Klaassen’s military music background

Some aspects of military music are much simpler than civilian tunes

Oceanside Concert Band conductor Gerry     Klaassen spent 17 of his 33 years in the military in the band

Oceanside Concert Band conductor Gerry Klaassen spent 17 of his 33 years in the military in the band

Gerry Klaassen served in Canada’s military for 33 years; 17 as a performer on flute, piccolo and electric bass, the 16 years as a conductor, a training officer, a staff officer and finally as the Supervisor of Music for all Canadian Forces bands.

Today Klaassen will pay his respects to Canada’s war veterans at Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Parksville cenotaph.

He said when he was in the military he performed at many Remembrance Day ceremonies, including on the beaches of Normandy.

He said when he joined the military in 1963 there were people in the band who had been in the second world war and those musicians shared many stories with him.

Klaassen said, sadly many of the First World War veterans he had the opportunity to meet are all gone now.

Klaassen’s son is currently serving in the Navy and is stationed out of Halifax. Three years ago he was deployed to Afghanistan and Klaassen admitted he was concerned for his son’s safety over there.

“He was on the ground in Kandahar for seven months.”

Klaassen said because his son is in the supply trade he can serve in the Army, Navy or Air Force, so that is how he wound up serving in Afghanistan.

As a musician in the Canadian Military, Klaassen said he too travelled a lot and although he went through basic training he was never put into a combat role even though he had weapons training.

He said military musicians are waived from combat duty and his career involved performing musical duties for military functions and providing musical support for all aspects of military life, including ceremonial parades, graduations and ship ceremonies.

“We played for dignitaries at official functions. I played for the Queen,” he stated.

He said he enlisted after Grade 12 because it was a great opportunity to study music.

He said the military had its own music school in Victoria and, “we practiced music for 8 to 10 hours a day.”

He said a music career in the military is attractive because few employers offer steady work and guaranteed pay and benefits to play an instrument

He said marching with a musical instrument in the military isn’t as challenging as the marching you see high school bands doing.

“The choreography in the military is much easier. We go in straight lines and only have to turn left and right.”

He said when he was with the Royal Canadian Regiment Band and the Nadan Band he had many opportunities to perform all over Vancouver Island and said his lengthy music career in the military was rewarding and enjoyable.





Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A couple wants the Regional District of Nanaimo to deal with roaming cats that are causing damage to gardens and killing wildlife. (Submitted Photo)
Roaming cats pose problem for Parksville Qualicum Beach area couple

Residents upset with felines damaging gardens, want RDN to take action

Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association’s popular walking soccer league was one of several sports programs and activities that were cancelled following provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s latest announcement to ban indoor adult team sports. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Parksville Qualicum Beach sports groups frustrated by ban

Provincial health directive discourages indoor sports

371 Alberni Highway, Parksville, where the Quality Foods is currently under construction. In January 2021, 87 new affordable homes will start construction nearby. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Provincial government in support of 87 affordable housing units in Parksville

Construction at Alberni Highway address slated to start in January 2021

The Parksville Community Centre. (PQB News file photo)
City of Parksville offers update on closure of community centre

‘Increasing operating costs and annual subsidies provided by the city have been a concern’

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty ventilators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of paymens for household incomes up to $175,000

KIJHL games have been postponed through Dec. 31. (File photo)
KIJHL postpones all games through end of 2020

Due to provincial health orders, games up to Dec. 31 have been pushed back

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster kids

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

Lake Trail Middle School in Courtenay has closed again due to a threat Friday (Dec 4). File photo
Island middle school closed for the second time in a week due to threat

On Nov. 26, Lake Trail Middle School was closed for a day while a similar incident occurred.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week

Most Read