VIDEO: Watch Swing Band Playing Since 1948

Manitoulin Island, Canada, is the place where my family and I live our homestead lives, and in many ways it’s the land that time forgot. There were no roads leading anywhere near to Manitoulin until the late 1950s. Until then all goods had to be shipped in by boat. Schooling was different than in most places, too. These days there are 50-something people on Manitoulin who attended one-room country schoolhouses as children. Contractors here on the Island were still building with thick, structural stone walls in the old ways until after WWII. And while the world was discovering rock and roll music in the 1950s, Manitoulin Islanders were still dancing to swing music from the 1920s and 30s. Part of the reason for this musical difference is a small group of young men who started playing swing back in the spring of 1948. Remarkably, most of these same men are still playing today, 69 year later. My son, Robert, and I documented the last big public performance of the Manitoulin Swing Band on video. The occasion was the 125th anniversary of Gore Bay, one of a handful of small towns here on Manitoulin. Click below to watch a quick video overview of that historic night with the Manitoulin Swing Band in action.

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