Marching to the beat: Show bands get in the groove at Calgary Stampede

Newly christened Enbridge Plaza will be a ‘connection hub’ for Stampede’s Youth Campus

Precision and panache. Form and fluidity.

There’s more music in the air than ever during the 2019 edition of the Calgary Stampede. That’s because, for the fourth time in history, the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB) is holding its global championship at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

And many of this year’s performances—from bands hailing as far away as Taiwan, Poland, Mexico, Germany and Nigeria—have been staged on the newly christened Enbridge Plaza, the latest addition to the Stampede’s Youth Campus.

“Marching show bands are very much like an opera, where there are different scenes that they’re trying to create with different intensities of music. They’re trying to tell a story through their performance on the field,” Stampede spokesperson Sheldon Wilton tells the Calgary Herald.

“A German band, for example, is more drill-based, almost military—they stick to lines in their movement, with a lot of precision—whereas North American bands have more flow or fluidity to their lines.”

With Calgary represented by the likes of the Calgary Stampede Showband, the Calgary Round Up Band, Calgary Stetson Show Band, bands were put through their paces with a drumline battle, parade competition and field show preliminaries, leading up to Monday’s final round.

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Enbridge is committed to improving quality of life in the communities where we operate, and our $1.25-million donation has helped to create the Enbridge Plaza, a new community space at the Stampede that’s designed to play host to world-class events and festivals.

“Enbridge Plaza will be the connection hub for all of Youth Campus’ facilities and programs furthering our commitment to supporting youth achievement,” says Dana Peers, President and Chairman of the Board of the Calgary Stampede. “The generous donation by Enbridge allows the Calgary Stampede’s Youth Campus to continue to be a gathering place for our community.”

The new Enbridge Plaza will be in use all year round, supporting Youth Campus programs and acting as a permanent rehearsal space for the Calgary Stampede Showband and other local marching bands. With associated infrastructure and amenities, the Enbridge Plaza can also play host to festivals and outdoor community gatherings.

“We value the role that the Calgary Stampede plays in building a thriving, creative, family-friendly Calgary,” says Bob Rooney, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Enbridge. “We are making this investment in Calgary to help build a community that offers a great opportunity for young Calgarians to be enriched by cultural experiences, and opportunities to learn, grow and lead.”

The 10-acre, indoor-outdoor Youth Campus helps nurture strong community roots through education and the performing arts.

It’s home to the Calgary Stampede Foundation’s youth programs, including the Young Canadians School of the Performing Arts and the Calgary Stampede Showband—hosting more than 500 users daily at facilities like the BMO Amphitheatre, Doherty Hall, TransAlta Performing Arts Studios and Calgary Arts Academy.

(TOP PHOTO: The Calgary Stampede Showband, shown in action here at the Stampede, will use the newly christened Enbridge Plaza as a permanent rehearsal place. Photo credit, Chris Bolin.)