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Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint Mary's Band Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint Mary's Band

Carleton Cornet band 1891

   Saint Mary's Band is a community based brass/reed band with approximately 50 members. The Band provides traditional music for public and private events in Saint John such as concerts in the park, Lieutenant Governor's visits, the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and celebrations such as Canada Day in surrounding communities. The Band annually travels to the United States to represent Canada at 4th of July celebrations at Eastport, Maine.

   Saint Mary's Band was formed in 1903 as a youth outreach program of Saint Mary's Anglican Church. It provided music services to Saint John until 1917 when two thirds of it's members enlisted and went overseas as the Band of the 140th Battalion. In England they became the first brass band of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and were then sent to France. In France the Bandmaster, C. H. Williams was killed and his brother, Harold, was appointed to replace him. Three members of the Band lost their lives during World War One. During the war, the Band was recalled to England to play for the wedding of Princess Patricia.

Saint Mary's Band 1908

   In 1919 the Band returned to Canada and its members were released in Ottawa. Many returned to Saint John and with a borrowed set of militia instruments, reorganised into Saint Mary's Band once again. By 1924 the Band had earned enough money to purchase new uniforms and instruments.

   After the cultural transition of the 1960s the Band progressed from an all-male, single denomination organisation and admitted females and new members from any religion. The first female member to enter the Band continues as a member of Saint Mary's Band management executive to this day. The current Director of Music is Andrea Lewis, a Saint John native who teaches music in School District 6.

   In 1988 the Band re-established its ties with the PPCLI Regiment and continues this affiliation by wearing the regimental tie on ceremonial occasions. In 2000 the Band updated it's uniform to a scarlet jersey with financial support from the Saint John Foundation.

City Cornet 1930

   Primarily focusing on music, the Band also provides a social platform for its members to engage in a common activity. Ages of the members range from mid-teens to late eighties and take in a wide range of occupations and social diversity. During the first half of the twentieth century there were many community and militia bands where wind instrumentalists could play. Today there remains in Saint John only Saint Mary's community band and the 3 Field Regiment Band which is the only military band in New Brunswick. Sadly, this shows a decline in the popularity of concert band music at a time when research has proven the value of instrumental training in our children's intellectual development.

   The Band traditionally lent instruments from its stores to its members; however, due to financial constraints, no new wind instruments have been purchased recently and many of the existing instruments are reaching the end of their useful life. As part of it's community service mandate the Band lends its percussion instruments to other musical organisations such as Symphony New Brunswick, the NB Youth Orchestra and school musical productions. A studio at 12 Brinley Street is owned by the Band and is also used by the public school music teachers to host clinics for young musicians and as a rehearsal studio for various local ensembles. Through fund raising activities the Band also gives financial assistance to student musicians attending events such as National Youth Band.

Saint Mary's Band 2008

   If you would like to learn more about the band be sure to check out their webiste at http://sites.google.com/site/saintmarysband/

Submitted by
Doug Reece Librarian,
Saint Mary's Community Band

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