Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

[prev] [home] [next]     history pages->  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18



Lion's Rehearsal Band Grows Up

George Lake recounts the genesis of the band...

The band had its modest beginning in November of 1991. From within the ranks of the then Lion's Senior Orchestra, I selected a few retired professionals present including Tim Wilson, Dick "Old Dad" Taylor, Milt Baker, Frank Sklov, Hugh Erskine, Art Rowe, Vince Jones, and Harold Mounteer.

I then went about arranging with the Lions Senior Recreation Centre front office for rehearsal time and space to allow these musicians and myself the opportunity to get together for our "own amazement". What I had in mind was to read proper charts and to play some good music. Art Rowe brought along some of his charts and the music commenced with the 9 of us in the initial sessions. As I had organized the group, I became the original rehearsal director. However within a couple of months as the "word" quickly spread, we gradually expanded to 11, then 12. It didn't take long for me to realize I was out of my element as a rehearsal director. I approached
Hugh Erskine to take over the task. Under his direction, and with better charts, which he was supplying, the band rapidly expanded from 12 to 18 pieces. This was partially due to the fact he had invited a number of musicians from the Edmonton Firefighters Band, of which he was also rehearsal director, to participate in this new group.

It was during this time Howard Guloien, Howard Molstad and Zen Magus became members of the Orchestra, Zen bringing with him his fabulous library. Many months later, a decision was made to form an Orchestra Committee. Eventually this Committee felt it prudent to appoint Zen as our rehearsal director, since by that time he was supplying all of the charts. Also, his tremendous drive and enthusiastic energy for the Orchestra became so evident.





George Lake calls first practice of the "Lion's Rehearsal Band", November, 1991

Bass: George Lake
Guitar: Dick "old dad" Taylor
Piano: Tim Wilson
Tenor: Hugh Erskine
Alto: Harold Mounteer
Trombone: Art Rowe
Alto: Frank Sklove
Trumpet: Gerry Wright
Drums: Frank Smith (photographer - not in photo)


29 FEB 27, 2019:

In the early evening of February 27th, 2019, our dear friend GEORGE LAKE passed away. George was one of the founding members of the Trocadero Alumni Orchestra. His guitar style was 'Freddy Green' all the way, and he continued to play with the Troc from its inception in 1991 to the summer of 2017. He served on the executive of the band for most of its years, and looked after the finances for the band until 2017.

He took a tumble in 2017 that took him out of commission, but he kept a close eye on the band's progress right up until the day he died.

His last words to me were: "you better keep the band running, or I'll come back from the grave and kick your butt!"

He will be deeply missed, and fondly remembered.

George Carmichael. 

29 Nov 5, 2009:
HUGH ERSKINE, a former director/lead trombonist of the Trocadero {Alumni} Orchestra passed away of cancer on the morning of Nov. 5, 2009. Hugh more recently was leader of the Hugh Erskine Big Band, and musical director of the Edmonton Firefighters Big Band. As well as being an excellent trombonist, Hugh was also very competent on tenor and alto sax, plus electric bass.

George Lake. 

29 Mar 2003:
For you old-timers, I thought you'd be interested to know that MILT BAKER died at the coast this past week.  MILT was a trumpet man at the old Trocadero Ballroom orchestras as well as being one of the earlier members of the current band along with John Jackson, Ernie Hooper, Phil McComb (also Zen Magus), in the brass section during that era.  MILT was 83,  suffered from alzheimer in his remaining years. He was regarded as a very pleasant guy as well as a good musician when he was with the band about 9 years ago.

George Lake. 

10 Mar 2003:
Dick "Old Dad" Taylor, fine guitarist, and my friend for the past 50 years passed away peacefully last night of throat cancer. Dick had an extraordinary career in jazz and country circles and played at the old Trocadero Ballroom many times with the King Ganam western swing band. Probably the best rhythm guitarist Edmonton musicians could ever desire. 

George Lake. 

17 Apr 2003:
Well, another of the band "originals" has gone to the BIG gig in the sky.  FRANK SKLOVE, 91 was a local musical legend who had a history in local music going back to the days of vaudeville.  At one time, he was the only white musician in an all black jazz group back in the late twenties.  Frank was one of the original nine, (pictured on our site), whom I picked when I formed the nucleus of our present band.  He played alto and clarinet.  He was also very active on the board of Local 390 AFM for many years until his aged health prevented further service. 

George Lake.

29 Sep 2005:
RICHARD "DICK" CAMPION , (trombonist and string bass) passed away this evening at the Alan Gray Hospital. Richard was well known in music in Edmonton. He lead the Ft. Saskatchewan Band for many years and was trombonist/rehearsal leader for the Trocadero Orchestra around 1995. During the past few years he suffered from Alzheimer's Disease.
"Dick and I did many school workshops for the (former) Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation. Sometime, over beers, Iíll tell you stories that Dick would rather tell you himself, but wonít mind my sharing. Despite all of his tomfoolery, he was a monster musician and very good teacher. He was one of the very first musicians I met when I cam to Alberta in 1967. I remember hearing him play euphonium somewhere and I was thoroughly impressed. I did gigs with him playing bass and rescued him from many a vicious husband. Somewhere heís having a good laugh."

Dennis Rusinak

10 Mar 2006:
SAD NEWS.... "WEE" HAROLD MOUNTEER , 95, has passed away.

Some of you may not be familiar with Harold who was very active on the Edmonton musical scene for 25 years after his arrival here from England. Many old-timers will recall an excellent pianist who knew every tune you could name and was able to get it right in any key. Not only as a pianist, his alto sax was exceptional. Harold was the pianist in the current Troc Band after the passing of Tim Wilson. Before and after that, he played the alto chair in the band and did it all well. Sadly, he had to leave music due to increasing deafness and eventual loss of sight. He and his wife Kathleen endeared themselves to the band....theirs was a VERY long marriage ! Kathleen survives Harold.
Harold was a loveable guy and those of us who were privileged to perform with him will no doubt feel his loss.

George Lake