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       musical notes      History of the Revelstoke Community Band

The Community Band has a long history of providing music and entertainment to the citizens of Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada.

The first band on record in Revelstoke was formed in September of 1892. They called themselves the Revelstoke Orchestral Band. In 1896 they also formed the Revelstoke Brass Band and made their first appearance in New Year’s Day 1897, touring hotel bars. The first band master was Patrick Webb. The band performed at a Chinese funeral in 1897, in the middle of a blinding snowstorm. They told the funeral organizers that they didn’t have suitable music to play at a funeral, they were told to simply make noise. It was later commented that “The engagement was performed in accord with specifications and a noise was made”.

 Band in 1911 at Nakusp Fruit Fair,  

 photo courtesy Revelstoke Museum & Archives

Mr R.H. Sawyer took over as bandmaster in 1899 and continued on in that position for some 30 years. They changed the name of the band to Revelstoke City Band in 1901, but when the City of Revelstoke turned down a request for funding for uniforms, they renamed themselves the Revelstoke Independent Band, to show that they fended for themselves.

In July of 1905 the Independent Band performed an open air concert in the Band Stand on Mackenzie Avenue, which at that time was near the Howson block, possibly on the corner of 2nd and Mackenzie Ave. The current band is able to carry on this tradition in the band shell that was built in the late 1980’s as part of the City of Revelstoke’s Downtown Revitalization Project. 

The Independent Band disbanded from 1927-1931, but came to life again in the 1930’s with 22 members.

                                                                                                                       Band at Arrowhead, circa 1900

                                                                                                                       photo courtesy Revelstoke Museum & Archives

In the 1960’s the band was under the direction of Harry Norberg.

Attendance dropped off in 1970 and the band disbanded in 1971.

Band started again in 1982 to play at the BC winter games and has continued ever since.

Currently the Revelstoke Community Band plays under the direction of John Baker. We have 13 dedicated members who meet weekly for band practice. We can still be heard “making noise” in “blinding snowstorms” over the Christmas season for the enjoyment of the community and to raise money for the local Food Bank. We also play at the Canada Day celebrations. It has become our tradition to play “opening night” at the Community Band Shell to kick off the “summer streetfest”.

With well over 100 years of service to the City of Revelstoke, the Community Band plays on.

     Revelstoke Community Band at Christmas                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                            musical notes              

Christmas performance in Band Stand                                                               


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