March On! ...the history of the
Toronto Optimists Drum & Bugle Corps
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Boy Scout Band
Back in 1952, before there was even a hint of The Optimists, there was the 18th Toronto Boy Scout Troop, founded by Mr. Bud Parker. The scouts met in a church at the corner of Dovercourt Road and Davenport Road in Toronto. The scout troop had a band and that band eventually became the Toronto Optimists. But that happened later.
A lot happened in 1955. Firstly, the Scout Band moved to the church next door and it became the band for the 157th Boy Scout Troop. No one seems to remember exactly why this happened; however, some people think that it was tied into going to a Boy Scout Jamboree and the new church needed a band.
By 1955 the scouts were getting older and would very soon have to leave the scouting activity. At this time Mr. Al Baggs, who worked with the Boy Scouts as the District Commissioner in charge of Badges, stepped in. He saw the potential of the band and decided to find a way to keep the band together.
Davenport Trumpet Band
After the Scout Jamboree the boys had to leave scouting. At that point the band became the Davenport Trumpet Band with Bud Parker as the head and Al Baggs as Business Manager. As Business Manager he took it upon himself to find a sponsor for the band. Mr. Baggs approached a number of groups, including the Downtown Toronto Optimists Club, but all refused. His second meeting with the Optimists Club was successful and they agreed to sponsor the band. (Rumour has it that Mr. Baggs asked for $300 and promised that the rest of the money would come from performances.)
There is a video on YouTube showing footage from the 1955 Waterloo Band Festival which, in addition to other groups, includes footage of the Davenport Trumpet Band (whenever I could I've identified the individual bands in the video). The music used as a backdrop is the Davenport Trumpet Band. If you listen closely you will hear the announcer say that the band is looking for a sponsor.