More than 4,700 kilometres away, members of the Kamloops Rube Band were treated like rock stars.
But unlike some of the overseas and international endeavours the band has undertaken throughout its 70-year history, this one remained on Canadian soil.
Of the band’s 30- to 35-member roster of musicians, 21 made the trip to Newfoundland and Labrador to help celebrate the province’s 70th year since joining Canada.
The main event of the shared birthday bash was to mark Family Fun Day in St. John’s, playing a show in Bannerman Park on June 22. The group also played a show at City Hall, at St. John’s International Airport, at the city’s tourism office and at a brewery.
Terry Phillips, the Rube Band’s personnel director, said the group also presented a letter from Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian to St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen and received a commemorative plaque from Breen.
“Music is just amazing there and they just opened their arms and welcomed us,” Phillips said. “Any time a city truck passed us when we were playing, we’d get the honk-honk.”
The group also visited Cape Spear, the easternmost point of North America, and marked the occasion by playing a mariachi tune.
“I call it Cape Fear because the wind was blowing, I swear, so strong,” Phillips said.
“I will never complain about the wind in Kamloops again. I had to help the saxophone player up on that rock and hang on to him and try to play my clarinet so the wind didn’t blow him off into the sea.”
The Kamloops Rube Band will mark its 70th year with a Music in the Park performance on Aug. 18.