In Ladysmith the hills are alive with music. And a new book, available in mid-April, proves it.
“Early Music in Ladysmith British Columbia 1902–1912” explores the earliest days of music in Ladysmith just as the town was born, fresh from the forest, building its houses, businesses, roads, railroad lines and wharves.
Ladysmith was a thriving music centre, with international performers and theatres, including an opera house. The book by local author, Dr. Brian D. Bornhold, summarizes the creation of a busy city band, with musicians from all over Europe and parts of the U.S., and the development of all kinds of musical groups — from small bands to large choirs, starting in about 1904. These early years saw large numbers of visiting singers and musicians from Norway, Scotland, England, Hungary, Southeastern U.S., California, Colorado and other parts of Canada.
Various national groups, from the Finns to the Welsh, established many of the local musical groups at the time, including great bands and superb choirs, which led to the growth of a truly wonderful international new town with roots deep in music.
Music, before radio and television, was important well beyond the concerts themselves. It brought together a wide variety of new residents from many parts of the world to play in musical groups, talk to one another and help create, from the start, an amazing, solid fresh community.
The author, Dr. Brian Bornhold, was a marine geologist, but also participated in a broad range of music, including playing trombone and occasionally singing as a member of the Dogwood Jazz Band, Bayside Big Band and Bryden Street Dixieland Band in Victoria and Nanaimo. As well, he was a member of choirs in Victoria and France, ending with the famed Linden Singers.
Published by the Ladysmith and District Historical Society and produced by TAKE 5 Publications, the book will sell for $20 and will be available at Salamander Books and through the Ladysmith Archives and Museum. All proceeds go towards the Ladysmith & District Historical Society and their work in preserving and promoting our heritage. For more information call 250-245-0100.