History of the Military Band
Sixty years of History (1957-2017)
The military war band of the Gimnasio Moderno is sixty years old. It was the product of a vision that its creators had at the beginning of the year 1957, when we suggested to Teacher Bein the possibility of using the instruments that already existed at that time, and which included some drums, trumpets, a pair of cymbals, two pairs of triangles and one bass drum.
These instruments were part of many others that in the year 1940 served a music band in which the Teacher played the clarinet, and which lasted many more years with students who were part of it as others got graduated from high school.
I remember, in the year 1948/49, a couple of performances of it in the theater on the second floor of the main building, where we met every Monday to listen to Mister Agustín’s opening words for the week.
This music band was dissolved around 1950, but its memory is very vague for me. What I do remember is that on the 29th of June 1948, with the people who celebrated the first communion, back then and for many more years with a ceremony in the church of Cristo Rey, gathered around the rock of the racket, next to the flagpole, the high school students entered it parading to the martial tone of a band not properly military, led by one of the trumpet players of the musical group, who served as drum major, but without the staff. The photo below shows this band, taken from a movie of that time which was shot by dad (a bit blurred because of the age of the movie, but absolutely historical).
In the year of 1956, quite some time later, entering one of the “secret” rooms of the main building with some curious fifth-grade companions, we found all the musical instruments of the original 1940 band: clarinets, horns, one trombone, one tuba, two horns, three trumpets and I don’t know what else. We encouraged the Teacher and the result was the formation of a music band, where I usde to play the trumpet.
Two teachers came, one for the wooden isntruments and the other for the brass instruments, and we started one rehearsal to compose a piece where all the instruments would fit.
Two or three months later, the Teacher made an exam, and concluded that it was the band that produced the best noise in its entire history. Of course that was the end of the group
But the restlessness continued, and that was how at the beginning of the year 1957 (I was in sixth grade), with Luis Eduardo Laverde and Jaime Granja who were in fifth grade at the time, we again insisted to the Teacher that we had to form a band, but now it would be a military band !!!!
As a more important argument we had that, in addition to the school deserving a military band, every 20th of July, we marched from the Plaza de Bolívar to the round point of Puente Aranda, and, as we did not have a band, the compass had to be set listening to the other people marching. This caused that those who were at the head of the school to have the pace of the band that was in the front, and those behind marked the pace with the one that preceded us. There was always a bit of a mess.
The arguments were enough, and the first military band was formed, with the major drum led by Luis Eduardo Laverde, and the other members as follows: Drums and bass drum: Guillermo Camacho, Carlos Casabianca, Ismael Blanco, Armando Bonilla and Ricardo Martinez; cornets: Eliseo Lopez, German Guerrero, the undersigned, Juan Manuel Tamayo, Jaime Granja and Jorge Marin; triangles: Camilo Arciniegas and German Duarte; and, Cymbals: Alvaro Restrepo.
The first march rehearsal for the parade of the 20th of July 1957, was made with the high school walking to the sound of two drums we played with Ismael Blanco, standing in the middle of the meadow, so that everyone could hear how it would sound our pace. It is worth pointing out that we did not have a teacher and we played by ear.
The official parade was triumphant; We were really pleased to be able to mark our own pace, and the enthusiasm reached the point that, as a band, and after marching for several hours, we finally decided to go one more time to the round point Puente Aranda. But those who were marching behind us did not want it that way, and, while we played drums, cornets and cymbals marching around the bridge, the others left, dissolving later. My first and last trumpet demonstration in public, we did it while being abandoned by our own followers. A story to tell.
Today, the band makes me proud, not because it is numerous, wins awards and plays really well, which is also a pride, but because it is the result of an idea that we carry out with passion and joint effort, and which shows that to achieve things, you just need a strong desire.
ALBERTO CARRIZOSA ALAJMO
Bogotá, May 30 2017
This post is also available in: Spanish