SVG Cadet Force Band Celebrates 50th Anniversary

On Friday 8th June 2018 the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cadet Force (SVGCF) Band achieved a milestone of fifty years.

The SVGCF Band was started in 1968 as a Drum Corps by Lt. Rev. Allan Kirton during the tenure of Capt Lennox John as Commandant.

Its first appearance was at the Queen’s Birthday Parade held at the Victoria Park on Saturday, June 8th, 1968. The foundation members were:

  • Major the Honourable St Claire Leacock,
  • Garth Williams
  • Michael Ollivierre aka (lord have mercy)
  • Osmond Crichton
  • John Daisley.
  • Cannon Everton Weeks,
  • Calvert (Booty) Ferdinand
  • Timothy Hazell (deceased),
  • Peter Fraser
  • Val Lawrance
  • Denzel Stewart (deceased)
  • Donn Bobb
  • Greg Richards

 In 1970 the corps acquired four more bugles and in 1972 two tenor drums that they were played by Esmond weeks and the late Douglas Hamlet two further tenor drums were acquired two years later.

 In 1975 a donation from Humber College of five silver piston bugles enhanced the wind section and thus the repertoire was expanded slightly from simple bugle marches.  Women were recruited into the band in 1977.

The first female tenor Drummers being Kenlyn Clouden and Diane hall. The great  leap forward came in the latter half of the 1978  when the corps of drums were  transformed slowly into a full  military band reaching it pinnacle in the 1980 under the guidance of Capt Dr. Alwayn  Leacock who  made music education mandatory and thus give rise to many prominent tertiary qualified musicians such as Junior Sutherland,  Darrien Ollivierre, Dexter Bacchus  Kemuel Spence who attended the Royal Military school of music in Kneller Hall UK, and Junior Sutherland.

Among its achievements is winning the gold medal twice at the national music festival and signal Honour of playing for Her Majesty the Queen on Sunday October 27th, 1985 at the medal investiture ceremony at Government house.

In 1977, the band recruited its first female members, Kenlyn Clouden and Dian Hall.  The band boast amongst its past members several prominent Vincentians including:

  • Major the Honourable St Clair Leacock
  • Senator the Honourable Julian Francis
  • ACP Richard Browne of the Royal SVG Police Force
  • Volcanologist Dr. Richard Robertson
  • Former Commander of the SVG Coast Guard David Robin
  • Veteran mass media communicators Donald Bobb and Colin Cunningham
  • Renal transplant surgeon Dr. Malcolm Samuel
  • and entrepreneur Anthony Regisford.

The band has produced several tertiary trained musicians including:

  • Kemuel Spence, who attend the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall
  • Dexter Bacchus, Music Officer in the Ministry of Education
  • Junior Sutherland, Music Teacher at the St. Vincent Grammar School, and head of JR Music Studio.
  • Captain L Darrien Ollivierre, Band Officer of the SVGCF Band, and Music Teacher at the Intermediate High School.
  • Ezra Forde, sound engineer.

It has always been the dream of Captain Lennox John the then Commandant to make the band a national show piece; a sentiment expressed by successive Commandants over the years.

 The journey has not been easy they have had to rely on the generosity of the Kingstown Baptist church, the Marriaqua secondary school and the Japanese for musical instruments.

More significantly the volunteerism of Bill Roberts, Hugh Huggins, Ikiki Rose, Joffre Venner and Ricardo McDonald who at various segments gave of their free service and musical expertise to expand the band.