Soċjeta Mużikali La Stella Levantina A.D. 1984 - Banda Santa Marija - Ħ'Attard
A Short History of the Musical Society “La Stella Levantina Band Club A.D. 1894 – Banda Santa Marija at Ħ'Attard
The band club was founded back in 1894 around the month of September under the name of Casino La Stella Levantina. The band club was the brainchild of Rev. Carmelo Azzopardi, who at the time was in charge of the Christian community in the village. He wanted to unite the people of the village into one group who would work together for the feast of Our Lady. The idea was appreciated by the local folk and a group of six people became the founders of this society. They were Master Carmelo Debono, his brother Joseph Debono, Saviour and his brother Carmelo Borg and brothers Carmelo and John Attard. Master Carmelo Debono was nominated as the first President of this society, who held this position for thirty-three years, that is until he died in 1927. His nomination for President was without hesitation since Master Carmelo Debono was well known as a designer and prime decorator who worked on many feast decorations for both the church and the streets of Attard.
In its early years, the band club was supported by around fifty members whose names are all listed in the treasurers’ registry of the year 1915.
Apart from the Feast of Our Lady, the Band Club took part in other religious feasts like Corpus (the body of Christ) and Sacred Heart, where the committee of the Band Club joined in with the procession walking behind the banner of the Band Club. The committee was also present in the organizational committee when Rev. Balzan was succeeded to the dignity of Monseigneur.
For the celebrations of the 75th anniversary in 1969, the committee felt the need to celebrate in a more glorious manner since the celebration for the 50-year anniversary had to be cancelled since they happened to be during the war. For this purpose, three members were selected to form a special commission who had the task to come up with a plan for these celebrations.
The celebrations started on the 10th of August, where a small reception was held. In the morning, a celebratory mass was held with the singing of the Te Deum (Ambrosian Hymn). Then later in the evening the Honorary President, Dr. George Zammit made a speech for the occasion. In the end, a salutation of small firework bursts was given off.
During the feast of the year 1977,Anthony Camilleri Galea was encouraged to start collecting money from the locals so that next year they could be able to celebrate the morning march. Although it was not an easy task until the procession came to its end, he had already collected a nice sum of money. David Gauci, Martin Zammit, Edgar Borg and Carmelo Grixti joined Anthony
in the collection of 10c from every household for the following year. The year passed swiftly and until it was time for the feast, again this group of five people had collected enough money to organize the march. Thanks to this at nine o clock in the morning of the 15th of August 1978, for the feast of Our Lady, the De Rohan Band of Żebbuġ started playing around the streets of Attard, starting the tradition of the Morning March in Attard.
Having a Band play in the streets for the morning march was already something but this was not enough for David Gauci, Anthony Camilleri Galea, Anthony Borg and Rennie Ciantar. These were the same people who some years later decided to take the responsibility to try to organize the march for the first Tridwu (three days before the feast). After discussing with the committee, they started collecting money and in November 1982, the band St Catherine of Żurrieq accepted to honour this march with their presence. Therefore, on the 11th of August 1983 the St. Catherine band played joyous marches around the streets of Attard. This meant that the Band Club was now opening and closing the celebrations of the feast.
The fact remained thought that bands playing in the streets during the feast were all guests and not of the village, which did not go down very well with the Saraċini (a person living in Attard is called Saraċin). After many difficulties, the committee of the Band Club decided to start the first Band of Attard. Mro. Archibald Mizzi was asked to be the first Musical Director of this band, and he accepted without any hesitation. Following this the committee started working endlessly so that the Band club could start giving lessons, buying the music for the marches and instrument and any other item which was required.
The first rehearsal for the band was held on the 2nd of August 1987 in the Hall, which was inaugurated during the same year on the 9th of August.
On the 11th of August 1987 the now band of the village performed for the first time and since then it took on the full responsibility of the feast. Since that day, the band continued to grow in its numbers and strength, adding marches to the feast thus playing on all days of the feast. The band was also asked to perform in other major feasts. It took part for the first time on the 9th of February for the feast of St. Paul in Valletta and in the feast of Marija Bambina in Naxxar. Along with these, there was the feast of ‘Madonna tal- Grazzja in Żabbar and for various years it performed in Bidnija for the Feast of the Holy Family. The Banda Santa Marija also participated many times Paola for the Feast of the Lady of Lourdes. Apart from feasts, the band performed in special occasions like the opening of the tal-Mirakli Gardens in 1997 and the opening of ‘Misraħ Kola’ Gardens in 1998, on the request of the Ministry of Public Works and Reconstruction.
It is good to note that the Band also various times in the Feast of Madonna tal-Mirakli in the nearby village of Lija. It also took part in the procession with Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve with the M.U.S.E.U.M society in Attard. In the year 1989, Mro. Archibald Mizzi, for reasons of pressure from work had to resign from his post as Musical Director. Instead, his father Mro. Abel Joseph Mizzi was selected as the second Musical Director of the Band.
