History

"The King’s Own Band was founded in 1874 by Maestro Guiseppe Borg and a number of enthusiasts of the feast of St Dominic in Valletta and immediately established itself as one of the leading band clubs on the island. Initially, the Band was given the title of “La Nazionale” and thereafter “La Nazionale Vincitrice”. In 1885, the Committee requested the permission of Edward, Prince of Wales, to take up his name and the band became known as the “Prince of Wales Own” until 1901, when the Prince was crowned King Edward VII and his Majesty gave the Society his consent to take on the title “The King’s Own Band” a name the band still enjoys till this very day.


Though founded specifically for the feast of St Dominic, its patron saint, the band participates annually in a number of feasts throughout Malta and Gozo. On the eve of Saint Dominic’s feast, during the traditional morning march, the Band is welcomed into the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta and salutes H. E. the President of Malta with the National Anthem, a tradition that dates back over ninety years ago when the Band used to salute the British Governor in front of the Presidential Palace.

 

The Society held its first premises in St Elmo Square – a commemorative plaque inaugurated in 1999 indicates the exact location. As the Club expanded, so did the need to settle into a larger premises and the Society transferred itself to St Dominic street, side by side to the Church of our Lady of Porto Salvo and St Dominic. A plaque adjacent to the premises main entrance inaugurated in 1991 commemorates the 100 years from the title of The King’s Own Band by his Majesty King Edward VII. After a brief stay in lower Republic Street, in the beginning of the 1930’s, the Society acquired its current premises in Republic Street corner with St John’s Street. During the Second World War however, on 30th April 1941, the Club suffered from enemy attack and suffered extensive damage. Many artefacts were lost including the original banner donated by King Edward VII in 1903 during his first official visit to Malta as King. It’s remains have been preserved in a glass globe and is still exhibited in the Society’s main hall. Luckily enough, an even earlier banner dating back to 1885 survived the damage and is still exhibited to the present day. After the War, the Club members themselves reconstructed the whole three floor building aided by Post War funds and the Club was once again inaugurated by H. E. Archbishop Michael Gonzi, Patron of the Society on 18th June 1949.

 

Throughout the years, the Band acquired a number of achievements and participated in various occasions. The Band used to travel abroad to visit the Maltese communities around the Mediterranean, in particular, Reggio, Catania, Acireale, Tunis, Avola, Corfu and Granmichele amongst others. In 1912, the Band participated in an international musical contest in Algiers and was awarded a unanimous “Grade A” from all jury members gaining the title of ‘Eccellenza’, the first band  in Malta to receive such. In 1936, during a concert in St George’s Square Valletta on the 8th of September, the Band, played the Maltese hymn – L-Innu Malti - for the first time in public; this later became the country’s National Anthem. The musical arrangement was composed by its renowned Maestro Vincenzo Ciappara. A plaque commemorating this event can be found in the same square inaugurated in 1986, fifty years after this famous milestone. On 8th May 1945, to celebrate the end of the second World War in Europe, the Band was invited in the official celebrations and played the march “Victory” specifically composed by Maestro Ciappara for this occasion. A few months later, precisely on 15th August 1945, whilst participating in the feast of Santa Marija in Attard, news broke of the surrender of Japan and thus the end of the Second World War. The Band spontaneously played the march Victory leading to joyous celebrations. 

 

 

In recent years, the Band participated during Pope John Paul II visit in 1990 and played a significant part in 2004 as part of the festivities when Malta joined the European Union. During the inauguration of Archbishop Paul Cremona O.P. in January 2007, the Band accompanied Archbishop Cremona from the church of St Dominic to St John Con Cathedral. This year is a special year for Valletta, the European Capital City of Culture and similarly for the Society. The Band has participated in numerous festivities in particular the Valletta 2018 Official Opening Ceremony and the Festa l-Kbira musical concert in St George’s Square whereby the Band executed musical pieces with great technique and professionalism.


Above all, the Band remains one of the most prestigious on the island and enjoys numerous followers and supporters known as “Ta L-Istilla.”

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