The Alpha Boys Band, a history Written By Sister Mary Ignatius Davies, RSM
In simplicity and seeming obscurity the Alpha Boys' Band started in the year 1892. A seed hidden in the soil of Jamaica. Who could have visualized that that seed would have grown into the sturdy tree that the band is today?
The foundation members of the Band, or rather, the Drum & Fife Corps, as it was then, played by ear, as at that time it was impossible to finance the services of a Bandmaster. However, a soldier from Camp came in occasionally to assist with the training. The little group worked hard and their labour was crowned with success. On September 7, 1893, they were able to take their first public engagement.
Improvements came gradually, through the interest of Bishop Collins some second-hand brass instruments were obtained in 1908 and to Sergeant Kniff of the West India Regiment must go the credit of arranging the brass section - thus began the present Brass Band. Some years after, the Band possessed a musical genius in the person of Leslie Thompson, who taught himself to play all the available instruments. He eventually enlisted in the Jamaica Military Band and later was awarded a scholarship to Kneller Hall, England. He was eventually successful in obtaining his Doctorate in Music.
From that first year in 1892, progress towards musical maturity has been steady. This can be seen from the number of past students who have been and are the backbone of the three major bands in the Island. Jamaica Military, Regimental, and Constabulary. The Alpha Band has become a part of the musical culture of Jamaica and a very healthy and progressive part. From behind its stands have come many musical greats who have carried beyond the shores of their native land the "International Key of Music".
Wherever there is music, Alpha's representatives are to be found, be it on the Continent, in the U.S.A., or the Caribbean. In the Symphony or Jazz orchestra or just a Calypso Combo, you will find the Alpha "old boy" giving of his musical best and trying to communicate to others that warmth and contentment that music in its varied phases gives.
From the beginning to the present - 109 years of unbroken service to the Island of Jamaica - the Alpha Boys' Band has ever striven to fulfil its obligation to the public in a way worthy of the school's motto "UPWARD AND ONWARD".
In addition to those mentioned before, are other outstanding musicians over the years 1940-1990. All mentioned in this history have taken care of the century just faded. There are still others to come who have not yet left school. They too, will make their mark in the centuries to come.
During the century, the band has played for H.R.H. The Queen Mother, H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II, H.R.H. The Prince Charles The Prince of Wales, The Holy Father Pope John Paul II, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie, The Duchess of Kent, many Governors, Prime Ministers, and the populace of Jamaica - bringing them all joy and happiness.
The band has also travelled to Miami and Atlanta, U.S.A in 1990.
We continue to be very proud of the accomplishments of the Alpha Boys' School Band and the entire school and know that this rich history could not have been accomplished without God's blessing and the help of many, many people over these many years.