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Live music rings out from the “bandstand”

For the first time in almost two decades, the Saint Mary’s Band played from the second level of Saint John’s iconic King Edward VII Memorial Bandstand in Kings Square.

The concert, part of a noon time celebration today, was made possible because of two donors –Richard Currie and John Irving. They funded a complete restoration of the bandstand this summer. Saint John Common Council passed a resolution accepting the gift at its April 29, 2013 meeting.

“You’ve done more than renovate a structure,” said Saint John Mayor Mel Norton. “You’ve revitalized an icon of our urban landscape in the heart of the City.”

On behalf of the City, the Mayor donated the original cornet to the New Brunswick Museum, the provincial museum. A new instrument from the same factory as the original has been installed on the bandstand’s restored copper roof.

The bandstand will host Uptown Saint John’s “Summer in the Square” concert series. More information is available here.

About the bandstand
The King’s Square Bandstand was designed in 1908 by Saint John architect F. Neil Brodie (1871- 1926). The bandstand was donated to the City of Saint John by the Saint John Cornet Band.  A brass cornet made by Boosey & Hawkes was placed at the apex of the roof in honour of the band and became a unique architectural feature. The cornet bore witness to many concerts during its lifetime but age took its toll.  The original instrument was presented to the New Brunswick Museum as a reminder of its unique heritage. A replica has taken its place atop the summit. The band dissolved in 1986 after 139 years of activity.

In addition to the uniqueness of the cornet, the bandstand itself is unusual given its construction over a fountain that was installed half a century earlier. Most bandstands are one storey but King’s Square’s has two. It remains the only memorial in Canada dedicated to King Edward VII.

About the renovation
The work included:
•    installing new supports and flooring on the second level;
•    cleaning and restoring the copper roof;
•    installing a granite slab and rolling ladder for access to the second level;
•    painting, sandblasting and cleaning of the structure and fittings;
•    upgrading electrical, lighting and ventilation; and,
•    refurbishing the fountain.
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