Playing Gigs And Hunting Chickens

Two Christmases ago, Mum and I were reminiscing as we rifled through Dad’s extensive library. Deep in one of the back-shelves, I found a little black binder of B.C. postcards postdated from 1908 into World War One. Mum and I figured that these could be mementos from ‘Dad’s’ (Dad’s Dad’s) friends or treasures from a second hand shop.

It was interesting to look at the historic pictures of B.C. Even more interesting were the pencil-written notes on the back. One of the frequent scribes was a traveling musician. What kind of creative life did he lead? Some excerpts:



Glacier, BC
5 pm Thursday
‘Hello M,
We have just arrived here, and sitting on the steps of the hotel, we can see some very high mountains, and a Glacier which I understand is one solid mountain of ice, thousands of feet high. Just after we left Laggan, we all went to dine in the Dining Car, and had a pretty good dinner. We have on the train the Knight Templars, and I understand the President of the C.P.R. is with them. We stay here 2 hours, we are going to have supper in the Baggage car and then play a concert for about 1 hour on the platform. We put our watches back 1 hour near Edmonton and again in B.C. so now we are 2 hours behind you.’


july 30

July 30th
It is now 1, so we dine at the C.P.R. hotel at 2 clock after I am going to have another hot sulphur bath and massage. I think I should feel pretty good then. I am glad to say I have got rid of my cold. I have sent postcards to all the orchestra boys at the Empress.

Did you get the telegram R sent you? He said you would get it in ten minutes. We are getting our breakfast on train then go to hotel or restaurant for dinner or supper. We play here 6 to 8, then G and I are going hunting for some chickens. Love to all..’



May 20, 1908
‘Dear T,
Church commenced Oct 13th. We played the following Sunday the 20th and then we didn’t play again until Dec 1st and played every Sunday during that month. I guess you played on those two Sundays in Oct.
So long,’


granville street

Aug 2, 1913
‘We met Mary coming down the street. I said ‘How do Mrs Read?’ she was surprised. We walked home with her. In about one hour, Harold came home from work. After supper, we went downtown. Sat 10 o’clock rehearsal. Now having dinner at the hotel. Going on  boat excursion this afternoon.
Good Bye


share these between you

‘I hope you have sent me that letter to Vancouver as I am anxious to know how you are getting along and the kiddies. Do they miss Papa as much as you do? I sent a postcard to M but have not yet sent one to C. I might send one tonight before we leave here. Love to all. Share these between you.
Your affectionate husband




Paige Coull


Kate Wood

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton