Bayley, John

Likely Bandmaster Bayley 1897

Bandmaster John Bayley was born 10 February, 1846 in Windsor, Berkshire, England to John Bayley and Caroline Matilda Bradley. He was Bandmaster of the 46th (South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot from the early to mid 1870’s. Moving back to Canada in 1877 he took over as Bandmaster of the Queen’s Own from William Carey in 1879. It is said that under Bayley’s baton the band reached heights never before attained. The Queen’s Own were in such great demand that it was impossible to fill one quarter of the engagements offered by the numerous municipalities who were anxious to secure the services of the band, each week bringing requests to profitably occupy them for a month. During this period the Queen’s Own swept the board at every band contest for which they entered, toured Canada from east to west, and charmed way through most of the United States. In I901 Bayley was succeeded by Bandmaster G. L. Timpson, Bayley moved to the United States.

Bayley married Sarah Elizabeth Astin in 1875, they had two sons and a daughter. He died 14 January 1918 in Portland, Oregon.

From the Canadian Encyclopedia:

Bandmaster John Bayley, clarinetist, violinist and organist was born in Windsor, England about 1847, son of John Bayley (d 1871).

John Sr who was trained in Chelsea (London) at the Royal Military Asylum for boys, became a cornet soloist and conductor and took his family to Philadelphia about 1850, to San Francisco about 1857, and, in the excitement of the Fraser River gold rush, to Victoria, BC, in 1858.

While inspector of police there, the father conducted the Victoria Philharmonic Society in the first concerts given in that city. At the opening one 6 May 1859 the younger Bayley played a clarinet solo that was ‘enthusiastically encored’ (Victoria Gazette, 10 May 1859). He was also heard as a violinist. Bayley Sr returned to England in 1861, in part to provide his son with a musical education.

The boy studied violin with Leopold Jansa and harmony with Henry Wylde at the London Academy of Music. He was bandmaster of the 46th Regiment for seven years (part of the time possibly in Canada), then returned to Canada, living 1877-9 in Montreal and, as bandmaster 1879-1901 of the Queen’s Own Rifles, in Toronto. He was also second violin 1884-7 of the Toronto String Quartette and first violin of the 1894 TSQ, and formed a Citizens’ Band which performed for a season (1887) on Toronto’s Centre Island.

Bayley was described by Herbert L. Clarke (in his autobiography How I Became a Cornetist) as ‘a finished musician of high order; he was a remarkable organist… and one of the best clarinettists I have ever heard in my life’.

The Battalion on Parade 1897 Bandmaster Bayley is centre just right of the Pioneers QOR Museum photo

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