MYSORE: The Police Band, with its ensemble of 352 musicians from different districts, kept the audience entertained at Mysore Palace on Thursday.
Led by M.K. Rajendra, the band played popular tunes beginning with “Bharat Ki Jawan” as they marched out of the palace and took their positions in the open courtyard to the applause of the audience. After the “General Salute”, a number composed to greet the VIPs, the band played “Jal Pakshi” and followed it up with other tunes for nearly 90 minutes.
Interestingly, the Police Band does not perform in any cultural programme other than the Mysore Dasara in view of its close connection to the palace. The Wadiyars were great patrons of music and the Police Band has existed since 1868 when the Maharaja of Mysore Chamaraja Wadiyar constituted a Palace Band for royal ceremonies. The Palace Band morphed into another band, which was floated by the Mysore Palace during the regime of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, called the Carnatic Band.
The Carnatic Band was integrated with the Police Department in 1951 and was called the Mysore Government Orchestra. It is now popularly called the Police Band. Though the sanctioned strength is 32, during the Dasara festivities, talented musicians from the Police Department come together to showcase their talent.