The Military Band has historically functioned as an important adjunct to warfare. Middle Eastern and later into European combatants were traditionally led into the battle with the inclusion of drums and horns and later during the Turkish Ottoman Empire with oboes and 'jingling johnny' percussion instruments. During the Napoleonic eras armies marched to war to the accompaniment of enthusiastic and indispensable resplendent regimental bands.
The Kenya Navy Band provides a short yet very interesting history. Started from humble beginnings in the late 1980's with the first Drum Major, Corporal Mwanzia, today, it has the fortune of having an SVC Band that has developed steadily, overcoming myriad obstacles to produce the formidable and fully fledged Marching Band that it is today.
In December 1986, a batch of fifteen Privates Under Training (PUTs) from the Naval Training School (NTS) were nominated to form the Naval Corps of Drums. The group underwent a Drummer's Course for one year at the School of Music at Langata Barracks, after which they returned to the Kenya Navy Base, Mtongwe and took up their respective roles as the Kenya Navy Corps of Drums. They participated in various parades with WOI Mwanzia (then Sergeant) as the Drum Major.
In January 1999, an additional twenty-seven PUTs from the NTS were nominated to join the Kenya Navy Band and underwent a basic Music Course at the School of Music , Langata for duration of one year. After completion of the course in 2000, the young Band personnel returned to Mtongwe Base to start a life long journey of learning of music under the guidance of Captain H J Ochieng' (then Lieutenant).
Now a strong unit, the Kenya Navy Band has participated in major national events successfully, including all National and ASK Show Parades, the first All African Military Games (CISM) 2002 in Nairobi, Passing Out and Commanders Divisions Parades, March and Short Range Exercises and last but not least, landed invitations by various non-governmental organizations to promote their culture and awareness crusades in Mombasa and Nairobi.
In the Kenya Navy military bands fulfils multi-tasking in the diverse generic roles, such as performing in the Military bands, folk group or even functions of entertainment. Furthermore a considerable amount of peacetime activity involves giving dedicated music support to selected charities and authorized fund-raising initiatives.
The Kenya Navy Band under the highly professional direction of the Director of Music, is establishing national reputation by not only performing Military Band Music of an exceptional standard, but also by helping to create a specifically Kenyan Military Music Culture.
The talented Director of Music, Captain H Ochieng has made an important and valuable contribution to this particular cultural development by arranging and composing works incorporating popular and vernacular African Music elements.
Discipline in the Band is a primary value if any measure of success is to be attained. As accepted in the music profession, it has far - reaching effects on the mental development and for proper concentration in the theory and practical apprenticeship, as well as familiarization with and the right use of the instruments.
ROLES AND FUNCTION OF KN BAND
The Kenya Navy Band provides active dedicated support to the government, the DOD and public organizations, in order to encourage high morale and "enspirit de corps", as well as to promote a positive disposition towards the Armed Forces by its personnel and external public.
Although parades may be considered the core function of service military bands, other indispensable tasks include: general concerts, band festivals of public interests which are co-odinated by government institutions, municipal authorities, cultural authorities, performance in support of other government departments, memorial services, and Christmas carols service etc.
The Navy Band is moving uniformly forward together. It is one of the most attractive Departments in the Kenya Navy formations. The Bandsmen are aiming beyond the horizon, taking into account that this is only their third year since inception as a complete Band. Their "Motto" is "Give way, the indomitable ones in white are coming".