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Protest Music History - Marching Bands in Vancouver for All Ages

Updated on May 21, 2015
Vancouver BC.
Vancouver BC. | Source

Marching Bands for Young and Old - And More of Them!

Travelers and residents have so many reasons to love Canada, and especially the Pacific Northwest with its unique cultures.

Three more reasons are embodied in at least three marching bands for adults in Vancouver BC!

The Carnival Band is a successful marching band and community orchestra based in East Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada.

This band is a group of buskers that also marches in parades for good causes to raise money for charity. The members of this band perform to support public causes such as wellness, peace, and other positive social movements as they follow their musical hobbies.

It's a bit like the Salvation Army Band, but more modern and outspoken. Their activities also recall the Columbus Complaints Choir that we have in my city. Playing for good causes, these folks in Vancouver also seem to be having a grand time of it! -- The Carnival Band even dresses as clowns or to match the theme of an event. This must be a sort of take on Patch Adams.

Another marching band in Vancouver BC is the Vancouver Traveling Band, a group of 20 performers that is looking for new members. It might be fun to join.

The Carnival Band at an annual Honk Fest gathering.
The Carnival Band at an annual Honk Fest gathering. | Source

The Band of the 15th Field Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA)

The Band of the 15th Field Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA)( is a military marching band that may be more familiar as a marching band to most viewers, given their uniforms and precision footwork.

This military group actively recruits new members according to 1) military and 2) band requirements. Several breakout ensembles perform form the group as well. Together, the members perform at 100 venues a year all over the world.

Recruits must be:

  • A Canadian Citizen
  • A least 16 years old with parents' permission
  • In possession of at lest six(6) Grade-10 credits (Approximately 1 semester)
  • Free of any legal obligations
  • Able to prove instrumental skills and fulfill other requirements

Band of the Fifteenth Field Artillery Regiment, RCA

Marching and concert bands take many forms, including groups of buskers or street musicians.
Marching and concert bands take many forms, including groups of buskers or street musicians. | Source
A busker having a good time.
A busker having a good time. | Source

Room for Adults

This is certainly an opportunity for the post-high set to rejoin a marching band or orchestra after being were forced to leave behind the camaraderie of the musicians' groups of school as they progressed to colleges (some without bands) and the real life world of work (even fewer bands there). Some became musicians as a line of work, though; but many more missed their music and their friends.

Drum and Bugle Corps groups have been an option in the USA and Canada for several decades, but membership is usually expensive and age limited to 22 years oldest. Some of the most famous Corps have been Phantom Regiment, the Troopers, and SunCoast Sound, all made more visible by the film about university-based marching groups: Drumline.

People older than 22 need an option for band and orchestra participation, including marching band, and it seems that the idea spreads faster through Western Canada than in the USA. The Carnival Band enjoys being a part of the Activist Street Band Movement in Canada. It is growing in popularity in the United States, however, where people may see and attend HONK! Festivals. The Open Air Orchestra Society, begun by Carnival Band members in Vancouver is promoting the start-up of additional street bands to spread the opportunity to increasing numbers of adults.

  • Secret Souls Walk; Public Dreams - Public Event includes Bands

    Public Dreams for 25 years made magic in Vancouver neighborhoods for the past twenty. Most known for major events called Illuminares and Parade of Lost Souls – events iconic to Vancouver's cultural landscape – Public Dreams facilitated large-scale community gatherings. The two largest events mentioned are in progress of being adopted by other charitable societies at this time. Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret adopted Parade of Lost Souls in 2014.

Cherry Jam, Downtown Vancouver, celebrated by The Carnival Band.
Cherry Jam, Downtown Vancouver, celebrated by The Carnival Band. | Source


The Grandview-Woodlands neighborhood of East Vancouver is in the Commercial Drive area that is part of the Business Improvement Zone or BIZ of the city. This is a lot like an Enterprise Zone (EZ) in the USA, except that in the BIZ, businesses start by paying EXTRA taxes until grant money is found to improve the area. In a federally declared American EZ, tax incentives (discounts, waivers, etc.) are offered first in order to draw businesses into its borders.

At one time, businesses paid an additional tax or fee in order to operate in West Virginia in the US as part of an attempt to reduce economic lack and this seems somewhat similar to the BIZ tax policy. EZs continue to offer tax incentives to businesses, even in EZs that are declared within wealthy suburbs as a way to build economies and create new jobs.

The BIZ, like an EZ, generates increased activities that draw people and festivals to the area. Probably any BIZ area is ripe for activist activities that can improve the life of residents and the workings of businesses in the zone. This is how The Carnival started in 1997. It continues to perform at community events like festivals and parades and is very visible in the community. People want to join and they can - all ages!

The Carnaval Band Facility In Vancouver BC

A markerThe Carnival Band at 1661 Napier Street, Vancouver BC -
1661 Napier St, Vancouver, BC V5L 3X3, Canada
get directions

Meets at the Britannia Community Centre

2010 Winter Olympics - The Carnival Band

International Street Band Festival


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    • Leanna McCarthy profile image

      Leanna McCarthy 5 years ago from Vancouver

      Awesome! Thanks a lot. This is exactly what I was looking for : )

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      BC is a place full of surprises. Vancouver probably has more bands than I know about.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I had no idea. How awesome!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Marlexa - Vancouver and Victoria BC are my favorite spots in British Columbia, so I read about them every day and follow BC news as well. Good for making connections! I was awed by street performers, of which we have very few in my city.

      tammyswallow - That's very interesting. I was 1st trumpet in marching band, but also was given the chance to play French Horn. Trombone I could not manage, though. At one point, our HS administration wanted to do away with the majorettes, let alone let us start a color guard, which would have been awesome. Attending Drum & Bugle corps competitions here as a spectator keeps me connected.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      If you were in the colorguard like I was you can join an independent winter group. It is intense... or drum corps. I have been out.. a long time.. and I still miss it.

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      Patty, I am so impressed with your knowledge of so many interesting things around the world. But, I am truly amazed that you know so much about something that is in my own neighbourhood. Just wanted to say, congratulations on an excellent hub about marching bands in Vancouver!

      I also learn so much from the way you write and put together your hubs. Thank you for the great examples you share!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Thanks! When I graduated high school and from marching band, I found our local university did not admit women to their bands -- until I graduated from there, too! So, my eye is on the lookout for musical opportunities for adults. I heard a dance band, all in their 80s, that was really good a couple years ago.

    • profile image

      rorshak sobchak 5 years ago

      Your Hubs are always so informative and full of great information. Great job.