Hundreds drawn to BFDB’s Armistice Concert

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTOS</p><p>Captain Wendell Eisener conducts the Bridgewater Fire Department Band in an Armistice concert in honour of the 100th anniversary of the ending of WW1, which coupled as a celebration of the band&#8217;s 150th anniversary.</p>
  • <p>Nova Scotia&#8217;s lieutenant governor, the Honourable Arthur LeBlanc, presents a Sovereign Medal to trombone player Gerry Holmes, who has served with the Bridgewater Fire Department&#8217;s Band for 49 years.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>The Honourable Arthur LeBlanc, Nova Scotia&#8217;s lieutenant governor, was among the dignitaries attending the Armistice Concert.</p>
  • <p>MC and narrator for the event was Honorary Colonel Dan Hennessey.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Wendell Eisener, the Bridgewater Fire Department Band&#8217;s conductor and musical director, chides members of the audience that they weren&#8217;t clapping loudly enough with the beat.</p>
  • <p>Flute player Pat Slauenwhite (in the foreground) has been with the band for 26 years.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Cassandra Oakes sang <em>In Flanders Fields.</em></p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Local author and former band member John Cunningham (front left), who wrote the narrations and helped put the evening together, earned a round of applause from the master of ceremonies, Honourary Colonel Dan Hennessey, members of the band and the audience.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Approximately 200 people, including provincial and local dignitaries, attended the Armistice Concert at the Bridgewater Baptist Church November 4.</p>

It was a celebration of the best of times, and remembrance of the worst of times, that drew about 200 people, including many dignitaries, to the Bridgewater Baptist Church on the evening of November 4.

They were there for the Bridgewater Fire Department Band's (BFDB's ) special Armistice Concert in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, as well as the band's own 150th anniversary.

The band also took the opportunity to recognize the 431 years of service of its most senior members, who were each presented a Sovereign Medal by the Honourable Arthur LeBlanc, Nova Scotia's lieutenant governor, who was there along with his wife, Her Honour Patsy LeBlanc.

Honorary Colonel Dan Hennessey was the master of ceremonies, narrating moving historical accounts of WWI, written by local author John Cunningham, and introducing the musical scores with background to them.

Conductor Captain Wendell Eisener led the band, which dates back to 1868, through 30 musical scores, which included somber pieces such as The Vanished Army, by Kenneth J. Alford, traditional pieces, such as Judge & Williams's It's a Long Way to Tipperary, and more whimsical ones such as Oh How I Hate to Get up in the Morning.

As well as the significance of the two anniversaries and recognizing the long-standing commitment of its senior members, Eisener told LighthouseNOW, the music made the night for him.

"Musical satisfaction through and through," said the conductor.

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