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King’s Own Band’s 140th anniversary concert

The King’s Own Band is marking its 140th anniversary today with a concert at the Catholic Institute, Floriana, at 7.30pm.

The band, directed by Mro John Galea, will play works by Sibelius, Strauss, Galea, Caruana and Verdi.

In 1874, the first band to be formed in Valletta was named La Stella. Although from inception the band had a close connection with the feast of St Dominic of Guzman, it always adopted the character of a national band. Its success prompted the band to change its name to La Nazionale Vincitrice, which it used until 1885.

Band achieved numerous successes in Malta and overseas

That year, the Prince of Wales became the patron of the band and gave his permission for it to use the name of His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales’ Band. When, in 1901, the prince succeeded his mother Queen Victoria to the British throne as Edward VII, he agreed to a request made by the band committee to rename the band as The King’s Own Band, the name it still uses today.

On April 22, 1903, King Edward visited Malta and presented the band with a Royal Standard, at the Palace, Valletta. Similar presentations were made by Queen Elizabeth at San Anton Palace on Nov­em­­ber 17, 1967 and at the Medi­terranean Conference Centre in Valletta on May 9, 1992.

The band achieved numerous successes in Malta and overseas, the most prestigious being at the International Band Festival held in Algiers in April 1912, where the band was honoured with the Massima Onorificenza with an Eccellenza Grado A diploma.

Other important events in the band’s history include its participation in the International Eucharistic Congress held in Malta in 1913 and the Great Siege Day held in 1936, when the King’s Own was the first band to play L-Innu Malti, now known as the Maltese national anthem, in St George’s Square, Valletta.

In 1974 the band celebrated its first centenary with concerts at the Manoel Theatre and Queen’s Square, Valletta. In 1990, the band welcomed Pope John Paul II during his first visit to Malta, and in 2012 it commemorated the first centenary of its success in Algiers with various performances.

Complimentary tickets may be obtained from the King’s Own Band Club in Republic Street, Valletta, or from the booking office of the Catholic Institute.

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