Boys' Uniformed Group: Activities--Band

Figure 1.--At British Scout band contests the Scouts are very smartly kitted out, butwear their regular uniforms. The Cubs often wear white rather than grey kneesocks. The uniform is one aspect of the judging.

Bands are most associated with Scouting, especially British Scouting. More common were drun and bugle corps. The Hitler Youth were especially fond of drum and buggle corps, I don't believe I have noted full bands. This was in part because of their goal of instilling martial ardour, but also the boys were so commonly used in parades.

Youth Organizations

HBU has some informatiion about the bands and other musical groups sponsored by specific organizations. Scout bands are perhaps the best known, but other groups have also sponsored bands or musical units of various descriotions.

Boys' Brigade

The Boys' Brigade also sponsors marching bands. English Boys' Brigade units have some active bands. The Brigade is a smaller organization than the Scouts so there are fewer Nrigade bands. The ones we have seen, however, appaer to go in for spit and polish, more so than some Scout bands. We have also noted some Brigade pipe bands, especially in Brigade units outside Britain which tend to be smaller and thus able to form full marching bands. The pioe bands also testify to the Scotytish roots of the organization.

Boy Scouts

One popular activity for British Scouts are Scout band competitions. I know this is popular in England. I'm not sure about the rest of Europe or other countries. Foreign Scout bands do occasionally compete in the English competitions which are a popular summer activity for Scouts. Cubs and Guides participate along with the Scouts. The British Scouts still give considerable to the uniform and the participating Scouts, Cubs, and guides go over ever detail of their uniform.


We have limited information on cadet programs in general. We do notice, however, that Cadet groups in Britain spnsor some bands or drum and buggle corps. We do no know how widespread read this is. We note a smartly uniformed a Royal Marine Cadets band. Note the ornately painted drums and canine mascot. We do not know if there are similar groups in other countries.

Church Lads

Universally recognised as one of the largest and finest musical bodies in the world of Youth Military Bands, the National Band of the Church Lads' & Church Girls' Brigade have been providing musical support for any type of occasion since 1979. Their repertoire covers a wide category of music, including jazz, pop, light concert music, and the big band sound, as well as the very popular marches, and always to the highest standard. They will be playing at the Millennium Dome on Saturday July 8, 2000--look out for them there!

Hitler Youth

The Hitler Youth drum and buggle corps was an important part of the pagentry in which the units participated. I do not know of actual full bands, although there may have been some. All of the units that I have seen, however, are drum and buggle corps. A coomon feature are trupets hung with the single lightening bolt symbol of the Hitler Youth. For mormal events the boys would wear white shirts instead of their sranndard brown shirts and white kneesocks instead of the normal grey kneesocks. They retained their black short pants. The drums usually had a kind of fire motif.


Interestingly as fond as the Young Pioneers were in marching in state organized parades, HBU has not yet noted any Pioner bands. This may be because HBU has not yet found much information on the various national Pioneer groups. Surely there must have been ceremonial music units. HBU has seen boys blowing the bugle. Perhaps there were drum aand bugle corps.


The Flemish VNJ, rather like the Hitler Youth, are fond of drum and buggle corps. We have also noted larger bands rather like Scout Bands we have seen in Britain. We are not sure how many VNJ units have bands or if there are competitioins like the ones in Britain. One popular event for VNJ groups is the annual Zang Feest. I have liitle information about this event. The VNJ groups have drum and bugle corps. I assume singing is also involved, but do not know at this time. The Zangfeest pictured here was held in April 2000.

Unknown Groups

We have noted some uniformed band groups that we cannnot yet identify. In some cases we know the country. They do not appear to be school groups, but rather a youth group band. Some may be unaffiliated independent bands. Other may be youth group bands in soecial uniforms rather than the uniform of the youth group itself.Hopefully HBU readers will help us to identigy them.


The popularity and nature of youth organizations and bands has varied widely from country to country. The English are best known for the bands sponsored by the Scouts. Scoutbands are also popular in the Netherlands. We note Scout bands in America, but rarely after World War. The Hitler Youth commonly had musical groups. Bands and musical units, however, have been sponsored in many other countries as well.


The Flemish VJR in Belgium, rather like the Hitler Youth, are fond of drum and buggle corps. One popular event for VNJ groups is the annual Zang Feest. I have liitle information about this event. The VNJ groups have drum and bugle corps. I assume singing is also involved, but do not know at this time. The Zangfeest pictured here was held in April 2000. I do not know if there are also Scout bands in Belgium. A Belgian reader writes, "In Flanders, almost no scoutbands exists, or they're really hard to find. In the region of Aalst, exists a Scouting-drumband, 'Met vel en gamel'. In the old days, lots of scoutgroups had a drumband. But marching bands aren't very polar these days. I believe there are still scoutgroups owning drums etcetera. Most bands are suffering shortage of members and if they still kind a exist, the level is low." [De Lobel]


We have noted both Scout and Boys' Brigade Bands in England. Actually the Church Lads may have fomed the first marching band forrmed by an uniformed youth group. Competitions between these bands are a popular summer activity in Britain. Great care is given to preparing the bands


HBU has interestingly not noted any indication that bands and musical units have ben an important part of French Scouting or other youth organizations.


The most recognizable Germand band units are the Hitlet Youth units active during the Third Reich. Marching Hitler Youth units were normally accompanied by small drum and buggle bands.

(The) Netherlands

Band competitiins among youth organizatins appear to be popular among Dutch youth groups. HBU has noted Dutch Scout groups participating in band competitions. We have also noted other groups participating in competitions and events, altough we can not at this time identify the non-Scout groups involved. A reader tells us, "The Netherlands are known for their scoutbands. They do have competitions. I believe there are 20 or 25 groups making the combination music and scouting." [De Lobel]

United States

We note Scout bands in America, but rarely after World War. I suspect the development of school bands, especially elaborate high school bands playing at football games, rather made Scoyt bands look rather inadequate in comparison.


The competitions are often quite intense. The uniforming is one of the areas in which the bands are judged.


De Lobel, Frederik. E-mail message, January 9, 2008.


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Created: December 2, 2000
Last updated: 11:21 PM 1/9/2008