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Blue Saints find southern charm for Lions International parade

By: Heather Campbell, for

 | May 17, 2014 - 11:35 AM |
The Blue Saints Drum and Bugle Corps are performing in the Lions Club International Parade in Toronto in July. Supplied photo.

The Blue Saints Drum and Bugle Corps are performing in the Lions Club International Parade in Toronto in July. Supplied photo.

City drum corps invited to represent Tennessee at Toronto parade

The Blue Saints Drum and Bugle Corps are over-the-moon excited to have been selected by the Tennessee Lions Club to perform in the 97th Lions Club International Parade in Toronto on July 5.

The convention draws thousands of people from Lions Clubs from around the world for a culturally diverse, mile long, parade of nations weaving through the downtown streets of Toronto.

“We will be representing the state of Tennessee, playing the state song 'Rocky Top Tennessee' while the Tennessee delegates march behind us along the parade route,” said Sheila Ripley, the corps' president. “This is the first time being invited to the Lion’s international parade and is as exciting as performing in the Grey Cup or Calgary Stampede.”

In fact, the band has twice played at the Calgary Stampede, as well as the famous Quebec City winter carnival. They are also very well known across the United States from all their performing and competing. In Canada, they have won 11 national awards and countless provincial awards.

The Blue Saints were formed in 1952 as the Sudbury Mining and Technical School Trumpet Band. In 1954, music teacher George Netzke started to form a drum corp and a few years later they officially became the Blue Saints.

Today, they have between 35 and 40 young people involved between the ages of nine and 21. On average, the young people are 13 to15 years old and dedicate a good chunk of their spare time to perfecting their musicianship.

Ripley says their upcoming season will include travelling approximately 1,500 kilometres across the United States and Canada, which requires about 4,000 liters of diesel fuel and 7,500 meals for band members.

Later this month, they will be competing in the Ontario Drumline competition in Toronto, a precursor to the International Drumline Battle in Indianapolis later this summer.

The corps practises on Wednesday nights at the Montessori School of Sudbury and welcomes new youth willing to work hard and develop their musical and dance talents. No experience is required. Rehearsals start at 6pm for more information call 705 692 JOIN or

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