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Invitations going out to join giant Grey Cup parade band

It's time to dust off the saxophone, get the rust off the trumpet or find the old trombone or clarinet reeds.
Stacy Grunert

It's time to dust off the saxophone, get the rust off the trumpet or find the old trombone or clarinet reeds.

The Saskatchewan Grey Cup Marching Band wants you!

And Stacy Grunert, Kyle Whitehead and Shauna Meek will help you get there along with about 200 other Estevan musicians who will become part of the 1,000-member Grey Cup Marching Band on Nov. 23, the day before the Grey Cup game.

The band will join other Grey Cup parade entries on that day for the grand parade in Regina, which is the host city for this year's fight for Earl Grey's trophy.

"We already have about 200 school band students committed to the project," said Grunert, who is already a member of the Saskatchewan Roughrider Pep Band that entertains before and during Roughrider home games.

"We had that giant band formed up in 2003, the last time Saskatchewan played host to the Grey Cup," she said. Her husband, Colin, since deceased, was one of the instigators of the idea behind forming a giant band for that year's Grey Cup festival. That effort attracted 960 participants who played along or carried flags and became part of the spectacle.

"The band was so long that they ended up turning a corner at one major intersection and ran into one another," she said with a grin.

"This time around, we've learned a lesson. The band will be marching in one straight line from the Legislative grounds down to Dewdney Avenue on Albert Street."

It will only cost each band participant $25 to get involved and they will be expected to wear Rider Green as a band costume. They will be checked out for the matching toques and Rider green at the muster point which will be the Regina Armories. Transportation to the band assembly point near the legislature will be provided.

The Roughrider Pep Band and the Prairie Winds Concert Band are the sponsors of the big parade promotion.

Grunert is happy to be a part of the organizational effort, picking up the duties that her late husband once performed.

The master band director will be Brent Ghiglione, the musical director and director of bands at the University of Regina.

"In 2003, seven provinces were represented in the Grey Cup band. This time around we want just as many, plus over 1,000 musicians and flag bearers in total. So far we have people from Manitoba and Alberta registered, and it doesn't matter if you haven't played for awhile. We're only doing one song, and it's On Roughriders, the traditional team fight song. You get the music to practice once you sign up," said Grunert.

Participants will also get snacks and refreshments as a little breakfast treat, before the parade since they'll be assembling around 6 a.m. for the 9:30 a.m. performance on Nov. 23.

"Youngsters to grandparents, just wear your Rider Nation green and the toque you'll get once you register with us before November 1, and don't worry about your marching abilities," she added.

Regardless of the weather conditions, in fine Saskatchewan tradition, the parade and the show will go on.

"We'll be holding an open rehearsal for all the local participants on Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. to noon at ECS," she said.

If you'd like to play, but perhaps sold or gave away your musical instruments, don't worry, just contact Grunert, Whitehead or Meek and they'll set up a search for you.

For more information, e-mail [email protected]

You can also check out the Facebook page at 2013GreyCupMarchingBand or phone 306-789-7318.

As a final note Grunert noted, "Participating does not get you a ticket to the game the next day, that's already a sell out, but you'll be part of the pre-game fun."