|Kirkland Lake Brass Band
7 Kirkland Street, Kirkland Lake, Ontario
Jim Perry Founder & Conductor (1969 - 2007)
It all started with playing the piano, and a bent little finger. It's a waste of time, he was told and switched over to cornet. Soon after, Jim joined the "Carrickfergus Silver Band" in Ireland, where he discovered his love for the euphonium.With that band Jim won the 1952 & 1953 "Championship of Ireland" and was awarded the
"Charles Rollins Memorial Cup".
In 1957 Jim was transplanted to Kirkland Lake, where he had the opportunity to help with his Uncle's moving business. He joined the concert band right away, but felt the need for a brass band, rooted in the British Brass Band tradition. Against all odds, he set out to develop his own band.
Luck was on his side when he was able to buy some well-used instruments from the defunct Rouyn/Noranda symphony orchestra for $400. A rent-free rehearsal place was offered at King George Public School's Gym, and the training of players was done with great vigor and enthusiasm. There was one drawback - it was very cold in the gym and the school library was offered.
Ever since those early days, he has served the band and the community tirelessly with enormous success. He is held in high regard for his solo performances on the euphonium & valve trombone. It is an open secret that Jim has for "several generations" brought young players to a very high level of performance. Instead of enjoying this exhuberant state for a while he has to hand them over to Colleges and Universities, turn around and "start from scratch". The "generation time" dwindles, since schooling will be cut by one year in 2003.
Jim has kept the band alive, even though the operation has always been by the seat of the pants, relying on "kindness of strangers", and service clubs. Jim's rapport with people made it possible, and he managed! Instruments are also in steady need of repairs, and his skills made that a manageable endeavor, using tap washers & o-rings from a hardware store to fix valves (his own words!) or silver duct tape to seal a leak in a trombone. Jim's continued drive keeps kids coming,thriving under his demanding leadership, and in return delivering vibrant, entertaining performances. A real pride is the prestigious award at the Can-Pro festival.
Jim Perry's ability lead to our trips to Ottawa, playing in front of the Peace Tower and at a Tulip Festival performing for Princess Marguarite of Holland.For this special occasion the Kirkland Lake Brass Band commissioned a piece by Gordon Langford "Songs Of The Netherland".
For ten years Jim was Assistant to Linda Henry, in the Music Program, at the Englehart Highschool. His Senior Concert Band participated 1994 in a TV show and was presented with an award for outstanding contribution. In 1997, a certificate of Excellence from the Ontario Secondary School Teacher's Federation was obtained. In 1998, gold was won the NOB Festival(Northern Ontario Band Festival). It was repeated in 1999 and with that a place at the Toronto Music Fest Canada. Under JIm's direction the Englehart High School band won a gold shield award in the CAN-PRO Festival On Feb. 2nd, 2002 Jim Perry was honored by receiving the CJKL Lifetime Achievment Award. The music festival in April 2002 showered Jim with compliments from the adjudicator, who could barely believe that young players could have such quality in tone & maturity in sound. He knew that only a dedicated teacher could reach that goal.
Since the revitilisation of the Kiwanis Music Festival Jim received more accolades then ever before, and he kept on passing his knowledge to a younger generation. The outcome was stunning, when in 2004 all his students won gold! What a present for the bands 35th anniversary! It might be hard to believe, but 2006 presented another "golden" Music Festival. You guessed it, every individual KLBB student, the duet, trio & quartet were all recognized with a gold award. This of course would not have happened without Jim. The commendations didn't end here. To all our surprise, Jim was presented with the Kiwanis Club's "Robert McChesney Award", during the spring concert at St. Peter's on the Rock church. The award was bestowed on him for "special contribution to the education and enjoyment of music in our community". The presentation was made by Beverly McChesney-Rumble, Robert's daughter, who elaborated that Jim was extremely deserving of this honour
Jim enjoyed presenting "his kids" which resulted in a tour to different schools hoping to inspire others. The cornets played the "Last Post" with the band helping with the ceremonies at the cenotaph (Remembrance Day November 11, 2006). Our annual carol and lesson service was held again this Christmas at the Anglican Church. Jim's last time conducting "his band". He passed away on January 15, 2007.
A scholarship fund will be set up in his name to honour Mr. Jim Perry's achievements.
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