Mro. Chev. Abel Joseph Mizzi composed numerous marches but in Attard, he is most remembered for the Grand Hymn to Our Lady Assumed in Heaven that he composed on the lyrics written by Rev. Pawl Genovese, a poet from Ħal-Qormi. This Hymn was written for the voices of Tenor, Soprano and Choir. Up until this day, this Grand Hymn is greatly expected by the villagers during the Vocal and Instrumental Concert given by the band on the Eve of the Feast each year.
In 1994, the role of the Band was very active since this was the year that the Band Club was celebrating its first centenary. The peak of the celebrations was on the 15th October 1994 when the band performed in one of the Halls of the Corinthia Palace, a Vocal and Instrumental Concert under the patronage of His Excellency the President of Malta Dr. Ugo Mifsud Bonnici. Also during that year, the third official banner bearing the emblem of the society was inaugurated, which was also blessed during Mass in the Village Church.
In the year 2007 Mro. Joseph Chircop was selected as the successor of Mro. Chev. Abel Joseph Mizzi, after the latter retired for health reasons, thus becoming the third Musical Director of the Banda Santa Marija
On this present day, the band takes part in all marches of the feast, including the Morning March and the Procession in the Evening, accompanying the statue of Santa Maria around the village and welcoming it on exiting the church by playing and old hymn by Mro. Ġiużeppi Busuttil.
It is important to mention that the Society is the only one to have elected a member in its name in the local council of Attard. This Mr.Louis Carabott was elected along with another seven having 538 votes, which was more than the stated quote of 445 votes. Mr. Carabott was the first member of the local council to be ever elected, thus making this a great success for the people in Attard.
In the year 1997 upon the request of some members during the Annual General Meeting, the society changed its name to the official one of today by adding BANDA SANTA MARIJA so that now the band club is officially known as SOĊJETA MUŻIKALI LA STELLA LEVANTINA A.D. 1894, BANDA SANTA MARIJA A.D.1987. The official name of the band became that of Banda Santa Marija so that it bear the full name of our beloved Patron. In addition, the uniform of the band was changed from light blue to blue. It has now become a tradition that the villagers and people from other villages along with tourists visit especially on the Eve of the feast so they can attend to the concert given by the Banda Santa Marija. This concert caters for music from various genres that is always played in the most professional way possible. The marches during the feast continued to increase in their popularity, but are still celebrated in a modest way under the instruction of the Executive Committee.
Since from 2013 La Stella Levantina give her services for the St Joseph feast at Msida. Besides that they will work hard to celebrate the 125 Anniversary with serveral ativities.
Write up by Steven Camilleri PRO
|01||Mro. Archibald Mizzi||1987||1989|
|02||Mro. Chev. Abel Joseph Mizzi||1989||2019|
|03||Mro. Joseph Chircop||2019||2015|
|04||Mro. Ian Mallia||2015|
|No||Name of President||From||Until|
|14||Joseph Attard Flores||1956|
|17||Joseph Attard Flores||1958||1959|
|18||Carmelo Borg Azzopardi||1959||1960|
|27||Carmelo Borg Azzopardi||1984||1991|
Band Activities Overseas
Historical Events in which the Band participated
Song Festivals, Events or Drama Activies
Annual Musical Activities
Recorded releases (LPs, Cassettes and CDs)
|No||Name of Cassettes||Year||Festive Marches||Funeral Marches||Waltzes||Others|
|01||Festive Marches - Marċi Brijużi - Festi Ċentinarji - Banda La Stella Levantina - 1984||1984||*|
|02||Festive Marches - Marċi Brijużi - Eastern Star Band Club (1991)||1991||*|
|03||Ave Maria - Mużika Sagra Marjana Ħ'Attard - 1995||1995||*|
|04||Festive Marches - Marċi Brijużi - Banda La Stella Levantina - 1997 (Vol.4)||1997||*|
|05||Festive Marches - Marċi Brijużi - Soċjeta Mużikali La Stella Levantina - 1999||1999||*|
|06||Millennium 2000 - Programm Vokali u Strumentali - Mill-Banda La Stella Levantina - (2000)||2000||*|
|No||Name of Cd's||Year||Festive Marches||Funeral Marches||Waltzes||Others|
|01||Kunċert Vokali u Orkestrali ta' Muzika Sagra f'għelqu il-Mitt Sena tal-Antifona Hodie Maria Virgo tal-Mibki Carlo Diacono - (2000)||2000||*|
|02||Festive Marches - Soċjeta Mużikali La Stella Levantina A.D. 1984 - Banda Santa Marija - Ħ'Attard - (2001)||2001||*|
|03||Festive Marches - Soċjeta Mużikali La Stella Levantina A.D. 1984 - Banda Santa Marija - Ħ'Attard - (2019)||2019||*|
|No||Name of Video||Name of Year||Others|
|01||Festa Santa Marija Attard (1992)||1992||*|
|No||Name of DVD||Name of Year||Others|
|01||Soċjeta Mużikali La Stella Levantina AD 1894 Banda Santa Marija Ħ'Attard - Tifkira tal-110 Snin mit-Twaqqif Tagħha 1894 - 2004||2004||*|