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    Malta band clubs and band marches (CMigrator copy 1)

    Malta band clubs and band marches is a post from the Malta holidays guide GuideToMalta.net

    Band clubs in Malta are part and parcel of the social and cultural history of the Maltese islands and have, along the years, established themselves as an institution in the core of every town and village, aimed at spreading Maltese culture and teaching of music. Many musicians who have gone on to make a name for themselves, locally or abroad, owe their success, in part, to the encouragement and teaching of the local band club.

    The idea of forming philharmonic societies or band clubs was already brewing in the minds of a few dilettantes back in the second part of the 19th century. Small bands were formed by individuals – most of whom could not afford to buy a musical instrument of their own. Businessmen dug deep into their pockets to help those individuals who possessed the talent to learn how to play an instrument. Thus the first band clubs were formed and the primary aim was that the musicians would perform in their village feast.

    The number of clubs flourished and a sense of professionalism prevailed. After turbulent and then conciliatory circumstances, the Band Clubs Association was formed. This year the Association is celebrating its 60th anniversary, endorsing a membership of 84 band clubs across the island. According to the latest survey by the local National Statistics Office, the total number of bandsmen/women (bandisti) amount to over 4000, both residents and trainees, more than a quarter of whom are women.

    Every town and village in Malta and Gozo has its own band club, some even have two, as there are certain villages which celebrate two feasts – one dedicated to the patron saint and the other celebrating the so called ‘secondary’ feast of another saint. In the past, unfortunately, an intense rivalry developed when a village had more than one club and this rivalry at times became violent as each struggled to better the other when it came to celebration of their saint. Nowadays, however, this competitiveness is channeled in a more positive way, with rival band clubs leaving no stone unturned as they strive to decorate the façade of the club’s premises in the most colourful and vivid way, launch new musical numbers, and create the most merry-making atmosphere possible. Marching in rows of six, wearing uniforms and proudly showing off the badge of their club, a band is normally composed of between 60 and 70 bands- men/women playing a variety of instruments.

    The premises of most of the clubs are attractions in themselves, places to show off musical memorabilia as well as souvenirs of major achievements over the years. They offer a meeting place for members and a teaching place where young musicians are encouraged to join their colleagues in the next village festa festivities. Musical programmes along the main streets of the village herald a week of festivities and celebrations and, in most instances, end with the popular “mar ta’ filghodu” – the morning march. Feasts are practically held every Sunday between June and September and in many cases more than one is celebrated during the weekends.

    If you happen to be flying in, go to one of the village feats, mingle with the locals and enjoy the merrymaking provided by the band marches. Don’t forget to taste the traditional Maltese nougat from one of the many stalls!

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