Royal Canadian Air Force Band history

In 1946, Carl Friberg, a wartime bandmaster working as a public relations representative in Vancouver, was transferred to Winnipeg. At that time, he was invited to form a professional band for the Royal Canadian Air Force No.2 Training Command. This thirty-piece band was operational by the next year and was soon transferred to Edmonton as the North West Air Command Band. The group's first high profile engagement was to accompany His Excellency - Viscount Alexander, the Governor General, on his 1948 tour of Western Canada.

In 1955, the North West Air Command Band became the Tactical Air Command Band and its complement of musicians was increased to fifty-five. That year the band participated in an overseas tour, with performances in England, France, Belgium and Germany.

The Band was transferred back to Winnipeg in 1964 and amalgamated with a portion of the Air Transport Command Band, which had been disbanded in Trenton, Ontario.

With the 1968 unification of the Army, Navy and Air Force in Canada, this Air Force band combined their talents with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Band and adopted yet another title. The Canadian Forces Training Command Band was now operational. At this time, there were ninety musicians in the unit.

Air Command was formed in 1975, with its headquarters in Winnipeg. To accommodate this, the ensemble was renamed the Air Command Band, and had an establishment of thirty-five musicians. With the re-organization of the Canadian Forces Band Branch in 1994, the Band was augmented to forty-five.

The year 1997 saw Air Command headquarters move to Ottawa and the formation of 1 Canadian Air Division, headquartered in Winnipeg. In keeping with these changes, the band was renamed "The Band of 1 Canadian Air Division", with an establishment of thirty-five members. In the summer of 2000, the band was renamed the "Air Command Band".

In 2009, the Air Command Band was modified to fit many of the current demands on it. The focus was now on smaller ensembles and a more contemporary sound. These groups include an exciting 20 piece showband complete with lead vocalists and a top notch rhythm section, a world-class brass quintet, a traditional jazz big band and a pipes and drums ensemble.

In August of 2011, the band was renamed "the Royal Canadian Air Force Band"

2016 saw the return of the traditional larger wind ensemble, while still providing exciting contemporary performances with Jet Stream, Mach 4 and Command Brass. This return to a large concert band brought traditional woodwind and brass instruments back into the ensemble, while the pipes and drums were relocated across the CAF. This larger parade band is now able to take on high profile international engagements, such as UK Public Duties in 2018.



RCAF Band, 1975
RCAF Band, 1988
RCAF Band Jazz Combo, 1960

Page details

Date modified: