Founding Members

How it began…

A letter written by Giuseppi Muscat, one of the founders of the Choral and Orchestral Society ‘Maria Bambina’, explains how our Society was founded:

At the end of the second world war in 1945, Giuseppi Muscat from Mellieħa wanted to put together an orchestra which could then take part in the various Parish Church feasts and functions.  In 1947, the newly appointed Parish Priest Xuereb, together with Giuseppi Muscat met and discussed how to set up the orchestra with Maestro Antonio Pace, a retired musician living in Ħal Lija. Thanks to this visit, great friendship was formed between the Maestro and Guiseppi Muscat, and later on, with the orchestra. Maestro Pace was of great help as he passed on some pieces of Sacred Music to the orchestra so that concerts could be organised in the Parish Church. It was not an easy task for Giuseppi Muscat as most musicians in the town played wind instruments with local band clubs.

The founders of the Choral and Orchestral Society 'Maria Bambina'
The founders of the Choral and Orchestral Society ‘Maria Bambina’

Meanwhile, thanks to the financial help from Kappillan Xuereb, Giuseppi Muscat started to learn the piano, tutored by Wistin Camilleri from Floriana, a musician and violinist of great fame back in those days. Other young men started to learn an orchestral instrument thanks to Wistin Camilleri, including Mose` Debono (today Mons. Rev Mose’ Debono), Dwardu Debono, Carmelo Muscat, Carmelo Fenech (violin), Carmelo Debono (cello) and Giuseppi Gauci (Double Bass).  Together with these, Giuseppi included other instruments such as the Flute, the Clarinet in B flat, Trumpet in B flat, French Horn in E flat, Trombone in E flat, Bass in E flat and Timpani. The choir, who at that time was already established but accompanied just by an organ, then began to form part of this same orchestra.

The members of the choir were:

Kelinu Muscat (tal-Iskarpan), Manuel Debono (ta’ Boroż), Antonio Fenech (tal-Klesis), Anġlu Muscat (ta’ l-Iskarpan) u Anthony Attard (It-tikki, ta’ Mari ta’ Simbla).  Forming part of the voice section there was also Piju Zammit (Bass) from Ħal Safi, who formed part of the choir on request of the Parish Priest Xuereb.  Whenever the Choir and Orchestra performed during the Mellieha feast other singers were also invited to attend including tenors Cefai and Lopez and Cachia as bass amongst others.

The first time that the Choir and Orchestra took part in public was during the novenas of the feast of Our Lady of Victories. This was in 1947 and due to the accomplishment achieved it was also invited to take part during the feasts of Christmas and Easter, Chorpus Christi and St. Joseph feasts.

At that time the Choir and Orchestra consisted of:

Musical Director
Giuseppi Muscat (ta’ Salvu s-Sagristan)
Violin
Mose Debono (today as Mons. Rev Mosè Debono)
Dwardu Debono (ta’ Boroż)
Carmelo Muscat (il-Captain)
Antonio Sultana (tal-Qara)
Carmelo Fenech (tas-Salvatur)
Cello
Carmelo Debono (ta’ Boroż)
Double Bass
Giuseppi Gauci (il-Lejxu)
Clarinet in B flat
Ġuseppi Attard (il-Boħħ)
Trumpet in B flat
Giuseppi Fenech (L-Għenbi)
French Horn in E flat
Anglu Bartolo (il-Ġakku)
Joe Caruana (ta’ Xifu)
Trombone in E flat
Stejfen Debono (ta’ Serafin)
Bass in E flat
Ċensu Bartolo (tal-Mingamm)
Flute in Do
Frans Caruana (ta’ Trejża ta’ Xifu)
Timpani
Toni Gauci (ta’ Qiegħu)
All these musicians were from Mellieħa.  This is the history of the Choral and Orchestral Society Maria Bambina of Mellieha till 1949 when Giuseppi Muscat left the Society as he emigrated to Australia. The Orchestra was then passed on to Kelinu Muscat.