The present day City Guard Band stands as a memorial to one of the first San Diego bands. In the 1800s, the City of San Diego supported a volunteer community militia as protection against the risks associated with life in the early days of the city. The group was referred to as the City Guard, later included in the California National Guard. One auxiliary unit was the City Guard Band.
The City Guard Band served the needs of the city and as its emissary, around the state and across the nation. The Band gradually disintegrated in the wake of World War I, with many of the musicians moving to other local groups.
In 1980, one hundred years after the initial formation of the City Guard Band, a group of local musicians who were interested in preserving "turn-of-the-century" band music formed the Heritage Band Society, a California not-for-profit corporation. The Society re-established the City Guard Band to keep alive the musical heritage by performing period music (1880 to 1950) in its library of nearly 3,000 compositions for band. The Society's library also has a comparable number of orchestral works.
Watch - The Heritage Band Society Featured in Ken Kramer's "About San Diego"
This extensive library includes works written specifically for the Band or the City. In 1887, T.H. Rollinson wrote "The San Diego March" in commemoration of the Band's national tour the fall of that year. Over the years, additional compositions were contributed to the Band, including "San Diego Exposition March" (1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition), "San Diego, I'm Coming Home to You", and "San Diego – Finest City" to name a few.
Meet Our Conductors – past and present
Acknowledgements – a thank-you to those who support the San Diego City Guard Band.