives.
Such was the case with the fellows you will read about in, The
Red Cape Boys. They all belonged to the Worlds Most Famous
Boys Band at some point during the fifty-year history of the band.
The band was the most successful band of its kind in history,
winning over two hundred championship awards. When they were in the band, they were all between the ages of eight and eighteen. When they left the band they all went on to individual careers in many fields, accounting, teaching, music, the military, government and so on. Five of them received the Order Of Canada. What makes their stories even more remarkable is that they were all inspired by the same man, the conductor of the band.

Read about the life journeys of twenty-seven prominent and
successful Canadians, who went on to have wonderful lives and
very successful careers but never forgot the man who inspired
them all!
Read about  their first encounters with the legendary conductor
and founder of the band, Arthur Delamont,  the trips they went on, other fellows in the band that they knew, their lives after the band, and how the whole experience influenced their lives, some thirty, forty or fifty years after they were known as, the red cape boys……


The ’50s boys from the Vancouver Boys’ Band. They talk about their days in the band and Arthur Delamont’s influence on their lives and on generations of Vancouver’s youth. The lessons they learned while in the band were far more than musical. They had to do with management skills, deportment, discipline, team work, standing on your own two feet, representing others, performance skills, programming and showmanship. They learned what it meant to live a competitive lifestyle and to strive to be in the top one percent. “Do the best you can each day and don’t settle for second best,” he would say! “Nobody remembers the also ran! You either win or you lose!”

Some of the interviews are done posthumously, as one boy reflects on some of the others who have passed away! The interviews offer some insight into what it was like to have been a member of “The Worlds Most Famous Boys Band.” A true Canadian success story!

The stories they tell run the range of emotions from the humorous, to the serious, to scary, to loving, to surprising but always from the heart! The boys went on to become doctors, lawyers, accountants, civil servants, engineers, teachers, scientists, composers and writers and are today, twenty-five years after his death, The Legacy of Arthur Delamont.



A book on several boys who were in the band during the sixties and seventies



When Arthur Delamont died in 1982 at the age of ninety, there was no successor to carry on his beloved Kitsilano Boys Band. As well, the story of the band was soon to be lost to all, as no one had ever recorded all the successes and triumphs the band had achieved during its fifty-year history. Amongst the difficulties in piecing together the story, many of the original boys in the band had passed on, their stories lost to history. Christopher Best investigates the story through those still living and through scrapbooks and archival photos accumulated from Montreal to
Vancouver. As the story unfolds, it looks like a documented history of the band is possible after all but then the question is whether or not the quality of the archival material that survived is good enough to include in a book! Christopher Best manages to piece together the amazing story of the worlds most successful boys band and through the aid of modern technology edit the over 450 photos he accumulated into the only pictorial record of the band in existence today!



The Arthur Delamont Story!

A History of the Youth Band Movement in Canada, Book 1 which began in Vancouver in 1933. It is also my final book on Arthur Delamont and his Vancouver Boys’ Band. It brings into the picture a host of other characters and musical figures that were around during the day. It talks about the unsung heroes: the group of music educators that struggled to get band into the school curriculum in B.C., the parent organizations which played such a crucial role in getting his bands off on their amazing two to five month trips, Garfield White who was instrumental in securing the assistance of the CPR both in Canada and abroad for his trips, Lillie Delamont, Arthur’s wife, who accompanied him on all the 1930s and 1950s tours. Both Lillie and Garfield were responsible for leaving a thorough accounting of the boys’ adventures both at home and on tour over the decades.

The music festivals which were around from the 1930s to the present are mentioned whenever possible. The band was always entering contests at home and abroad and always took first place due to its high level of musicianship. British adjudicators showered praise on his boys often comparing them to the crack Grenadier Guard’s Band.

Of the over one hundred interviews I conducted with old boys, I tried to include at least one anecdote passed down to me by each boy. With some boys, I included several, such as Dal Richards who was a wealth of information as was Kenny Douglas, Gordon Laird and Michael Hadley to mention a few.

