by MIKE PODINA and MONICA MARCU
Robson Valley Museum and Archives takes us on a journey through time – the history of music in Robson Valley from the coming of the rail in 1913 to the annual Robson Valley Music Festival – with the new exhibit. On Feb. 17th the McBride Museum and its volunteers officially opened the exhibit with an evening that gave local musicians and instrument makers a chance to delight the attending public.
Why music? Nothing brings a community together better than music; music is with us at all events, to celebrate and mourn, but mostly to instill joy and enliven our lives while making happy moments and events even more memorable.
The evening started with a speech from the chair of Valley Museum and Archives, Marilyn Wheeler, who introduced of the event and its relevance for locals. Most of the musical instruments – ready or in the making, and even aspiring instruments in the form of fine pieces of selected wood – were on loan from people living in the Robson Valley who inherited them from their parents and grandparents.
Here it was, and still functional, an Edison Player (or Phonograph Cylinder) built before the rail even came to McBride; we loved to hear it working just fine after so many years. It transported us back in time, as we enjoyed for a few moments the same music as our grand- and great-grand parents did in the beginning of 19th century.
Forgetting about his sharp pen for a second, Dave Marchant energized us with a song played on his grandfather’s mandolin, while Pete Amyoony took us back in time with an old accordion and his skillful piano playing. We learned that there is high quality wood for musical instruments in Robson Valley from Larry Stamm, who is making guitars (around six per year) and sells his musical instruments, ambassadors of our valley to people all around the world.
Of the multiple musical instruments on display at the museum, let’s name a few: a piano, violin, flute, accordion, kalimba (from South Africa) and mandolins. Accompanying music books and notes are also on display.
Pictures in color or black and white from 1919 or early 1920’ show local sites and people enjoying our beautiful surroundings: a Dore river meeting with people picnicking around a gramophone, a teacher and students playing the violin, Dan Hughes conducting the McBride student band, or the McBride Pioneers Days parade in 2014.
The exhibit is open until April 2nd.