SLAF Band Celebrates 50 Years of Service to the Nation

Published on: 8:04pm on Thursday 2nd July 2020
SLAF Band Celebrates 50 Years of Service to the Nation
The SLAF Band at SLAF Base Katunayake celebrated its 50th Anniversary yesterday (1 July 2020). The celebrations commenced with religious activities which were held at the Directorate of Performing Arts premises. The SLAF Ceremonial Band performed a special display at the Base Parade Square of SLAF Base Katunayake with the participation of the Base Commander, Air Vice Marshal Sampath Thuiyacontha and all Commanding Officers of Lodger Formations.

A special Tree Planting Ceremony was held at the Directorate premises followed by a special address by the Base Commander. The Base Commander stressed on the fact that through 50 years of dedicated service the SLAF Band has brought much glory to the Sri Lanka Air Force and the Nation with their exceptional and creative performances.

Yesterday was yet again a day of historical significance as the SLAF Band inaugurated the Sri Lanka Air Force Symphony Orchestra under the guidance of the Director of Performing Arts, Group Captain Chandana Amarasinghe. This initiative was made possible with the guidance and support of the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sumangala Dias. The celebrations were concluded with an Alms Giving at the Directorate premises.

The inception of the Sri Lanka Air Force Military Band dates back to the 1st of July 1970 where 12 Airmen were attached to the Sri Lanka Navy Band to undergo training as Drummers and Buglers. In 1972, 13 Individuals were recruited and trained once again at the SL Navy Band at Welisara and on completion of training the SLAF Military Band was proudly established with 23 inaugural Members.

The Band expanded up to 80 Members by 1997 and grew further up to 100 Members by the year 2000. Another military band with 21 Members was established at the SLAF Combat Training School Diyatalawa in 2007 and another with 26 members at the SLAF Academy China Bay in 2009. The latest military band was established at SLAF Base Anuradhapura with 21 members in 2018. Further, a Dance Band and a Papare Band was also established in years 2008 and 2012 respectively to cater for various entertainment functions.

In addition to ceremonial duties, the SLAF Band expanded its capabilities by adding a Beat Group in 1981, a Dance Troupe in 1988, an Oriental Orchestra in 1998 and a Bagpipe Band in the year 2000. Further expanding in to all spheres of entertainment, the SLAF Band also established a Rock Band in 2010, an Eastern Band in 2011, a Calypso Band in 2012 and also a Disk Jockeys (DJ) in 2014.

The SLAF Band came under the purview of the Director of Operations at the inception and in 1999 was brought under the purview of the Directorate of Training until 2004 where it was reverted back to the Directorate of Operations. All the administrative matters of the SLAF Band were channeled through the Base Headquarters at Katunayake until it was subsequently established as an independent formation on 23 January 2006. The SLAF Band was brought under the purview of the Chief of Staff in 2007 and subsequently under the Deputy Chief of Staff. The Directorate of Performing Arts was established on 13 July 2017 as a separate non AFBM Directorate in order to cater all performing arts duties.

The present SLAF Band boasts of a strength of 11 Officers and 550 musicians and dancers under the purview of the Directorate of Performing Arts.

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