The meta-narrative is explored, what was it all about? Was it just a man with a band who took a bunch of kids on a few trips to England? It was anything but as you will discover as you read page after page of how Arthur took a bunch of rag tag neighbourhood kids and built them into the finest junior band in the land. Their march through the provincial, national and world band titles is the stuff of legends. And as one adjudicator said in Chicago in 1933 when they beat the Chicago Boys’ Band by 24 1/2 points to win the world band title, “Their win was anything but marginal.”  Arthur knew what he was doing. When one of his boys ask him what was next after their win in Chicago he said,” Why England of course!”

Arthur’s band was often compared to the John Philip Sousa band and would stand in for them on concert programs while on tour in England. I have explored this comparison in depth and compiled it  here for all to see.

The band’s best photos are all included as well as lots of photos never before seen from the private collections of several of the boys, given to me by their relatives who I managed to track down over the years.

What the Greater Vancouver Book is to Vancouver, this book is to the Kits Band. It is chock full of details, facts, names, places; everything about the band that you could ever possibly want to know. It also explores the historic connections the band had with the RCMP Band, The Ted Heath Orchestra, The Boss Brass and Gordon Delamont. It is the only complete book on the band to date. Each of my other five books only covers a part of the band’s story. It also comes with a CD of the band performing 19 well-known pieces from 1934 to 1978. It was published in May 2014 and copies are currently available.




Twenty-five B.C. Public School Music Educators who were involved in music education during the 1960s through the early 1990s (The Golden Age of Music Education in B.C. Public Schools). Subsequent volumes will include music educators in the millennium.

BACKGROUND: In the sixties, the performing arts were thriving, spurred on by the culture of the day. Live music could be heard everywhere: television, radio, films, parks and in the neighbourhoods (garage bands). Kids wanted to emulate what they were hearing and the schools obliged.

This period was special because it marked the first time that instrumental music became accredited in the public schools. A small group of music educators worked hard to get instrumental music into the curriculum.  A music specialist was hired in each district. Not all had degrees. It was their job to head-hunt others that could develop strong music programs (including instrumental) in the district’s schools. These specialists became District Music Supervisors.

Fred Turner, the Director of the New Westminster Boys & Girls Band, became the first District Music Supervisor for Vancouver to actively hire instrumental music teachers. He hired Ron Pajala to develop an instrumental music program at John Oliver Secondary School. Fred’s son Kerry Turner began developing instrumental music programs in the Burnaby School District. Kerry later became an Arts Supervisor for the Abbotsford S.D. Later, Bob Rankin became the District Music Supervisor for North Vancouver and Curt Jantzen for Surrey. Dennis Tupman took over from Fred Turner and in 1975 hired Pete Stigings for Magee Secondary.

Dave Henderson was head-hunted by the principal of Sutherland Secondary in North Vancouver. Ernie Colledge was hired to develop the music program at Eric Hamber Secondary School in 1962.

The U.B.C. Music Department graduated its first instrumental music student in 1964. Margaret Neill (Behenna) graduated in 1966 and went on to develop an amazing program in Delta. The next wave of students who started U.B.C. Music in the mid-sixties could see the potential ahead. They graduated in the early seventies and included Gerry King, Bob Rebagliati, Rob Karr, Mary Howland (Ellenton) and Marilynn Turner. All would go on to develop or contribute to the development of amazing music programs all over Metro Vancouver. Others who followed a few years later were: Bob LaBonte, Chris Robinson, Tom Koven, Mark Kowalenko, Sandy Koven, Keith Woodward and Dave Fullerton (Keith Mann Award winner).

This new breed of exceptionally dedicated, well educated, enthusiastic and talented music educators didn’t all come from U.B.C. David Proznick was recruited from Saskatchewan. He developed an amazing program at Semiahmoo Secondary in White Rock and became a recipient of the Keith Mann Award, one of only three in B.C. Bob Schaefer came from Oregon and developed a program at New Westminster Secondary. His contributions included founding the New Westminster or Hyak Jazz Festival. Peter van Ooyen came from Michigan.

The Golden Age of Music Education lasted until 1992 when funding and the position of District Music Supervisor were cut by the B.C. government.

