Banda Santa Katarina V.M.

St. Catherine Musical Society was founded in 1864 by parish priest Fr. Vincenzo Schembri with the objective of promoting culture in the village of Zurrieq through the learning of music. The first bandmaster was Mro. Luigi Carabott, who formed an orchestra composed of 24 musicians with the aim of participating in the annual popular feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria. After 148 years of its foundation St. Catherine Musical Society still treasures its original objectives, which have been strengthened by the Society’s commitment to participate in the most popular feasts organized locally and also to participate in international events.

After some years of its foundation the orchestra was transformed into a band and was named “La Filarmonica di Zurrieq. During the two world wars, due to the constant migration of the villagers as a result of lack of work opportunities and massive unemployment, the band changed itself into an orchestra keeping its musical activities and appointments uninterrupted. Mro. Espedito Deguara made history when in 1944 he once again transformed the orchestra into a band as we know it today. Mro. Deguara remained at the helm of the band for 42 years until 1986 when Mro. Francis Falzon was appointed bandmaster, a position that he held until he passed away in 2008. In 2008, Mro. Mario Testa took over the direction of the St. Catherine Band until his resignation in August 2012.
In December 2012 Mro. Josef Grech was appointed as Bandmaster and he is still at its helm today assisted by the Assistant Bandmaster Alan Schembri. The Band has made a remarkable progress in the last years and today comprises 75 musicians who all give their service voluntarily on a part time basis. St. Catherine Musical Society boasts a well organized and successful school of music where lessons are delivered free of charge. Presently over 40 students attend music lessons at the club every week. The Society also provides all musical instruments while the musicians reciprocate by giving all their services free of charge.

Since its foundation St. Catherine Musical Society has been extremely successful in promoting music around the Maltese Islands and has become a legend in the musical field. The Band has on several occasions participated in local concerts organized at the Manoel Theatre situated in the capital city Valletta. In recent years the Band has also gained international repute after having participated in six musical events held in Noto, Acireale and Catania in Sicily, Monopoli and Bari in the region of Puglia Italy, Camporgiano province of Lucca in the Tuscan region and in Budapest in Hungary. St. Catherine Band has celebrated its 150th anniversary from the foundation of the Society
through its 7th international musical event. In fact in July 2014, St. Catherine Band has participated in a Band Festival in Schopfheim in the Black Forest (Germany) while in August 2014, The Upper Rhine Youth Wind Band has reciprocated through a visit to Żurrieq where it participated in the annual Festa in honour of St. Catherine of Alexandria, the Patron Saint of the Village.

St. Catherine Band maintains its motto that music is the best way to promote friendship between peoples of different countries than music. With this in mind St. Catherine Band continues to look out for opportunities to make further musical exchanges with foreign bands.

The Society is managed by a committee elected every year by its members. The progress registered over the years is solely attributed to the loyal members who dedicate their free time to the benefit of the club. All work is carried out voluntarily while the members sustain the existence of the club with their financial donations. This special way of doing things at St. Catherine Band Club has been the fulcrum of its success and is set to remain intact for many years to come.

Over the years the Club has had a number of different premises until 1912 when it moved to 20 Piazza Maggiore, today named ‘Palazzo Alexandria’ situated at the main square of the village. St. Catherine Musical Society treasures this early 16th century historical building that hosted the Militia of the Knights of St. John. During the Second World War Palazzo Alexandria served as a hospital for the health exigencies of the inhabitants. On acquiring its ownership in 1991, the members of St. Catherine Musical Society have conserved the historical part of the palace while adding a new section that makes the palace convenient for its today use as well as to rendering it as an entertaining spot for the music and feasts’ enthusiasts that make the club their second residence.

Celebrating the feast of St. Catherine the patron saint of Zurrieq remains the Club’s main annual event. This feast is one of the most popular of its kind celebrated in Malta as it attracts thousands of people from all over the country and serves as a major attraction for the tourists that happen to be spending their holiday in Malta between the last week of August and the first week of September. St. Catherine Band takes to the streets and plays among cheering crowds, showered with colour papers. The village square and the streets are beautifully adorned with ornate wooden pedestals, life size statues, flags and banners. During the day petards and fireworks intermingle with the ringing of church bells while at night umbrellas streaks of coloured fireworks trail across and decorate the
black sky. The climax of the feast is the Sunday procession with the gilded statue of St. Catherine of Alexandria. It instigates further love to our Patron Saint and creates boundless zeal and enthusiasm.

Teilgenommen: 2018
Land: MT

Banda Santa Katarina Vm1

Josef Grech

Dirigent: Josef Grech

Mro. Josef Grech was born in Zurrieq on 31st December 1985. He is the only child of Catherine nee' Falzon and John Grech. It was at the St. Catherine Band Club of Żurrieq where Mro. Grech was given his first lessons in music under the instruction of former bandmaster Mro. Francis Falzon. On 25th August 1995 he started playing the clarinet with the St. Catherine Band and later he continued to further his studies in music theory under the instruction of Mro. Ray Sciberras and music performance under the instruction of Mro. Chris Camilleri.

In 2009 he obtained the Associate diploma in music performance from London’s Trinity College and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. In 2011 he obtained the Licentiate diploma in music performance from London’s Trinity College and in 2012 the Licentiate diploma from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. He also attended music direction lessons under the instruction of Mro. Joseph Sammut.

Mro. Josef Grech is one of the most renowned clarinet players in Malta and he is often invited to perform with other Maltese band clubs and orchestras. From 2007 he started giving music lessons at the St. Catherine Band Club’s music academy at the absence of the former bandmaster Mro. Francis Falzon. In 2008 he was Assistant bandmaster with the same band and from 2012 till the present day he occupies the post of priniple bandmaster.

Mro. Grech is also a composer of several band marches, hymns, fantasias for band and overtures.
He also makes several music arrangements and transcriptions which are played every year during his band’s performances.

Banda Santa Katarina V.M. Konzert(e)
Mid Europe 2021