5th (BC) Field Regiment, RCA Band

Band History

The 5th (BC) Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery Band is the oldest military band organization in western Canada. It traces its origins to 1864 as the Band of the Victoria Volunteer Rifle Corps.

Photo courtesy of BC Archives

The Band became associated with the Artillery in 1878 when an Artillery Battery was established in Victoria. It officially became the Band of the Regiment of Garrison Artillery on November 9, 1883, eventually becoming the Band of the 5th (BC) Regiment in 1896. During 1890's the 5th (BC) Regiment band was authorized to wear its distinctive navy blue Royal Marine Artillery pattern uniform and continues to wear that style of uniform today.

The Band has been an integral part of the musical and cultural history of Victoria since its formation, giving public concerts in each year of its existence. The Band has also been involved in the first (and subsequent) opening of the British Columbia Legislature, and has been part of the honour guard for visiting dignitaries as well as performing at military and state functions.

5th Regiment Band at the Bay Street Armouries, Oct 16th, 1916.
Sitting: Haley, Kenwin, B. Kennyon, Willamore, and Art. Ball
1st row: Wittingham, Geo. Brett, A. Auchinvale, D/M Clark, Major Winsby, [unknown],
Bandmaster W. Smith, Wilkinson, [unknown], Vison, [unknown].
2nd row: Chas. Cooper, Greener, [unknown], [unknown], Geo. Green, McGibbon, King, Al Greenwood, Anderson.
3rd row: Ike Kelross, Geo. Ball, Wm. Fairall, A. Hickling, Geo. Green Sr., Billingsley, [unknown], and Andy Haggard."

During the 1920's, a string section was added to the band. This group became very active within the community, and members from the string section later became the nucleus of, what is today, the Victoria Symphony.