Canadian Band Association | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Canadian Band Association

Canadian Band Association (CBA) 1984- (Canadian Bandmasters' Association 1931-73, Canadian Band Directors' Association 1973-84).

Canadian Band Association

Canadian Band Association (CBA) 1984- (Canadian Bandmasters' Association 1931-73, Canadian Band Directors' Association 1973-84). Established in September 1931 by 35 bandmasters meeting in Toronto at the CNE, in the culmination of efforts by the first president, Capt John Slatter, who since 1918 had advocated the need for such an organization.

Chartered in 1934, the association had as its purpose 'to improve band conditions and to provide better educational facilities for band leaders.' While it showed some interest in school music programs, its orientation was towards community bands, and in 1937 it was instrumental in getting the Ontario Band Tax Law passed. This law enabled municipalities to vote funds towards the support of community bands. In 1948 the association absorbed the Ontario Amateur Bands Association and assumed administration of the CNE band contests. By 1949 there were 268 members.

In 1955, at the request of Alberta members, the association established a provincial chapter in Alberta. Other regional or provincial chapters were initiated in 1956 in Ontario-Quebec and British Columbia, and in 1957 in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the Maritime provinces. In 1956 a National Council was formed to act as a governing body and to serve as a liaison with other national or international musical organizations and with federal government departments. Specifically, the council was created to administer the CNE band contests (founded in 1921 through the efforts of A.L. Robertson and others and administered 1924-56 by the Ontario Amateur Bands Association - see C.F. Thiele); to serve as co-host, with one of the chapters, of the biennial national convention; to solicit federal government assistance; and to act as a lobby.

During the 1960s interest in the association waned, and several chapters became inactive, although an independent Quebec chapter was created in 1964. However, in the 1970s, with a shift of emphasis from the community bandmaster to the school band director, it was revitalized. In 1973 the CBA changed 'Bandmasters' to 'Band Directors' in its name and increased its activities to include band clinics and workshops, summer band camps, provincial and national band festivals, and the commissioning of original Canadian works (eg, Malcolm Forsyth'sColour Wheel, commissioned in 1978 by the Alberta chapter). Also in 1973, a scholarship was established in memory of Alexander L. Robertson (b Scotland ca 1894, d St Petersburg, Fla, 1967), secretary-treasurer of the CBA for 25 years and editor of its periodicals 1942-67. In 1976 the association created the CBDA (CBA after 1984) National Music Award, presented at its biennial national meetings. The first recipient was Martin Boundy. In 1978 the association brought together an ensemble of young musicians selected by audition from across the country to perform under Boundy as the National Youth Band of Canada.

In 1991 the Canadian Band Association created three new awards: the Distinguished Band Director Award, presented to band directors who have made a significant contribution to the ideals of the CBA (first awarded to Frank Dunnigan); the International Band Award, given in recognition of long-term contribution to the international band movement (first awarded to Dr. Vondis Miller); and the Canadian Composers Award, presented to a Canadian composer who has made a significant contribution to the band repertoire (first awarded to Brian Appleby). The CBA also sponsors a Corporate Award, presented to a corporation that has made a significant contribution with the intent to further the ideals of the CBA.

National Youth Band

Since its inception, the National Youth Band has grown to become one of the most visible aspects of the Canadian Band Association's activities. Auditions are held every year for youth between the ages of 16 and 21 to perform as members of the National Youth Band at various venues throughout the country. The primary focus of the project is to provide opportunities for young band members to work with professional conductors and soloists. Past National Youth Band conductors include Bramwell Tovey, Andre Jutras, James Hargreaves, Stephane Laforest, Bobby Herriot, Gerald King, Glenn D. Price, Gillian Mackay, Tania Miller, Alain Cazes, and Denise Grant. Soloists have included Lenny Solomon, Alain Trudel, John Griffiths, Daniel Doyon, and Marie-Josée Simard.

In 1984 the association changed its name to the Canadian Band Association better to reflect its mandate to represent the interests not only of band directors but also of players, students, administrators, composers, and other individuals interested in bands and band music. The CBAincludes eight Provincial Associations: British Columbia Band Association, Alberta Band Association, Saskatchewan Band Association, Manitoba Band Association, CBA (Ontario), Federation des Harmonies du Quebec, New Brunswick Band Association, and the Nova Scotia Band Association (which includes Prince Edward Island). Each Provincial Association organizes band activities within their geographical regions including: honour ensembles, conferences, workshops, summer camps, adult and community band festivals, solo and ensemble competitions, newsletters, curriculum design, advocacy, commissioning projects, resource libraries, and music publishing. The CBA's 1,700 members are comprised of school, university, community, and military band directors, students, parents, administrators, composers and arrangers.


The CBA published a newsletter 1933-4 and, edited by A.L. Robertson, The Canadian Bandsman 1942-9 and The Canadian Bandmaster 1949-67. The CBDA Journal 1976-84, a quarterly, was superceded by the Canadian Band Journal - both edited by Keith Mann. The CBDA Festival Syllabus published in 1976 has been updated annually, its Canadian content substantially increased beginning in the late 1980s. In 2002 the association launched Canadian Winds, a bi-annual, peer-reviewed journal that examines issues relating to band repertory, pedagogy, professional development, and resources, as well as supplying a forum for reviews of current literature. The CBA has also compiled a standardized repertory list for use in local, provincial, and national music festivals. The provincial chapters also issue newsletters.

Notable Members

Honorary Life members of the Canadian Band Association include: Mike Achytmichuk, E. Von Ayers, Fred Budd, Morley Calvert, Maurice Dunmall, James Ervin, Lloyd Harris, Rt. Hon. Raymond Hnatyshyn, Harry Lomnes, L.A. (Mac) MacDonnell, R. Bruce Marsh, F.M. (Ray) McLeod, Fred G. Moogk, T. Vernon Newlove, Orlan Strom, Fred Turner, Dr. Vondis Miller, and Robert Eklund.

See also Band festivals; Bands; Fédération des harmonies du Québec.

Further Reading