History of the Military Band
Sixty years of History (1957-2017)
The band of Gimnasio Moderno was the product of a vision that its creators had in the early year of 1957 when we suggested to Professor Bein the possibility of using the instruments that already existed at that time, which included some drums, trumpets, a pair of cymbals, two pairs of triangles, and a bass drum.
These instruments were part of several others that served a music band in the year 1940, in which Professor Bein played the clarinet, and it lasted for many more years with students who joined as others graduated.
I remember, in the year 1948/49, a couple of performances in the theater on the second floor of the Main Building, where we gathered every Monday to listen to the opening words of the week by Don Agustín.
This music band dissolved around 1950, but the memory is very vague for me. What I do remember is that on June 29, 1948, together with those who made their first communion, at that time and for many more years with a ceremony in the Cristo Rey church, we gathered around the rock near the flagpole, and the high school entered the church marching to the martial rhythm of a band led by one of the trumpet players in the musical ensemble, who acted as the drum major, but without a baton.
In the year 1956, quite some time later, entering one of the “secret” rooms of the Main Building with some curious Fifth-grade classmates, we found all the musical instruments from the original 1940 band: clarinets, French horns, a trombone, a tuba, two French horns, and three trumpets. We excitedly approached Professor Bein, and the result was the formation of a music band, where I played the trumpet.
Two teachers came, one for the woodwinds and the other for the brass, and we began rehearsals to compose a piece that would accommodate all the instruments.
Two or three months later, Professor Bein gave us an exam and concluded that it was the band that produced the best sound in its entire history. Of course, that was the extent of the ensemble.
But the restlessness continued, and it was in this way that in early 1957 (I was in Sixth grade), with Luis Eduardo Laverde and Jaime Granja, who were in Fifth grade at the time, we insisted once again to Professor Bein that we had to form a band, but this time it would be a marching band.
Our most important argument was that, in addition to the fact that the school deserved a band, every July 20th, we marched from Bolívar Square to the roundabout in Puente Aranda, and since we lacked a band, we had to follow the rhythm of other marchers. This caused those at the front of the school to match the pace of the band in front, while those behind matched the pace of the band preceding us. It always created a big mess.
The arguments were enough, and the first marching band was formed, with Luis Eduardo Laverde as the drum major, and the other members were as follows: Drums and bass drum: Guillermo Camacho, Carlos Casabianca, Ismael Blanco, Armando Bonilla, and Ricardo Martinez; Bugles: Eliseo Lopez, German Guerrero, myself, Juan Manuel Tamayo, Jaime Granja, and Jorge Marin; Triangles: Camilo Arciniegas and German Duarte; and Cymbals: Alvaro Restrepo.
The first march rehearsal for the July 20th parade in 1957 took place with the high school students walking on the tennis court, to the sound of two drums that Ismael Blanco and I played, standing in the middle of the field so that everyone could hear how our rhythm would sound. It’s worth mentioning that we didn’t have a teacher, and we played by ear.
The official parade was triumphant; we were truly satisfied to be able to set our own pace, and the enthusiasm reached a point where, as a band, after marching for several hours, we decided to take one more lap around the Puente Aranda roundabout. But those who were marching behind us didn’t want to do it that way, and while we played drums, bugles, and cymbals, marching in a martial manner around the bridge, the others went their own way, dissolving further ahead. My first and last trumpet performance in public was done while abandoned by our own followers. A story to tell.
Today, the band makes me proud, not only because it is numerous, wins awards, and plays really well, which is also a source of pride, but because it is the result of an idea that we carried out with passion and joint effort, and it demonstrates that to achieve things, all you need is the desire.
ALBERTO CARRIZOSA ALAJMO
Class of 1957
Bogotá, May 30, 2017