The Army Band, that can hold its own with any international military band, is also the premier music training institution in the SANDF and has trained numerous musicians from neighbouring African countries. The band’s enduring popularity is due to its wide repertoire and excellence.
History of the Band
The South African Army Band Cape Town is the oldest Regular Force band in the country. It originated in 1915 as the regimental band of the 1st Battalion, The Cape Corps, a famous fighting unit of World War 1. When the Cape Corps was de-activated in 1919 the band continued on a part-time basis as a living memorial. At the outbreak of World War 2 the Cape Corps was re-activated and the band was the first element to return to full-time service.
The Cape Corps was de-activated in 1992 but the band was retained as one of the five regional Army bands and was renamed to SA Army Band Cape Town under the directorship of Major Chris Nicholls. In 2002 Lieutenant Martin Chandler, the youngest qualified Director of Music in the Corps of Musicians, was appointed as the Assistant Director of Music. Major Chris Nicholls retired in 2006 and Major Martin Chandler was appointed as Director of Music.
Since the inception of the Chief of the Army annual Military Band competition in 1996, the SA Army Band Cape Town has won the best Military Concert and Marching Band Awards and is widely regarded as one of the foremost military bands in Africa. In 2000 the SANDF initiated a music-training program at the SA Army Band Cape Town, to assist young recruits of the Military Skills Development System and various African countries such as Namibia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Congo and Botswana in training military musicians. This program was later outsourced to the University of Stellenbosch.
The Army Band Cape Town has performed extensively at various events, including the Grahamstown National Arts Festival and the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival amongst others, The band has also received much acclaim from the Presidents Office for their involvement in the Opening of Parliament and the inauguration of former President Nelson Mandela as the first democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa.
The Band has performed for a myriad of dignitaries and Heads of State, including the Queen of England, former President Bill Clinton, Colonel Muhammar Gadaffi and former Prime Minister Tony Blair to name but a few. The band now has 42 members and enjoys, perhaps more than any other band in Africa, an unsurpassed reputation for versatility and excellence.
Involvement at Schools
The Band also regularly perform at schools in the Western Cape educating and inspiring our youth. The various instruments are demonstrated and a few learners even get the opportunity to conduct the Band! This Band is passionate about our youth. This is evident in their involvement with various holiday programs, presented at the Bandroom at Youngsfield Military Base, during school holidays. Read more at: http://namibsands.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/sa-army-band-cape-town-prepares-the-drill-squad-of-the-western-province-school-marching-drill-and-exhibition-association-for-the-cape-town-military-tattoo-2010/
To contact the Band to perform at YOUR school:
Major Martin Chandler 021 787 1992
WO1 Pieter Jacobs 021 787 1991
Capt Vernon Michels 021 787 1990