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Sep 22, 2021

The B.D.F. Marching Band; Decades of Service to Belize

You’ve seen them providing musical accompaniment at official ceremonies across the country, especially during September festivities. The Belize Defense Force Marching Band has been in existence for well over three decades. Some of its oldest members have been committed to the band from a young age, like Ivor Cacho who has served in the band for just under thirty years, and Captain Kevin Campbell who joined the band at the age of sixteen. Tonight we take a look at these two upstanding members whom New Five’s Paul Lopez interviewed at an event on Sunday. Here is that story.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The Belize Defense Force Marching Band, at the wreath-laying ceremony for the tenth anniversary of the death of the Father of the Nation, was playing the hymn Onward Christian Soldier when elderly band player Ivor Cacho had to be walked off the set.


Ivor Francisco Cacho

Ivor Francisco Cacho, B.D.F. Band Member

“I got right back in. It was a good thing. My foot was getting tired a little, and hence the reason I said, it is best for me to just take a rest. I no longer can take this standing and the long parades and thing like this.”


Cacho has been a master saxophonist in military band for the past three decades.


Ivor Francisco Cacho

“I have enjoyed this band for so many years. I have been enjoying this band when we go to camps, battle camps and things like that. The band was the one that makes thing happen and we make joyful noise out in the forest.”


Another upstanding member of the B.D.F. Marching Band is Captain Kevin Campbell. He joined the band at the age of sixteen. He is now the Director of Music.


Kevin Campbell

Captain Kevin Campbell, Director of Music, B.D.F.

“As a young man, there was this organization called the boy’s brigade because I am Methodist. I always had to be in church, in my uniform. Then at the age of sixteen, I wanted to join the B.D.F. and serve as a musician. That is where it all started for me. I joined the band at the Belize Defense Force at sixteen and I have been in there ever since. I actually retired in 2015 and I got a new mandate in 2018, and I am back.”


Campbell expresses his love for Belize, through his musical services. His passion is on full display when he is in director mode.


Captain Kevin Campbell

“It is humbling, but at the same time, as we ascend the hill and we reach points like that we had this morning, all of the hard work came together. And, service to such a man, service to such a nation, is more than fulfilling to know that those that have gone ahead. Our bandsmen that were buried as well, that we do so in honor of them, in honor of our nation, Belize.”


Steven Ortega

Brigadier General Steven Ortega is playing a pivotal role in seeing that a Regular Force Band is established from this volunteer battalion and that its members receive formal musical training. As Commander of the Belize Defense Force, he told us just how proud he is of the service these men have given to the nation.


Brigadier General Steven Ortega, Commander of B.D.F.

“I have known Mr. Cacho basically since I have joined the force and he has been playing with the band. And, he plays the Sax and he plays really good. He is one of the guys we can call upon and call whenever. Not only for official functions such as this, when there is marching involved, but, also when we have dinner nights at the mess, and other small functions. We decided to have a regular force band and that is why I asked Director Campbell to come in, and re-commission him, so that he can help guide the direction of this Regular Force Band. And, I must say that we are doing pretty well right now. We have a lot of younger folks coming in. These guys actually go through the normal recruit process as for every soldier, because they have to be a soldier first, and music second.”


Just as he got back in the lineup and continued playing for the official ceremonies on Sunday, Cacho says he is not quite ready to take his final bow.


Paul Lopez


“How long do you intend to keep this up sir?”


Ivor Francisco Cacho

“Well, I can go on a couple more years. I still got a little wind left in me, probably a couple more years, but not more. With the military, you go to a certain age, and then you have to bow out gently and leave, you know what I mean.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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