A SHORT HISTORY OF THE MUSICAL SOCOETY "ANICI" AT HAL QORMI, MALTA
It was always desired by most residents of Ħal Qormi that St George's Parish be furnished with a musical society and its Band with the intention first of all of enhancing St George's feast especially at the area known as ‘Tal-Vitorja' in such a manner that the population may enjoy this feast to the full, and secondly to continue to popularize the musical art.
It was in September 1987 when four persons, i.e. Dr Antoine Agius, Chev. John Mary Spiteri, Mr Carmelo Spiteri and Mr Salvo Debono, decided together to bring this dream to its realization.
The first thing they thought of was to establish the position of the Club. So, agreement was providentially finalized with the ‘Qormi Rockers Football Club', which at the moment had their premises closed, and which incidentally was situated at the upper environs of the Parish. The Football Club acceded to the proposals of the four protagonists.
Transactions followed after, and hence the founders began at once to realize their dream. As musical Director they chose Mro Frank Galea; further they chose an anthem, an ensign and a coat of arms. They also decided on the Club's name. ‘Anici' was the word! It was purposely chosen to reveal their staunch relations with the Patron Saint, since it was the surname of St George's family. The next step in the organization of this Society was the establishment of membership and so the first administrative committee could be formed.
Then came the first invitation for the participation of the Band by the National Festivities Committee for Sunday 13 th December 1987, when the Band marched along Valletta's main streets on Republic day. The same committee invited the Band to take part in Carnival on February 1988, when it paraded through Valletta dressed in carnival costume accompanied by a chariot which eventually won third price.
Now, time was ripe for the official opening of the premises, and this took place on the liturgical feast of St George, Saturday 23 rd April 1988. On this special occasion, the Band paraded for the first time in Ħal Qormi with a dazzling march before the official opening that was carried out by H.E. the Deputy President of the Republic of Malta Mr Paul Xuereb. Incidentally, this march is still a yearly attraction.
The Anici Band Club began to take part in St George's Feast on 1988 and dutifully persists in this participation up to this day. St George's Feast is celebrated on the last Sunday of June
But unfortunately the place was not deemed fit to comply with the usual needs of the Band. For this reason it began to be demolished on 1 st August 1988. Afterwards, its first phase was built and it was finished in 1991, just on the 10 th anniversary of the Society. It was then ceremoniously inaugurated by the then Mayor Mr Clyde Puli.
For this occasion, the Society inaugurated a new statue of St George at the Club's yard together with a new official ensign for the Club's mast which was then installed in 1993.
The Band began to take part in Good Friday's procession as from 1989, and in the Easter morning procession as from 1994. Besides, it took part in Corpus Christi procession, performed musical pieces both at Ħal Qormi and outside it, included the University of Malta; in September 1988 it visited Libya and played there for the occasion of the Libyan National Day; besides, in 1996 it visited Canada and the USA. It still parades in various cities and villages of Malta and Gozo. This hive of activities is still going on.
The Band also provides service on special occasions as f.ex.
at the 56 th Congress of the Holy Name Society which was organized at Ħal Qormi in 1989, when it was the only Band taking part,
then on the occasion of the solemn investiture of two Archpriests and other priests in the Parish,
at Triq l-Imdina during Pope John Paul II's visit in 1990,
at the inauguration of the golden sandals on the titular statue of St George,
as also at the launching of the Health and the Parochial Centres at Ħal Qormi in 1992.
As from 25 th May 1991, there began the celebrations of ‘Ħal Qormi Day', on which occasion our Band took part together with the other local Band Clubs. This is a yearly celebration. Our Band participated also on the following occasions:
on Christmas Day as from 1994;
in 1996 for Ħal Qormi Day Centre;
in 1999 on the occasion of the enthronement as Bishop of Mons. Annetto Depasquale;
in 2003 during an Academy at the Parish Church on the occasion of the 17 th Centenary from the Martyrdom of St George, and
from 2004 at the local Carnival celebrations at which it is still participating.
It took part in this same year during the inauguration of the monument in honor of St George at the Square between Triq is-Sagħtar and Triq il-Ħelsien. Our Band also participated
at various obsequies, and the first to be organized by our Society was in 1991 on the sad bereavement of Mr Carmelo Spiteri who was one of the founder-members, our first instrumentalist and the first Secretary of our Society.
It also participated in the funeral of the ex-Archpriest Mons. Gerald Frendo in 1994, and
hen again in 2002 at the obsequies of Mr Salvo Debono, another co-founder-member and
in 2006 at the funeral of Mr Sebastian Baldacchino of St George's Fireworks Factory.
At the centre of our Society there are diverse sections still functioning, like for example the Youth Section called ‘Stillieri' founded at the beginning of 1988, the Women Activists and Sports. Others that ceased to exist are: the sub- committee for Philanthropic Activities and the drama company ‘Lydda'.
Our Philarmonic Society is provided with disparately decorated halls; in 1999 it was aggrandized to be more pleasurably serviceable. One can't forget the latest cultural addition: the greatly appreciated musical archives, inaugurated in 2008 as part of the celebrations of the 20 th anniversary of our musical Society.
As already hinted at, one of the primary aims of our Society is to enhance musical culture. This it always did and is still carrying out by endeavouring to inspire and encourage new musicians, thanks first of all to Mro Galea who conducted the Band from 1988 to 1998, to Mro Andrew Calleja who conducted from 1998 to 2005, and finally to the present conductor, Mro Joseph Vella who controls the baton as from 2005.
Dr Antoine Agius was the first President of the Society and he still is. The other two ranks created from the very foundation are still occupied by the same persons, i.e. Chev. John Mary Spiteri as General Director and Chev. George Portelli as Treasurer.
Our Philharmonic Society boasts of various musical works in its repertoire, from brilliant marches to funerary ones, from waltzes to sacred hymns, Christmas songs, and classical music of diverse styles.
Our Society is still active and organizes variegated social activities especially with the aim of gathering the necessary funds to continue functioning. It mainly strives to contribute to the enhancement, in particular of Ħal Qormi's and in general of Malta's cultural activities.
Finally to cap it all, we are pleased to inform that on 2013 our Society will don a festive mood in commemorating the first quarter of a century from its establishment.