The Regimental Band and Bugles
" No one, not even the Adjutant, can say for certain where the soul of the battalion lives: but the expression of that soul is most often found in the band. "
The Regimental Band
The Regimental Band and Bugles of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada are as old as the Regiment itself, having been formed in Toronto on April 26th 1860 through the Canada Militia Act. The Band & Bugles are the oldest continually serving Militia Band In Canada, although the official appointment of Bandmaster was not made until 1862 and that of Bugle Major not until 1865. At that time all musicians were soldiers and were nicknamed "The Rifles Band". The Queen's Own Rifles were officially allied with The Buffs (The Royal East Kent Regiment) in 1914, and use as their Regimental March "The Buffs", which is attributed to G.F, Handel. The second Regimental March is "The Maple Leaf Forever," which was written by Alexander Muir, a native of Toronto and then serving member of The Queen's Own Rifles.
The Regimental Band's history is very diverse and busy, from performing at a ball given for the Prince of Wales during his visit to Toronto in 1862, through to park concerts, municipal engagements, exhibitions, sporting events, receptions, dinners, graduation ceremonies, parades & tattoos to this current date. With all this, no regimental parade or function has been neglected. The Band has been under the direction of many notable Bandmasters/Directors of Music such as Mr. John Bayley (late H.M. 46th Regiment), Capt, R.B. Hayward (late Royal Irish Rifles), Capt J.J. Buckle (late Queens Royal (West Surrey) Regiment), or Capt. WT. Atkins (graduate of Kneller Hall). Also, world-famous solo cornetist, Herbert Clarke, started in the band in the twelfth chair and worked his way to the solo cornet chair. Composers also appeared the chief among them being W. Fred Wilson.
The Regimental Bugles
The Bugles have the place of honour in a rifle regiment. This comes from the fact that, in action, orders were given to widely scattered scouts and skirmishers by the bugler. In the early days of rifle regiments the band consisted of bugles only, Drums were not used to beat the march pace. The leader of the Band is known as the Bugle-Major and does not carry a mace.
The Bugles' history is as varied, if not more so than The Regimental Band as The Bugle Band consisted of buglers, side drummers, tenor drummers and bass drummers and performed not only calls for movement or drill of troops, but also had music written for them to perform in competitions To make matters more interesting, the buglers were attached throughout the Battalion to serve as gunners, anti-tank sergeants, transport sergeants, etc., especially during World War II.
Today the Gentlemen Buglers hold an esteemed position within The Band and The Regiment. They are a wealth of knowledge tradition and history, as well as being active within the regimental life performing Last Posts, entertaining veterans, performing with The Regimental Band in concerts with combination marches and novelty tunes, and in tattoos and displays.
Development of the Bugle
The term BUGLE comes from the medieval Old French word bugle or bullock. As a modern military instrument, the bugle has its beginning from around the year 1750. The Hanoverian Jagger Battalions first adopted a semicircular copper horn for its calls, to be played by the flugelmeister or the official of the hunt. The English light infantry followed the tradition.
By the 1800's the bugle was taking on the now familiar trumpet shape, but without valves. To have ease in handling, the length of the horn was "wrapped around" once and by 1812, this shape became the official bugle shape. By 1858, the bugle added a second “Wrap" of tubing, and was known as the British Compact Design. Both these two designs (single and double wrap) could only play five to six notes of the natural horn.
Back in 1810 a keyed bugle was invented and patented by Joseph Halliday, the Bandmaster of the Cavan Militia in Dublin. This keyed bugle or Royal Kent Bugle gave all the notes so the instrument could be incorporated into military marches
The form of the bugle most commonly used today in military functions is the double wrap bugle with one valve or the "Bersag" bugle. This instrument is pitched in Bb with the valve adding the notes of the harmonic series pitched in F.
IN PACE PARATUS
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"In Pace Paratus - In Peace Prepared"