South African Army Band Cape Town

South African Army Band Cape Town


The South African Army Band Cape Town is the oldest Regular Force band in South Africa.

It originated in 1915 as the regimental band of the 1st Battalion, The Cape Corps, a famous fighting unit of World War 1. When the Cape Corps was de-activated in 1919, the band continued on a part-time basis as a living memorial. At the outbreak of World War 2, the Cape Corps was re-activated and the band was the first element to return to full-time service.

The Cape Corps was de-activated in 1992 but the band was retained as one of the five regional Army bands and was renamed to SA Army Band Cape Town, under the directorship of Major Chris Nicholls.

In 2002 Lieutenant Martin Chandler, the youngest qualified Director of Music in the Corps of Musicians, was appointed as the Assistant Director of Music. Major Chris Nicholls retired in 2006 and Major Martin Chandler was appointed as Director of Music.

Since the inception of the Chief of the Army’s annual Military Band competition in 1996, the SA Army Band Cape Town has won the best Military Concert and Marching Band Awards and is widely regarded as one of the foremost military bands on the continent of Africa.

In 2000 the South African National Defence Force initiated a music-training program at the SA Army Band Cape Town to assist young recruits of the Military Skills Development System as well as various African countries (such as Namibia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Congo, Botswana) in training military musicians. This program was later outsourced to the University of Stellenbosch.

The Army Band Cape Town has performed extensively at various events, including the Grahamstown National Arts Festival and the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, amongst others, The band has also received much acclaim from the Office of the President of South Africa for their involvement in the Opening of Parliament and the inauguration of former President Nelson Mandela as the first democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa.

The band has performed for a myriad of dignitaries and Heads of State, including the Queen of England, former President Bill Clinton, Colonel Muhammar Gadaffi and former Prime Minister Tony Blair . The band now has 42 members and enjoys, perhaps more than any other band in Africa, an unsurpassed reputation for versatility and excellence.

Assistant Director of Music: Capt Vernon Michels (+27 (0)21 787 1992)
Bandmaster: WO1 Pieter Jacobs (+27 (0)21 787 1991 )

Published: 14.01.2011
Updated: 24.06.2013

Contact Person:
Capt. Vernon Michels
Cape Town
+27 (0)21 7871992
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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