Sunday, February 23, 2014

Military Monday: Band Sergeant of H.M.S. "Goliath" at Age 11

Hubby's great uncle Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) was the renowned bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders of Canada for nearly 50 years. Thanks to the kindness of the head of the Canadian Band Association, which published a biographical sketch of Capt. Slatter in 1943, our family now knows a lot more about his early career.

Slatter must have been one heck of a musician and a dynamic personality to achieve so much, starting at the tender age of 11 (yes, you read that right).
  • At age 11 (in 1875), he was Band Sergeant and solo cornet of the Boy's Band of the H.M. Training Ship Goliath.
  • Before he was 13, Slatter joined the British Army and at 14, he was the chair of Solo Trombone and chair of Euphonium soloist in a regimental band.
  • At 18, he became Euphonium soloist in the H.M. Life Guard's Band.
  • Next, he joined Patrick Gilmore's Band in America, a NY-based wind band famous throughout the world. Gilmore died in 1892.
  • Slatter moved to Canada and became part of the Band of "A" Battery, Canadian Regulars.
  • Next, he moved to Boston for a position with Ellis Brooks' Marine Band (which, if I have the correct article, played engagements at expositions and other big-city events.
  • For three seasons, Slatter served as first trombone of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
  • Despite offers from John Philip Sousa and Victor Herbert, Slatter joined the 48th Highlanders as Bandmaster in 1896.
  • For decades, Slatter and the 48th Highlanders Band toured the world. He even arranged the Royal Tattoo musical program for the Quebec Tercentenary celebration.
  • As Bandmaster, Slatter composed and arranged military music that is still in use today.
  • Slatter was a founder of the Canadian Bandmasters' Association, its first president, and then honorary president. 
  • A portrait of Capt. Slatter, in full Highland regalia, was presented to the Armories in Toronto (a beautiful building that is now, alas, gone). Wonder what happened to that portrait? I'm going to try to find out!

1 comment:

  1. What a fascinating & talented man! Truly gifted & dedicated! I love reading your blog Cuz. Your ancestry journeys always inspire me - Love Philly Cuz