- Last Updated: 12 January 2012
The First Band to exist in Troviscal was founded in 1911 by an Elementary School teacher, José de Oliveira Pinto de Sousa, who taught all his students the regular school syllabus in the morning and music in the afternoon. The “Banda Escolar do Troviscal” (Troviscal School Band) became nationwide famous due to a serious dispute that the band maintained with a despotic catholic prelate, which ended with the band’s excommunication by the Bishop of Coimbra in 1922. The Band’s reputation was not only the result of this seventeen years long dispute, but was also due to its artistic merit, tested in several band competitions, which led many people to consider it one of the top bands in the country. Regrettably the band was declared extinct in 1942.
In 1989 a group of local personalities decided to join hands and invited Professor Silas de Oliveira Granjo, grandson of José de Oliveira, a College Teacher and an amateur musician, to establish a non-profit society that would work towards restoring the tradition and carry on the legacy of the “Banda Escolar do Troviscal”. This challenge was accepted and in September of 1989 a group of young children between the ages of six and fourteen started to learn music. In December of this same year it was already possible to listen to twenty-three of these students performing three Christmas melodies on wind instruments. The foundations were laid and the band, now called “União Filarmónica do Troviscal”, began its regular activity, as any other community wind band in Portugal.
The goal of the band has always been to perform the best possible repertoire that the musicians’ technical abilities would allow, while pushing the limits in a pedagogical and artistic effort to evolve. While maintaining the tradition of outdoor performances, expected from a community band in our country (parades, religious processions, outdoor concerts, etc.) the band soon aimed at more artistically oriented targets, and in 1998 decided to participate in the Purmerade festival for young musicians, held in Purmerend – Netherlands. In this festival the band received appreciations of good and very good in all of the parameters analyzed by the jury and obtained a first prize with honours in the soloists contest.
At a national level the band received governmental recognition for its work and was granted the title of “Institution of Public Merit” in 2000. In March 2001 the band toured in France playing in Paris and in Strasbourg at the European Parliament, in August played in Spain in a Youth Band’s Festival in Galicia and in October travelled again to France to perform in several cities of Bretagne. In 2002 the band participated again in the Purmerade Festival and this time was classified with excellent in all of the analyzed parameters by all of the judges and was thus awarded the prize of best concert band in the festival and also received two first prizes with honours (trumpet and saxophone) and two first prizes (flute and clarinet) in the soloists contest.
In June 2004 the band represented Portugal in the International Band Festival FIJO in the Czech city of Cheb. In the following years it took part in several band festivals and concerts in Portugal, and Spain and has kept its own Iberian Band Festival every year since 2002. The last big achievement of the band was in April 2008 when it won the First Prize in the “IIº Certâmen Internacional de Bandas de La Senia” in Spain.
Through all the twenty years of its new life, the band has maintained its own music school, where children can learn music almost for free and are lent instruments to study and perform on, and has kept the same artistic goal of playing the best available repertoire that its musicians can tackle.