Laubach, Frank (1857-1923)

Frank Laubach.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-B1047

Franklin Ludwig Laubach was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father was a bandmaster, and at an early age he was put to work copying out band music, since printing was rarely done. At 17, playing in the orchestra of Sir Charles Halle at such fashionable places as Harrogate and Cheltenham, he became acquainted with many notable musicians. Later he played in various English and Scottish orchestras, and was bandmaster of the King's Bodyguard for Scotland. In 1904, Laubach came to Canada to join his son on a homestead, but almost immediately moved his family to Regina and organized the Regina Philharmonic Society that same year. He became choir director at St. Paul's Anglican Pro-Cathedral in 1905, and soon the group earned an enviable reputation. The inaugural concert of the Regina Orchestral Society (forerunner of the Regina Symphony Orchestra) was held in 1908, with Laubach, its founder, as conductor; reserved seats were $1, while general admission was 50ยข.

Laubach was one of the organizers of the first competitive provincial music festival in 1909. In 1911 he became part of the newly established music department at Regina College, where he taught violin and orchestral instruments. Laubach's interest was not restricted to classical works: he also conducted a dance orchestra, and early in World War I a 600-voice children's choir at a fund-raising performance. He composed marches, church music and a light opera, and wrote The Saskatchewan (a march and two-step) to celebrate the province's inauguration in 1905. From 1915 to 1917, he was bandmaster of the 68th battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces playing on troopships crossing the Atlantic. An acknowledged leader of Regina's musical life, he retired in 1922 and died in Vancouver.

Margaret A. Hammond

Further Reading

Pitsula, J.M. 1988. An Act of Faith: The Early Years of Regina College. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center.