Spotlight on…Showbands!

Marching band at the parade

By: Reginald Tiangha

Who doesn’t like a good marching band? Many already know of the world-famous Calgary Stampede Showband, but the more the merrier, right? With the equally world-famous Calgary Stampede Parade only one day away, I figured I’d take the time to talk about the bands from in and around the city as well as from around the world that you’ll probably see in various Stampede events this year.

19 different bands will be participating in the festivities this year, many from around Calgary and the surrounding area, and some from as far away as Australia and Taiwan.

These bands will make appearances around Stampede Park, as well as at other official Stampede events happening around town like the official Stampede Caravan breakfasts. On Tuesday, July 7, five of these bands will be competing at Showbands Live! (another event free with admission) at the Saddledome for a share of $20,000 in prize money.

Visiting Bands Competition

Known in previous years as the Visiting Bands Competition, Showbands Live! is a competition that will look at such things as musicality, uniformity, and visual impact as the bands go through their various formations while playing selected sets of music.

The five bands participating in this year’s competition are:

  • Calgary Stetson Show Band – Calgary, AB
  • Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts – Calgary, AB
  • Calgary Round Up Band – Calgary, AB
  • Chien Kuo Marching Band – Taiwan
  • Red Deer Royals Marching Band – Red Deer, AB

with the Calgary Stampede Showband doing exhibition performances as well.

The Visiting Bands Committee is responsible for coordinating the appearances for the various bands visiting Calgary for the Stampede, as well as helping to provide accommodation, meals, and transportation, and they’re the ones who help organize this competition.

Being a born and raised Calgarian urbanite myself, there aren’t very many opportunities here to see many mobile and parade-ready bands in one place, so believe me when I say that it’s worth making a visit to the Stampede grounds to partake in this event. To see these competitions in an excellent venue like the Saddledome is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed as it only comes once a year.

Showbands Live! only occurs on Tuesday, July 7 with shows at 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM so if you wanted to catch the competition, make sure you come visit on Tuesday!