It turns out the Oceanside Concert Band has been performing for a little more than 50 years.
The group recovered some of its history recently when a community member was preparing to get rid of documents on the musical history of the area, said band member Don McConnell.
The group’s new president, Brent Pattison, decided to take what he could and go through the information, and found the group has been performing since roughly 1966.
The living history of the band, however, is Bill Cave, sometimes called Caveman Bill. He’s been a member of the band since ’67, he said.
“It was pretty bad to begin with,” said Cave with a laugh. “It was terrible when I first started.” But the band hasn’t ceased growing in ability since then, he said.
Cave’s music career started at the age of 10 and continues to this day, with many remembering him as a music teacher at Kwalikum Secondary School.
The band isn’t just for the well-known. Cave calls the area and the band “a retirement for musicians,” where those who enjoy playing in a concert-band setting can still pick up their instrument and perform.
McConnell has been with the band for the last six years.
He began playing the alto sax in high school, dropped it, then picked it up again in his 20s to see if he had any chops. “But I soon realized that my calling was probably not in music.”
Twenty years later he decided to see if he could still play and he’s kept at it since.
“When I came over here I thought, ‘Well, I still want to keep playing,’” he said. “Looked around and luckily there was a band here just suited for me.”
The 35-member band is gearing up for its Spring Concert, to take place at Knox United Church in Parksville on April 2 at 2:30 p.m.
Music selections from Bizet, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, Herb Alpert and others will be performed. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students and accompanied children under 12 are free.
Proceeds will support the Parksville and District Music Association to fund groups like the concert band.
Cave, a trumpet player but now playing the euphonium, said he’s fairly proud of the band’s history.
“I think it’s pretty good to be around this long, and it’s probably going to stay around for quite some time because it’s getting better every year.”