This picture of our Métis School band was taken against the north wall of Allary School at the Crescent Lake settlement south of Yorkton in 1953. We started to learn to play the instruments and read music the fall of 1951, after an encouraging visit from Premier Tommy Douglas. Our teacher and mentor, John Hirsch would buy a sheet of music for the piano and we would have to copy the notes on blank staff. We played Big Band music, such as “In the Good Old Summertime,” Who’s Sorry Now,” “Side By Side,” “Five Foot Two,” “In The Mood,” “Dark Town Strutters’ Ball,” and many more.
In the Band were: Dorothy Azure on piano, Dorothy Delorme on banjo, Joe Flamont on accordion, Alex Pelletier drums, Lionel McKenzie “B” Flat Tenor Saxophone, Delmar Delorme “E” Flat Alto Saxophone; and I, Wilmar Shingoose played melody on “E” flat Saxophone. Also, in the band were Rose Azure who played piano and banjo, and Philip Langan on drums. In the fall of 1952, Joe and I went harvesting to buy our instruments. All the players in this picture were Métis students of Allary School. At the time of the picture, Joe, Delmar, and Wilmar were sixteen years old. The two Dorothys and Lionel were fifteen and Alex was fourteen. Also joining the band from time to time were two young musicians from neighbouring communities. They were Eddie Beck on the accordion and Henry Napora on banjo. We played for dances and other functions in the area, many, many times being asked to return. The musicians were each paid $4.00 @ night to entertain. This article is in memory of our “Crescent Lake Métis Community,” for all who lived there and sacrificed so much for us to have a better life.
Article written by Wilmar Shingoose, Lethbridge, Alta. Source of Photo: Wilmar Shingoose Fonds. City of Yorkton Archives
Contact Terri Lefebvre Prince, Heritage Researcher,
City of Yorkton Archives, Box 400, 37 Third Avenue North
Yorkton, Sask. S3N 2W3 306-786-1722 herit...@yorkton.ca