Saint Mary's Band is a community based brass/reed band with approximately 50 members. The band was formed in 1903 as a youth outreach program of Saint Mary's Anglican Church. It provided music services to Saint John until 1917 when two thirds of its members enlisted and went overseas as the Band of the 140th Battalion. In England, they became the first brass band of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and were then sent to France. In France the Bandmaster, C.H Williams, was killed and his brother, Harold, was appointed to replace him. Two other members of the Band also lost their lives during World War One.
In 1919 the Band returned to Canada and its members were released in Ottawa. Many returned to Saint John and with a borrowed set of militia instruments, reorganized into Saint Mary's Band once again. By 1924 the Band had earned enough money to purchase new uniforms and instruments. It has provided musical services to the City of Saint John and Southern New Brunswick until this day.
After a cultural transition in the 1970s the Band progressed from an all-male, single denomination organization to admitting new members of both genders and any religion.
In 1988 the Band re-established its ties with the PPCLI Regiment and continues this affiliation by wearing an element of the regimental ensignia on their uniform. In 2000 the Band updated their uniform to the present scarlet jersey with financial support from the Saint John Foundation.
Ages of the members range from mid-teens to late eighties and include a wide range of occupations, ethnic backgrounds and social diversity. During the first half of the twentieth century there were many community and militia bands where wind instrumentalists could play. Today, in Saint John, only the Saint Mary's Community Band and the Third Field Regimend Band, the only military band in New Brunswick, remain.
Traditionally the Band lent instruments from its stores to its members, however due to financial constraints, no new wind instruments have been purchased in recent years and many of the existing instruments are reaching the end of their useful life. There is, however, a good collection of percussion instruments maintained by the Band members. As part of its community music support mandate the Band regularly lends these percussion instruments to other musical organizations, such as the Symphony New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra and various school musical productions.
The studio at 12 Brinley Street, Saint John, which houses these instruments, is wholly owned by the Band and is used as a rehearsal studio not only for Saint Mary's Band but also for various local ensembles including Symphony New Brunswick. Local public school music teachers also use it to host clinics for young musicians. The building was purchased in 1965 and was a Salvation Army Temple before the acquisition.
Saint Mary's Band operates on an annual balanced budget and must rely on revenue generated from its performances, grants from organizations such as the Saint John Foundation, and donations from private individuals to buy uniforms and music, and to repair instruments and maintain the Band studio.
Saint Mary's Band is a charitable organization. Our main focus is public
music performances, promotion of music within the community, and
support the Symphony New Brunswick and School Music Programs.