On the march in Calgary
The Calgary Stampede is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012. What better time for the Queen’s Bands to march in the Stampede Parade for the first time ever?
It was back in 2010 Mike Casey, Law’72, read an article in the Review (Issue 1, 2010, p.33) about the Bands participating in Boston’s 2010 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Knowing that his tenure as President of the Calgary Stampede Board would coincide with the annual event’s 100th anniversary, Mike called fellow Calgary Stampede board of directors’ member Mike O’Connor, Sc’68, PhD’76, to share his idea of having the Queen’s Bands participate in the July 6 Parade.
Enthused and excited by the idea, O’Connor contacted Jim Campbell, Ed’76, manager of Queen’s Western Regional Office in Calgary, to get the ball rolling. “There are a lot of Queen’s alumni in Calgary, and many of them are also big supporters of the Stampede, so putting the two together seemed like a natural fit,” Mike Casey explains.
Casey, O’Connor, Jim Campbell, and several Calgary-based Bands alumni – including Derek Fraser, Artsci’84, David Holden, Sc’84, and Marcia MacLellan, Sc’90 – formed a committee to organize the event, reach out to Calgary alumni, and find billets for 77 Bandsies.
Derek got to work designing a dapper Western-style shirt that features panels of Queen’s tartan, while alumnus and board of trustees member Dr. John Nesbitt, Artsci’79, Meds’83, Com’02, offered to host a post-Stampede Parade brunch on the lawn beside the Alexandra Centre (922-9 Ave SE) for Bandsies, their hosts, and Queen’s alumni.
“It’s been tremendous to see such a great response to such a simple idea,” says Casey. “It shows what a great call Queen’s University has right across the country.”
Although this will be the first time the Bands have taken part in the Stampede parade, it’s certainly not the first time Queen’s alumni have been involved. Alumni have sponsored local groups and marched alongside them in previous parades, and local alumni traditionally meet at the same spot just east of Nathan’s restaurant on the north side of 6th Ave SW on parade morning to catch up, reminisce, and view the parade.
Along with his horse, Bands alumnus Mike O’Connor will be taking part in the 2012 Parade as a member of the Stampede board of directors. Mike has been involved in the parade in various capacities for several years now, and he always gives a wave to the Queen’s spectators as he trots past. This 100th anniversary of “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” will be extra special.
“I’m particularly looking forward to meeting other Stampede volunteers, many of whom will be Queen’s people,” he says. “Queen’s people are enthusiastically vociferous about promoting where they come from, so it’s easy for us to recognize each other and to form a natural bond.”
For Jim Campbell, the Bands participation in the 100th Stampede not only provides an opportunity to celebrate and showcase Queen’s connections and the alumni community in western Canada, it will also help share Queen’s spirit with the world – with both the one million national and international visitors who attend the Stampede in person and the millions more who will watch broadcasts of the event on television or online.
And for the Queen’s Bands members and alumni, their participation in the 2012 Stampede Parade will be a source of close Queen’s connections and special memories that they will continue to enjoy and reflect upon for many years. The committee easily found billets for all 77 visiting students in the homes of local alumni.
“There’s a great camaraderie amongst Bands members, both past and present,” Mike O’Connor says. “I’m still in touch with my own Bands compatriots, many of whom I visit any time I’m over in the east. It’s a very special experience to have shared and to continue to share the Queen’s Bands experience with such wonderful people.”
To take part in the Stampede Brunch ($20 for alumni, free to Bands members), please register at the Queen's Alumni Calendar of Events.