Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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MUSIC, BANDS, DANCING

In the early years of World War I, Brookdale had a Quadrille Club. Some of the participants who helped were: Ken Fraser, Hilliard Clegg, Charlie Ames and Bill Layng. Dancing was done in the school, station and homes. The Cinderella Club did a magnificent job of sponsoring dances during the difficult time of the great depression. For a few years before W.W.II, just as the Masons had helped with the picnics in summer, the LO.O.F. members sponsored dances during the winter, at which we paid no more than 25<):admission. The musicians: Mrs. Ila Brown, Percy Chudley, Percy Boughton and others, played for next to nothing, while we got a chance to do the Lambeth Walk.

Every district had its musicians who often played for a smile. Others organized to form an orchestra.

Brookdale had the Chisholm Orchestra, and some of the persons playing in this group over the years were: Ralph and his wife, Hazel Chisholm, Mrs. Ila Brown, Cleave and Percy Chudley, Cecil Freeborn, and Albert Robertson. For several years after the Chisholms moved away, Mrs. Brown, Cleave and Percy Chudley kept the orchestra going with help from the Hoffman family and others.

Oberon had Geordie Davidson and Mrs. Bill Freeborn; the Arbuckles with Cliff and Lorne Freeborn; the Udey Orchestra with Marjorie and Harry, and Cecil Freeborn; Bill and Harry Byram; the Muirheads, Sam and Jimmy; and a fish pedlar, Jim McGilvary, who would sometimes play for church.

Gordon district had Mark Chisholm, George Grasby, Harold Whelpton, Lillian Graham, Willis Murray; and a small orchestra with Ken and Isabel (Sutherland) McDougal, and Arnold Graham. In fact at the right time on a good day, if one were passing by the Belton School yard, one would have seen Lizzie (Chisholm) Ames, sitting on the edge of the barn roof with a mouth organ, the rest of the class dancing a quadrille on the same roof! The trustees eventually intervened on behalf of the roof! Ingelow''s musicians were: Ern Ford, Bert Mallory, Charlie Crooke, Percy Barton, Alex Fraser, George Switzer, Wallace Blair, Fred Mitchell, and Cecil Hume. Some of the people who supplied accompaniments were: Jim McKinnon, Mr. Booth, Mrs. Roy Fraser, Russell Watson, Vince Madder, Hazel and Norma Fraser. Other musicians who came to the Ingelow Hall were the Nelsons from Gregg, Doug Chisholm and his orchestra from Harte, and the Chudleys from Brookdale. Before the Harburn School was moved in to become the hall in 1917, dances were held in Woodle a Scho~l.

Through the years, barn dances were held 10 the Oberon district at the Alex White and Archie Byram farms, and at the Shirritt and Harding barns in the Gordon area. A dance was held in the new Kinney barn at Brookdale in 1933, with the music being supplied by the Sandstrom Orchestra of Minnedosa.

After World War II, dances were held regularly at the Stuart Mitchell barn in the Ingelow district.

Three orchestras hired on a regular basis were: Smiling Johnny (from Whitewood, Sask.), Mel Batters (from Neepawa), and Glen Frain (from Winnipeg). Among those to fill the schedule were

 

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