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Barrie concert band member says so long after 70 seasons


It was the end of an era on Tuesday night as the Barrie Concert Band gathered for their weekly rehearsals, but this time they were playing out their longest-tenured member ever.

For 70 seasons, 94-year-old George Cairns has been behind the band's trumpet. Cairns has a lifelong passion for music and joined the army band before his 7-decade run with Barrie's instrumental leaders.

"I love the sound you can produce on it, and every once in a while, you get a nice high note you can play," Cairns said. "It's a part of my social life. It's just something I do every Tuesday night."

On Tuesday, the man who his colleagues describe as quiet and kind was forced into the spotlight. His fellow bandmates played some of Cairns' favourite tunes and welcomed back some of his friends who had already made the step to say farewell to the band.

"He has been just a pillar. He's always been here," says Angela Vanderstelt, the band's president. "He's always been an incredible community member. He's always been very inspiring and always so happy. We're going to miss that."

Marc Hunter started in the Barrie Concert Band when he was 14 years old and was seated right next to Cairns in those early days.

"George was Mr. Consistency. He never missed," Hunter says. "For him, it was a duty to do like he did in the army. You say you are going to do it; you show up, and you do it."

The band has always been a part of the Hunter family, partly due to Cairns himself. Not only did he play with Marc on his first day back in the 1960s, but Cairns also once played with Marc's father.

"He played lead trumpet with my father for years," Hunter says. "As a matter of fact, he got my father to join the band, and that's how I ended up playing in the band as well, and my wife and daughter still play in the band with us. It's been a family thing."

While formal rehearsals with the band may be ending, Cairns says his passion for music isn't going anywhere.

"Well, I'll still play the trumpet at home, a little bit." Top Stories

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