Mr. D – The Life & Times of a Legend

’58 Brussel World’s Fair

The Arthur Delamont Story!


The story of the youth band movement in Canada. The youth band movement in Canada, began in Vancouver in 1933 when Arthur Delamont’s Kitsilano Boy’s Band won the Junior Band Championship of the World at the Chicago World’s Fair.  Besides all the main players, it brings into the picture a host of other characters and musical figures that were around during the day, such as the unsung heroes: the parent organizations which played a crucial role in getting Delamont’s bands off on their amazing two to five month trips, Garfield White who was instrumental in securing the assistance of the CPR both in Canada and abroad for his trips, Lillie Delamont, Arthur’s wife, who accompanied him on all the 1930s and 1950s tours. Both Lillie and Garfield were responsible for leaving a thorough accounting of the boys’ adventures both at home and on tour over the decades. It also tells the story of the group of music educators who in the early 1960s, struggled to get instrumental music into the school curriculum in B.C. It is also my last book to date, on Arthur Delamont and his Vancouver Boys’ Band. 

Competition was keen in building musicianship. The music festivals which were around from the 1930s to the present are mentioned whenever possible. The band was always entering contests at home and abroad and they always took first place due to its members high level of musicianship. British adjudicators showered praise on Delamont’s boys often comparing them to the crack Grenadier Guard’s Band.

I tried to make sure every boy had a voice. Of the over 100 interviews I conducted with old boys, I tried to include at least one anecdote passed down to me by each boy. With some boys, I included several, such as Dal Richards who was a wealth of information as was Kenny Douglas, Gordon Laird and Michael Hadley to mention a few. All were interesting and deserve remembering.

What was it really all about? This book also explores the meta-narrative. Was it just a man with a band who took a bunch of kids on a few trips to England? It was anything but as you will discover as you read page after page of how Arthur took a bunch of ragtag neighbourhood kids and built them into the finest junior band in the land, in five years. Their march through the provincial, national and world band titles is the stuff of legends. And as one adjudicator said in Chicago in 1933 when they beat the Chicago Boys’ Band by 24 1/2 points to win the world band title, “Their win was anything but marginal.”  Arthur knew what he was doing. When one of his boys asked him what was next after their win in Chicago, he said,” Why England of course!”

Comparisons were many. Arthur’s band was often compared to the John Philip Sousa Band and would stand in for them on concert programs while on tour in England. I have explored this comparison in depth and compiled it here for all to see. One interesting comparison is Sousa’s band library and Delamont’s library were the two largest privately held music libraries of their kind in the day.

We have to mention the photos. The band’s best now iconic photos are all included as well as lots of photos never before seen from the private collections of several of the boys, given to me by their relatives who I managed to track down over the years. This book is a photo archive in itself.

What the Greater Vancouver Book is to Vancouver, this book is to the Kits Band. It is chock full of details, facts, names, places; everything about the band that you could ever possibly want to know. It also explores the historic connections the band enjoyed with the RCMP Band, The Ted Heath Orchestra, The Boss Brass and Gordon Delamont. It is the only complete book on the band to date. Each of my other five books only cover a part of the band’s story. It also comes with a CD of the band performing nineteen well-known pieces (its signature repertoire), from 1934 to 1978. It was published in May 2014 and copies are currently available.


“You deserve the Order of Canada for preserving this unique musical history.” – Bill Millerd, Director, Arts Club Theatre


To order this book, please leave a message in the reply box below

Published by: Warfleet Press
Release Date: Available
Pages: 362, $49.95 plus shipping
ISBN13: 978-0-9812574-6-4

8 responses to “Mr. D – The Life & Times of a Legend”

  1. I’ll take a copy, Chris.

    1. Thanks Tom! I will put you down for one. Chris

  2. Hi Chris. Please keep a copy for me – I live in Toronto now so will need to catch up with you in the next few months!
    Dave Calder

  3. Thanks Dave! No problem. maybe I will finally make it back to Toronto. I have lots of people to see including Gordon Delamont’s family. This is the book I am going to take to London and visit BBC and try to interest them in a mini-series. My next adventure! Chris

  4. Lorne Ginther Avatar
    Lorne Ginther

    I bought a couple for myself and my brother Gary Ginther, but I would like you to send one to my friend Roy Griffith who went on the 53 trip. Let me know how much and where I send my cheque. Roy and Lee’s address is 15071 Buena Vista, White Rock BCV4B 1Y1. Lorne Ginther

    1. Hi Lorne
      No problem! Say hi to Roy for me. The book is $49.95 plus $10 for shipping so $59.95. If you do online banking you can send an interac e transfer from $59.95 to my email address Or mail it to: Warfleet Press, 1038 East 63rd Avenue, Vancouver BC V5X 2L1.
      I still haven’t been able to get in touch with Kenny Douglas if you should bump into him.

      Chris Best

  5. Hello,. My father, Gordon Marshall Roberts played in The kitsilano Boys Band possibly in the war years 1942 to 46? He played the Coronet & the trumpet and exuberantly would tell of marching and playing all over Vancouver. He has recently passed away and my mother remembers listening to the records of the band? I was wondering if you have any pictures or records we could see or listen too!

    1. Hi Sheila
      Lots! There is a website on the band and I have given you the link below. I have written six books on the band as well. The coffee table book is called The Life & Times of the Legendary Mr. D and you can see it on the same website. Enjoy! Thanks, Chris Best Historian, VKBB

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