Każin Banda San Ġorg Martri

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A short history of the St George’s Band Club – Qormi.

October 1893, in the midst of religious and political discord between the Church and the Colonial Government, a number of members established within the St George’s Club (established in 1872) a new band bearing the name of Filarmonica San Giorgio.

1894: On Januray 8th, the band, under the direction of Mro. Ġiorġio Zarb and Mro. Ġiuseppe Portelli, presents its first concert. A few weeks later, it participates in the first external festivities in honour of St Sebastian. In the following months the band participated for the first time in the Good Friday procession and the titular feast in honour of St George. The newly formed band had to shoulder the burden related to the organisation the feast.

1895: The band, now under the direction of Mro. Carmelo Abela Farrugia, participates for the first time in the Easter Sunday procession. In April, together with the town’s community welcomes the renovated titular statue. In September, the band travels to Reggio di Calabria to present its first musical program overseas. In the same period the band was heavily involved in the foundation of the Partito Popolare and the elections held that year.

1896: On the occasion of the Otto Settembre feast, the band performs a concert infront of the Law Courts. At the end of the program, the first electrical illumination in Valletta is inaugurated.

1897: In May, led by Mro. Vinċenzo Carabott, once again it crosses over to Sicily to participate in the feast in honour of St Lucy celebrated in Syracuse. Upon its return to Malta, the band participated in the festivities marking the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It participated in the band defile and performed a musical program infront of the Law Courts.

1901: The Band participated in the festivities marking the royal visit of the Duke of York and the coronation of King Edward VII. In the same year the band took an active part in the meetings held at Ta’ Braxia and Ħal-Qormi, in relation to the taxes imposed on the Maltese by the Colonial government.

1907: The organisation experiences a schism, where a number of bandsmen led by the then bandmaster Mro Vincenzo Carabott, form a new band under the name of Unione San Giorgio. A few months later this schismatic band joins the former founder of the Pinto Band club and takes the name of Filarmonica Pinto. Mro. Nicola Montebello, one of the founding bandsmen of the St George’s band is nominated as bandmaster.

1911: The band is once again invited to participate in the festivities marking the coronation of King George V.

1919: A National Assembly is convoked to draft a new constitution for the Maltese islands, with the St George’s Band being the only Qormi band to send representatives.

1921: Mro Nicola Montebello composes a set of waltzes, the first of its kind, to be performed during the Easter procession. During the same year, the remnants of the Filarmonica Pinto (nicknamed taż-Żokk) joined the St George’s Band Club. Mro. [[[Antonio Abela]] is named as the new band director. The band actively participates in the formation of the Camera del Lavoro (now the Partit Laburista).

1925: Mro. Ġiovanni Vella is nominated as the new band Master. Hon. Robert Bencini becomes the new president.

1927: Party political rivalry result in the formation of the Orkestra San Francesco Saverio under the direction of Mro. Rafel Muscat.

1932: Mons. Enrico Dandria, in recognition of the Club’s contribution to the national cause, calls the band La Patriottica.

1934: The band once again participates in the festivities marking the Silver Jubilee of King George V.

1936: Qormi is split into two parishes, with the Pinto Band ending up within the new parish, leaving the St George’s Band as the only band of the Parish. The turmoil caused by the split results in the dissolution of the Orkestra San Francesco Saverio and the Orkestra Indipendenza. The members of these two organisations, within the St George’s Band Club form a new organisation, the Aniċi Dramatic Company.

1937: The band participates in the festivities marking the coronation of King George VI.

War Years: Notwithstanding the prohibition on the celebration of feast, in its effort to raise the morale, during the war years, the band performed a number of band concerts. During this period its premises were requisitioned to house the refugees, whilst an Air Raid Shelter was dug underneath the premises. Amongst the families seeking refuge in this shelter were the families of Bishop Depasquale and Archbishop Cremona. The fall of Bizerta and Victory in Europe were celebrated with band marches along the streets of the town. In 1944 the Club once again was represented in the National Assembly which drafted the post war constitution.

1953: The band actively participated in the 33rd Cinquantinary from the Martyrdom of St George. In the same year it participated in the festivities marking the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

1963: Shortly after being nominated as bandmaster, Mro. Abel J. Mizzi set himself working on the composition of the trilogy of hymns, which till the present day bring to the conclusion the Good Friday procession.

1967: Three young girls join the band to become the first Maltese female musicians to perform with a Maltese band.

1977: Through the intervention of the Club’s president, the dispute between the parish and the fireworks enthusiasts comes to a peaceful conclusion.

1982: The Band participates in the festivities marking the consecration of the new parish church dedicated to St Sebastian.

1983: The band wins the second edition of the Malta Band Festival and earns the title of Banda tar-Repubblika. In the same year, the administration of the club concludes the purchase of the club’s premises.

1993: On the occasion of the first centenary of the Band’s formation, the Band is invited to perform in Toronto, Canada. It is the first time that a Maltese band plays in the New World.

2006: The band, now directed by Mro. Mario Testa, embarks on its fourth overseas visit. On the invitation of the automobile company BMC, it participates in the international car fair held in Birminghan that year.

2010: The band is once again invited by the Comune of Reggio di Calabria to participate in the annual feast in honour of Our Lady of Consolation. Amongst the various musical activities, the band performed a concert in the Church dedicated to St George, in the town’s main thoroughfare.

2009: Hor. Dr. George Abela, a member of the Club is nominated as the 8th President of the Republic.