Above are only a representative few of the many fine and dedicated music educators who have taught in the school districts of British Columbia over the decades. They have tried to remember others in our interviews and mention them by name when the opportunity arose. Unfortunately, we could never remember everyone.




The Handsworth Secondary School Music Program and its directors over the years: Bob Rebagliati, Keith Woodward, Bob Rankin, Brian G’froerer, Peter van Ooyen and others.

This book is a fundraiser for the Handsworth Secondary School music program available in October 2022. The date and place of the book launch are TBA. It is expected to raise $10,000 for the Handsworth music program. The cost of the book is $49.95. To pre-order please leave an RSVP on our Events page.

The Handsworth music dynasty started in 1976 when Bob Rebagliati came to Handsworth. He inherited a good program from Bob Rankin, Joe Berarducci and Brian G’froerer but when Bob arrived it skyrocketed! The vehicle for his success and the success of his young charges were the jazz ensembles he moulded over the years within the district. A comprehensive, well-balanced, rigorous music program that was high in quality. Before Handsworth, it was Hamilton Junior where he achieved national acclaim by winning the cherished gold medal award at the 1976 Canadian Stage Band Festival, the largest and most prestigious event of its kind in Canada. In 1979, his senior jazz ensemble at Handsworth placed first in the New West Jazz Festival. He was able to hire two more music specialists Mary Hume and Bruce Hoadley. Because of Handsworth’s modular timetable, they could all teach their speciality: Mary/woodwinds, Bruce/brass and Bob/percussion.

Other awards followed: at the Coquitlam Music Festival, the New West Jazz Festival, the West Coast Jazz Festival and again at the Canadian Stage Band Festival. In between Bob found time to become President of the North Van Music Teachers Association and President of the B.C. Jazz Educators Association as well as a clinician and adjudicator for jazz festivals throughout the province. With three specialist music educators and Bob Rankin, a former Handsworth music educator as Music Superintendent for North Van, they were able to offer a complete music program from elementary through secondary as well as have an orchestral program led by Roger Wecker and later Peter van Ooyen.

By 1991, over thirty of Reb’s charges had gone on to careers or further education in music, even to Julliard in New York. An organizational whiz who put in twelve-hour days his program attracted one-third of the school’s population. His bands were consistently in the top three in BC at various music festivals and they won the cherished first place gold at the Canadian Nationals several times. He took his charges to the Yukon, Nova Scotia, New Orleans, Hawaii, Florida and Banff, usually to a festival. In 1991 Bob was the only secondary school teacher to ever receive the Professional Music Educator’s Award.

Due to budget cuts when Mary and Bruce moved on Bob could only hire one person to replace them. Keith Woodward was hired to take over both their loads.  In 1992, when huge budget cuts were announced and all the Music Supervisor positions in the province were cut they lost Bob Rankin.

For the next fifteen years, Keith and Bob team-taught and continued to build Handsworth into the jazziest school in Canada cementing its reputation in 1999 with four gold medals at MusicFest Canada. Bob retired in 2004 after twenty-eight years as a top-flight music educator. Keith wasn’t allowed to replace him but instead had to take over his load as well which he did for another ten years before retiring in 2014. Keith says in his bio in Hearts, Minds & Souls, B.C. Music Educators, volume 1, “I organized 51 band trips, 116 field trips and over 1000 performances.” During his time at the helm, Keith took his charges to China, Australia, Europe and Alaska. Today the program is run by David Bradshaw.

Handsworth is just one example of the many fine music programs that existed in BC during the Golden Age of Public School Music Education (the 1960s to 1990s). Such programs were possible because the government placed a high value on the arts, unlike today. Arthur Delamont said in his later years, “You are going to miss me when I am gone!” and he was sure right. We also miss the great public school music programs that existed around the province such as this one.

Book I, The School Music Book Project

Legends Series

-putting a face on B.C.s historic arts programs



* The above book is pending regarding available material.


showboatcover ShowboatCover

The story of Bea Leinbach and her Kitsilano Showboat.

