The Artesia DES band was founded in 1972 (although the Portuguese Community of Artesia had a band from 1927-1945). We are the second oldest Portuguese band in California. The origin of the band goes back to January of 1972 when a group of men researched the possibility of forming a musical group to play for a “Danca de Espada” (typical medieval theatrical dance)organized by Anselmo Correia and others.
These men were successful in putting together such a project that a few months later – in August of 1972 – they were asked to play at a “Portuguese Day” celebration – promoted by the Artesia Eagles Soccer Club – at Artesia Park. The Artesia Eagles Soccer Club, led by Ercilio Cardoso and others, helped form the band, the folclore group and the bullfights in the park for that weekend. The first song they played was called “O Teu Trompete”. From then on the idea of founding a Portuguese band grew stronger.
On 27th of July of 1973 the band played at the celebration of the “Holy Spirit” in Artesia, for the first time under the name of Artesia Portuguese Band. In 1974, the Filarmonica was incorporated into the Artesia DES, thus becoming the Filarmonica do Artesia D.E.S.
The man who organized and worked hardest for this to happen was Antonio Diniz Coelho, who also played Tuba in the band until 1993. He gathered all of the musicians, rented or borrowed instruments, transposed music from the scores, and made all of the music copies before xerox machines were available. He was also in the fore front in getting instruments and uniforms for the band when it became a permanent fixture in our community.
Throughout our history we have represented our hall and our Portuguese Community all over California, as well as Fall River, Massachusetts (in 1997),the Azores Islands (in 1986 and 2002), and Toronto, Canada (2007). We also organized the first “Festival das Filarmonicas” in California in 2004. We plan to continue visiting many parts where immigrants have settled or where our forefathers came from.
Our Band Now
This year we have a total of 50 musicians. We practice an average of two days a week for most of the year. Our practice room is in the Portuguese DES Hall, adjacent to the soccer club room. The room has been enlarged and improved for better sound quality and better work condition. Every year two directors represent us in the general assembly meetings of the Portuguese DES Hall organization. There, we get approval for many of our plans that require finances. To provide a music output level of good quality, our musicians sacrifice many hours a week away from their families and even financial opportunity. Overall, our musicians are people with passion for music and have a great interest in keeping the traditional celebrations animated.
Thank you Don Knabe!!
We would like to thank Don Knabe, 4th District Representative of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, for his undying support of our band and our community through the AEPP Grant.
Since we have received the AEPP Grant in 2005, we have seen many changes in our band. Musically, we have seen our band grow in the number of teens that perform from 10 to about 25. These teens, when given the opportunity we have given them, have excelled not only in our community band but in their school bands as well. Many of them have gone on or are applying to universities in our area.
Thank you Mr. Knabe and the County Board of Supervisors!!