One of the songs on “In the Heart of a Quilt” is called “Boots and Bayonets”. It’s about a quilted banner made by members of the Burlington Teen Tour Band, a marching ensemble that was formed in 1947 and has been going ever since. They have been doing very well internationally and are known throughout marching band circles.
They were asked to perform on the beach in Normandy for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day celebrations. Before they left, the parents and organizers of the band thought of ways to increase the significance of the event to the band members, who are teenagers. Judy Lyons, who is one of Canada’s few qualified quilt appraisers, came up with the idea of a quilted banner. The band members were each sent home with a square of white fabric, which they were to fill with something related to their family or friends about WWII. It turned out to be an impressive quilt, which opened up a great deal of communication between generations.
One evening Judy’s doorbell rang and she opened the door to find an elderly man in an overcoat standing outside. He asked if he could see the quilt, and she invited him inside. As she got the quilt out, he removed his overcoat to reveal his old uniform. He put his cap on his head and handed her his camera.
“Please take my picture in front of the quilt” he requested. He was standing in front of the block that his grandson had made.
This is the story I told in my song “Boots and Bayonets”.
We have just performed in Burlington for the Halton Quilters’ Guild. They had to move their venue on the night we were there, because of a Home Show at the arena. The new venue was the seniors’ centre — right across the street from the Burlington Teen Tour Band headquarters!!!
Judy met us in the afternoon and we had a tour of the facility. There’s a huge room for the rehearsals, a uniform room and various offices. We met the band director, and he was busy setting up a performance for the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Very busy, but he had time to chat for a bit.
That night Judy brought the quilt to the meeting and hung it for everyone to see. She invited several people to accompany her, including one of the quilters who worked on it. It was wonderful to sing the song for them for the first time.
Here’s Judy and me in front of the quilt before the meeting got started.
I am always delighted when we can sing a song about the place we are visiting. In this case, I couldn’t have asked for more – it was a very powerful moment for all of us.