2014: Hor. Dr. [[Marie Louise Coleiro Preca], an active member of the organisation, is nominated as the 9th President of the Republic. To mark its 120th anniversary from the band’s formation, the organisation publishes a well-researched book outlining its history.

2018: As part of the activities marking the 125th anniversary of the band’s formation, extensive works on the club’s premises are carried out.


Band Masters

No Band Master From Until
01 Mro. Giorgio Zarb / Mro. Giuseppe Portelli 1893 1894
02 Mro. Carmelo Abela Farrugia 1894 1898
03 Mro. Vincenzo Carabott 1898 1906
04 Mro. Nikola Montebello 1907 1921
05 Mro. Antonio Abela 1921 1924
06 Mro. Giovanni Vella 1924 1950
07 Mro. Anton Muscat Azzopardi 1950 1958
08 Mro. Vincenzo Ciappara 1958 1959
09 Mro. Anton Muscat Azzopardi 1959 1963
10 Mro. Abel J. Mizzi 1963 2002
11 Mro. Mario Testa 2002 2007
12 Mro. Archibald Mizzi 2007


No Presidents From Until
01 Giuseppe Farrugia 1893 1895
02 Emanuele Farrugia 1895 1910
03 Epifanio Psaila 1910 1914
04 Anton Stivala 1914 1920
05 Emanuele Mizzi 1920 1923
06 Robert Bencini 1923 1924
07 Fortunato Ellul 1925 1950
08 Dr.Ġorġ Zammit 1950 1972
09 Rev. George Bonello 1972 1976
10 Victor Formosa 1976 1978
11 Ismael Mizzi 1978 1990
12 Dr. John Hayman 1990 1993
13 Victor Formosa 1993 1995
14 Dr. Robert Vella Baldacchino 1995 1996
15 Rev George Bonello 1996 1998
16 Mario Demicoli 1998
17 Joe Caruana 1998 2001
18 Laurence Montebello 2001 2007
19 Charles Micallef 2007



Band Commissions

Band Activities Overseas

Każin Banda San Ġorg Martri - Aboard during Years.

True the years the band got several occasion to went outside the country and performed in serveral places

The first trip going back to 1895 and Reggio di Calabria (Italy):-

Historical Events in which the Band participated

This is a list of several important local avveliments and even on national scale, that the band had the occasion to participate and taken part.

Year Place Occasion
1894 Ħal-Qormi The first feast in honor of St Sebastian
1895 Ħal-Qormi Arrival of the renovated titular statue of St George
1895 Valletta foundation of the Partito Popolare
1896 Floriana Religio et Patria meetings
1896 Valletta inauguration of the electrical street lighting
1897 Valletta Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee
1900 Ħal- Qormi celebrations marking the lifting of the siege of Ladysmith (Boer War South Africa)
1901 Ħal-Qormi Protest against taxation and language question
1901 Tal-Virtu – Inauguration of monument to Christ Redeemer
1901 Marsa – Royal visit by the Duke of York
1902 Valletta Coronation festivities of Edward VII
1903 Valletta Pope Leo XIII’s jubilee festivities
1911 Valletta Coronation festivities of George V
1915 Floriana First anniversary from commencement of World War I
1931 Valletta Concert in honor of Mro Ricardo Zandonai
1935 Valletta George V’s jubilee celebrations
1937 Ħal-Qormi Eucharistic Congress
1937 Valletta Coronation festivities of George VI
1938 Ħal-Qormi Successful resolution of the street decorations issue
1942 Ħal-Qormi George Cross celebrations
1943 Ħal-Qormi Allied victory at Bizerta
1945 Ħal-Qormi Victory in Europe
1946 Ħal-Qormi end of World War II
1953 Valletta Coronation festivities of Elizabeth II
1954 Ħal-Qormi Royal visit by Queen Elizabeth II
1964 Ħal-Qormi Independence Day celebrations
1967 Ħal-Qormi Royal visit by Queen Elizabeth II
1971 Senglea Coronation of Our lady’s statue
1979 Ħal-Qormi Freedom day celebrations
1983 Valletta National Competition for band clubs
1983 Ħal-Qormi Consecration of St Sebastian’s new parish church
1986 Ħal-Qormi Inauguration of new fireworks facory
1989 Floriana Independence Day 25th Anniversary celebrations
1990 Ħal-Qormi Papal visit by St. Pope John Paul II
1992 Ħal-Qormi Inauguration of new Health Centre
2001 Mrieħel Papal visit by St. Pope John Paul II
2007 Ħal-Qormi Inauguration of new Town House
2010 Ħal-Qormi Papal visit by Pope Benedict XVI
2011 Ħal-Qormi Visit by Portuguese knights
2016 Ħal-Qormi Pilgrimage with the statue of St George

Song Festivals, Events or Drama Activies

Annual Concerts

  • Palm Sunday
  • St George's Feast (Viglia)

Annual Musical Activities

  • Palm Sunday (since 1919)
  • Good Friday procession (since 1894)
  • Easter Saturday (since 1984)
  • Easter Sunday procession (since 1895)
  • Liturgical feast (since 1958)
  • St George Feast – Monday (since 1959)
  • St George Feast – Thursday (since 1969)
  • St George Feast – Friday (since 1894)
  • St George Feast – Saturday evening (since 1894)
  • St George feast-day morning (since 1894)
  • St George feast-day evening (since 1982)

Recorded releases (LPs, Cassettes and CDs)

Programmes and Publications


External links