A short history of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Band

The Regimental Band was first formed in 1866 by Peter Grossman as the 13th Battalion Band at the request of the Commanding Officer of the 13th Battalion Voluntary Militia. It traces its roots to the Hamilton Artillery Band formed in Hamilton in 1855. It is the oldest enlisted band in Canada.

Peter Grossman led the XIIIth Band until 1869. He was succeeded for one year by George R. Robinson who in turn was succeeded for one year by Mr. W. Blanchard. Robinson returned in 1871 and remained Bandmaster until 1916, conducting the Band for 45 years. Lt Robinson, after whom the Band Shell in Gage Park, Hamilton is named, was a graduate of the British Army's Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall in England. He was the first Canadian Army musician to be commissioned.

From 1871-1881, the well-disciplined 40-piece band competed and toured successfully throughout North America. It was the principal band at the "Peace Jubilee" in Berlin (now Kitchener) in 1871 and played for the Governor General during his visit to Hamilton in 1879. In 1900 the Band was invited to Denver, Colorado to give a concert for the Maple Leaf Club, and in 1901 it was chosen to play for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall (later King George V and Queen Mary). In 1919, the Band toured England and gave a command performance before King Edward VII.

The Band has played a very important part in the ceremonial celebrations of Hamilton throughout the 20th century and in 1939, played for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) during their official visit.
The band has continued its tradition of playing for Royalty, playing twice for HRH the Prince of Wales, in 1996 at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and in November of 2009 at Dundurn Castle. The band was tasked to provide music for the Queen's arrival in London, Ontario, accompanying a 100-man guard from the RCD in 1998. When the Queen presented the ASH of C with new colours in 2002, the RHLI band was asked to perform in the ceremony. In 2010, the RHLI Band provided 12 musicians to the band of the Canada Departure Guard. The Brass Quintet of the RHLI, under Sgt Ryan Baker's direction, also played for HRH Prince Philip, our colonel-in-chief at the Duke of Edinburgh's awards at the Royal York Hotel. In September 2012, the band played for HRH Prince Edward during the Trooping of the Colours.

The Band has performed at every Canadian International Military Tattoo for the past 20 years, the Toronto International Festival Tattoo at the Skydome in Toronto (1992) as well as at numerous civic and military functions: the band led the 1996 Grey Cup parade. In May 2000, the Band provided 10 buglers to play the Last Post at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa. In August 2002, the band performed once again in London, England performing at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea and was the official Canadian Forces Band at the Dieppe 60th Anniversary in Dieppe, France.

In October 2003, the RHLI Band released its first CD, Semper Paratus, which has since sold 1,000 copies. It is a remembrance of the music played during the 2002 Dieppe tour.

Since 2002, the band has performed some 40 engagements per year. Recent engagements have included:

The present Director of Music is Capt Ryan W. Baker, CD, Mus Bac. The Drum Major is Sgt James Greve, CD.

Past Senior Appointments

Bandmaster Peter Grossman

Bandmaster George R. Robinson

Bandmaster W. Blachard

Bandmaster George R. Robinson

Bandmaster William F. Robinson

Bandmaster D Anderson

Bandmaster William F. Robinson

1939-1942 (1 Bn)
Bandmaster W. Sharman

1942-1945 (2 Bn)
Bandmaster H. J. Holder

Bandmaster H. J. Holder

Bandmaster H. G. Patterson

Bandmaster L. Sharman

Bandmaster A. T. Dharmaratnam

1992 - 2016
Director of Music
Major Michael A. Rehill

2016 - Present
Director of Music
Captain Ryan W. Baker