The Kitsilano Showboat just keeps rolling along! Now in its 83rd
year, this book, compiled for the 75th anniversary of the Showboat, looks at:
* The origins of the Showboat in 1935
* The lady who single handily was responsible for the success
of the Kitsilano Showboat over the years, Bea Leinbach or Captain
Bea as she is known to all
* The many performers who over the years went on to star status
and to become celebrities
* Supporters of the Showboat over the years, the executive and
volunteers who without their help Showboat would never have
been possible
* The 100s of dance and musical theatre groups who provided the
acts over the years
* The 1000s of entertainers who became better citizens and lived
happier more fulfilled lives because they each had their moment of stardom on the stage of the Kitsilano Showboat.
Everyone remembers seeing Showboat at some time in their youth if they lived in Vancouver. Families would stroll down to Kits beach and lay a blanket on the lawn or sit on the bleachers. It was all free and still is, no one gets paid, the performers, the staff, the executive, only the audience. The audience gets paid in spades
with a beautiful evening under the stars watching the acts unfold
on stage and the activities around them, in the water, the pool and
on the beach. The motto of the Showboat has been since it began, “amateur entertainment for three months during the summertime in the most beautiful setting in the world.”
A place where kids can come and perform in front of a real live audience on a real stage. No matter what stage in their lives they eventually, wind up on, they all remember fondly the first stage they were ever on, the Kitsilano Showboat with Captain Bea.

Since the 1940s, Bea Leinbach has been the organizing guru
behind many civic and municipal organizations in Vancouver and
Kitsilano. Whenever entertainers were needed people called on
Captain Bea. In the early days when Bert Emery thought up the
idea for a Mississippi Showboat moored on the beach at Kitsilano,
he also developed a Kiddies parade which was held at the
beginning of each summer. Then there was the venerable Miss
Kitsilano Contest which was held for decades. Bea Leinbach
started another institution akin to the Showboat called the Kitsilano Community Concert Party. Made up of around twelve to fifteen entertainers from each past Showboat season, they performed at institutions around town, seniors homes, hospitals, during the rest of the year for people who were unable to get out to see the Showboat….. all these activities including the Showboat were designed to increase civic spirit and bring the communities closer together and they sure did!

Over the years Captain Bea received many awards,
from the Kitsilano Best Citizenship Award to a National Citizenship Award, to a much-coveted YWCA Women of Distinction Award all the way up to the Order of Canada.
We hope you enjoy the story of Bea Leinbach’s Outdoor School of
the Performing Arts, ‘ The Kitsilano Showboat.’




JOGGING THE CARIBBEAN – (Travel Digest) In 2001, I booked several hotels on ten Caribbean islands. I wanted to publish a magazine on the Caribbean. I departed just after the twin towers terrorist attack. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. No one was travelling and hotels were eager to promote themselves to help bring back tourists. I travelled to Anguilla, St Martin/Sint Maarten, St Barths, Martinique, St Lucia, Grenada, Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire. I often flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico and stayed there between bookings as it is the hub used to travel to all destinations in the islands. My trip lasted a year and I spent a month on each island. My one magazine became two as there was much more to see and do in Aruba than I had anticipated. There were many adventures along the way, including an automobile accident.



JOGGING PORTUGAL, SPAIN AND A VISIT TO ROMANIA – (Travel Digest) In 1999, I took a trip to Portugal, Spain and Romania to develop several magazine ideas. The trip begins in Lisbon and then I explore the Estoril Coast before heading south to The Algarve. From the Algarve, I travelled to Seville and from there south to Marbella. The plan was to spend a week in each location but I often stayed longer until my work was finished. Marbella is the jet set capital of the Costa del Sol. I then caught a bus to Malaga the capital of Andalucia. From Malaga, I flew to Madrid and then on to my last destination, Bucharest, Romania. I spent a month in Bucharest and also travelled north to Transylvania and the Prahova Valley. When it was time to leave Romania I flew back to Madrid on Tarom Romania’s national airline. After a few days in Madrid, I caught the midnight train to Lisbon. My many adventures along the way form part of the narrative.
%d bloggers like this: