Scout House

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Scouthousecrest.jpg

The Scout House was a Junior Drum Corps based in Preston, Ontario.

History

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Scout House 1961
  • The corps was founded in 1937.


" Scout House, officially the Preston Scout House Bugle Band, Inc., was formed in 1938 as an all-male junior marching and maneuvering corps based in Preston, Ontario. Legendary director Wilfred Blum, the corps’ leader through 1965, created the musical organization with $250 borrowed from a friend, as part of local scout activities. The scouting connection continued through 1953. Their slogan was “In step with youth.”
The corps’ unusual name stems from the group’s headquarters, a former brewery stable they received with the original bequest of $250 in 1938. Corps members over the years transformed the abandoned property into “the beauty spot of the entire area.”
The band's early public appearances involved marching the WRENS of HMCS Conestogo to church service in Galt. By 1947, the Preston Band had become well known outside Ontario and was featured in the Montreal Standard Weekend Magazine. As the groups’ fame spread, it annually received invitations to play at 400-500 events across North America, and averaged 2,500 fan letters a week.
In 1953, Dr. David Ross-Robertson redesigned the band’s music and uniforms. The traditional scout uniform was replaced by crimson shirts and socks, Aussie hats and short black shorts, revealing enough to be considered risque at the time. The corps sported an alternative all-white uniform as well. It was this new design that led to the rupture with the Boy Scouts.
The marching style was remarkable. The corps marched a slow tempo, with a chest-high knee raise alternating with a prance step, accompanied by an exaggerated arm swing. They were even known to skip while playing. Old pictures remind one of a tight line of proud young show ponies.
At the height of their popularity, hundreds turned out just to watch Scout House rehearse, and corps members were local celebrities. Many other corps, especially in Quebec, emulated their style and dress.
An unusual practice was for the corps to march to the sidelines before shows and stand at attention while other corps performed. Members who passed out were simply left stretched out on the ground.
Scout House was a standout corps in Canada for many years, winning the Canadian Nationals 1954-1957 and the Waterloo Band Festival for ten consecutive years.
Scout House also specialized in arena shows of up to two hours, which included marching, playing, singing, dancing, and even bearing torches. Scout House's wooden soldier routine, the swaying to “Hi, Lilly,“ the skipping to "Orpheus," along with their signature exit of “Waltzing Matilda,” always brought the house down.
For their entire history, the corps played Bb bugles.
By the early 1960s the band began to run into difficulties in competitions. Older instruments and their unconventional drill program made it increasingly difficult to compete with drum corps marching in the American style and cadence. Rather than changing their style, the corps became an exhibition unit only.
The band folded in 1967. A number of attempts were made to revive the band, which included both young men and women. Unfortunately, the magic could not be recaptured, although an alumni corps continues to thrive. The corps, and its founder, are members of the Drum Corps Hall of Fame."
corpsreps.com

Traditions

Trivia

See Also

Scout House Alumni

External Links