Cranbrook Girls Bugle Band, in search of a new beginning
A beloved legend hangs in the balance as the Cranbrook Girls Bugle Band searches for a new director to replace Miss Pat Ronalds, next fall. Ronalds, after 23 years of service, is turning over a new leaf and ready to pass the baton.
"We've been looking for a replacement for the past five years and still haven't found anyone," Ronalds said of their efforts to keep the legacy going.
Without a replacement, the band, after 78 years of marching into the hearts and minds of Canadians and the globe will have to disband and close its doors. The group has dwindled to eight girls, from its early membership of 60-some girls in the 1950s.
"I would hate to see it go — the band creates an opportunity for members to travel, and it's a great tool for leadership, citizenship, and confidence building. I've really seen the girls come out of their shells and shine," she said.
Ronalds has also taught some of the girls to drive over the years and has enjoyed the process of watching them emerge as leaders after graduating from the program. Miss Pat, as she is known affectionately by everyone is a dedicated leader, one who has spent countless hours taking care of her girls; whether that's sewing costumes until 1 a.m., fundraising, settling bookkeeping, or wrangling youthful energy with a bus full of girls traveling across the country, aided by her chaperones.
"They've gone on to great things—the girls are all over the world, and that's something the band has helped them with."