St. Patrick’s High School Band

The St. Patrick’s School band made its first official appearance at the inaugural Ceremony of the Christ the King Monument and the annual Christ the King procession in 1931.

The Jesuit Brother Bow and Mr. Minwalla were then in-charge of getting the Cadet Band ready. Mr. Minwalla was the director and the main instructor of the Band which consisted of drums, bugles and flutes.

On June 7th 1937 the Band played at the laying of the Foundation Stone of the Primary School Building by Sir Lancelot Graham, the then Governor of Sindh. During the period between 1936 and 1939 Mr. Harold Nazareth who had taken over from Mr. Minwalla, trained the drummers. The buglers were trained by Mr. Nanavati Metha

In the course of these years the Catholic Boys Brigade was organized by Monsignor Selesius Lemmens, the Administrator of the Karachi Diocese. The Band took on a new form and was named after the Catholic Boys Brigade, popularly known as C.B.B.

With the recruitment of Mr. Harold Nazareth in the Army in 1939, the Band was left without a Director and Instructor. With the help of some of the former band boys, the School Band continued to exist for a couple of years before it finally collapsed.

In 1948, having recently joined the staff, I volunteered with the help and co-operation of Oscar Cabral, Francis Pereira, Xavier Lobo and John Fernandes (just to mention a few of the ex-band boys) to reorganize the School Band and get it ready in record time to  play for the Annual Athletic Meet held on August 29th, 1948.

With the continued effort of these same ex-band boys who willingly trained newer students, the Scout Band made its first appearance on May 12th, 1949 on the occasion if Principal’s Day to honour Fr. Achilles Meersman, the then Principal of the School.

On August 24th, 1953, for the first time in the history of the Band, bagpipes were included and the combined Band of drummers, buglers, flutists and bag pipers was ready to welcome the arrival of Cardinal Valerian Gracias of Bombay, an Old Patrician, on his visit to Karachi, his home town.

In 1956, another historic landmark, Brass an Reed instruments were introduced under the masterly guidance and training of Mr. Rudolf D’Souza, the renowned Band Director and Instructor of The Pakistan Air Force band.

In 1957 I was transferred to Hyderabad. The Band continued its existence and progressed under the able guidance of Fr. Robert D’Silva and the assistance of the experienced Mr. Simon D’Lima, Mr. Francis Pereira and Mr. John Fernandes. The school Band carried on its brilliant performance at various school functions and other local and government functions when called upon.

Mr. John Monteiro, Mr. Paul Pereira and Mr. Alladin were in-charge of the Band between 1971 and 1974 and kept it going till 1982. The band had the distinction of being selected to play at the Pakistan National Jamboree 1976 in Lahore at which Drum-Major Menin Rodrigues presented the ceremonial salute to the then Prime Minister & CMLA, Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. On February 16, 1981, on the occasion of the historic visit of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, the school band was asked to play for the Pontiff as he drove around the packed National Stadium, Karachi.

In 1982, I rejoined St. Patrick’s High School and once again took charge of the Band. With the help of Mr. Alfie Mascarenhas, Mr. Bosco D’Souza, Mr. Clifford D’Souza and some others put new life into the Band and revived it, ready to play for the Annual Athletic Meet on November 27th 1982.

On December 12th, 1985, Bishop Anthony Lobo purchased new brass and reed instruments from Germany. The new instruments were used in 1986 at the Annual Athletic Meet of St. Joseph’s College. Mr. Aslam Mohammad trained the boys for the brass instruments and Mr. Fazal Mohammad Allahyar for the reed instruments.

In 1988, three of our own boys, Anthony Travas, Melvyn Fernandes and Fabian Bob, were able to train new comers. They joined the band in 1982 and by 1988 were ready to become instructors.

In the 1990s, the Band made every effort to continue the great traditions of its former members and mentors, and with the personal interest of Mr. Ambrose Dean, took up the reins to keep its flag flying, Fazal Mohammad Allahyar still trains the boys and ensures that the Band is ready to perform at school and other social functions.

The turn of the century has seen the School Band determined to carry on the onerous task of being one of the proudest marching bands amongst the schools in Karachi. The band boys are eager to do their best and perform their duties with tuneful diligence.

Come March 17 – St. Patick’s Feast Day – and the Band is ever ready to entertain the hundreds of people, current and ex-students who come to Church in search of the school’s greatest traditions its historic BAND!