Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Band

Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Band. One of Canada's oldest and most famous volunteer militia bands, formed in Toronto in 1862 under the direction of Adam Maul, an Englishman who had served in the imperial army. Its early directors included William Carey 1875-9 and John Bayley 1879-1901. Under Bayley's leadership the band quickly gained international recognition. The young Herbert L. Clarke was a cornet soloist 1886-ca 1891. The 'Rifles' toured Canada from east to west and, as Alfred Zealley remarked, 'charmed their way through most of the United States' (Famous Bands of the British Empire, London 1926). In 1910 the band made a triumphal tour of England under the direction of G.L. Timpson. Captain Richard B. Hayward served as its director 1921-8. In 1922 and 1923 the band won the First Class 'A' band contest at the CNE in Toronto. During that time it also assisted the 2300-voice Canadian National Exhibition Chorus in performances at the Coliseum. In 1928 Hayward was succeeded by Capt James J. Buckle; during World War II Buckle maintained a highly efficient band which performed for numerous parades and in concert. After the war Capt William T. Atkins was appointed director. Serving 1947-68, he organized the band into a first-class musical ensemble which performed often at the Royal Winter Fair and for hockey nights at Maple Leaf Gardens, appeared at many other fairs, and gave park concerts. Directors who followed Atkins were Capt Jack Long 1968-71, Capt John O'Brien 1971-6, Capt George Gresham 1976-84, Capt S.J. Irwin 1984-7 and Lieut D.R. Ringler 1987-90. In 1990 Capt Irwin began a second term as director, serving until 1994. Directors who followed Irwin were WO Charles “Chuck” Benson 1994-95, Capt Rita Arendz 1996-2012 and Sgt Jonas Feldman 2012-14. During the 1980s and early 1990s the band, with an increasing number of women members, was one of the more active in the Toronto Garrison, continuing, among other activities, to perform in parks (though less frequently) and at the CNE and Ontario Place, often playing at mess functions of the regular force staff college and taking part with other bands from time to time in military music extravaganzas.