Calgary Stampede Centennial

Photo of Fanfarenzug Potsdam

Marching bands played a prominent role in the 100th anniversary celebration of the Calgary Stampede, held July 6 to 15, 2012, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Calgary Stampede highlights the Canadian Old West with rodeos, country music concerts and a variety of other shows.

In addition to the annual Stampede Parade and Showbands Live indoor event, this year Calgary also hosted the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB) World Championships. The combination of events drew a fantastic slate of bands from eight countries (Canada, United States, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Thailand and Taiwan). The international lineup provided a variety of marching and musical styles.

The all-female Helsingør Pigegarde from Denmark paid homage to its homeland with nautical-themed costumes and music. The hometown Calgary Stampede Showband performed a powerful and flashy tribute to Stampede’s history.

One unit that was especially well received was Fanfarenzug Potsdam, a band from Germany that marches with valveless bugles and displays impeccable precision. At the field preliminary, the 62-member band generated cheers when the drill evolved into recognizable shapes such as a music note and a treble clef sign. But when the band gave a nod to the host country by forming Canada’s signature maple leaf symbol, the crowd was whipped into a cheering frenzy.

Potsdam band director Bettina Bels was visibly elated while waiting for the announcement of scores. She agreed that regardless of the outcome, the trip was already worthwhile because of the connection the band made with the audience. “We were overwhelmed by the viewers because they stood up,” Bels says. “I cried because of the great reaction.”

Drum major Robert Fobe adds, “The crowd response was so great! They really helped draw the performance out of us.”

For complete results and to view images of all the bands from Stampede and WAMSB events, visit

About author

Ken Martinson

Ken Martinson is a lifelong advocate of marching bands and is founder of the popular website He has brought a passionate and positive voice to his roles as journalist, instructor, event coordinator, and judge.


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