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The Portuguese Band of San José was founded in 1971 by Mr. Eleutério Borba. The band’s nickname is Banda Velha, which means “Old Band”.  The Portuguese Band of San José is the oldest current Portuguese marching band in all of California, but not the first to be founded by Eleutério Borba.

There were several Portuguese marching bands founded in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, but they faded away over the years. In fact, some were founded by the famous Portuguese composer John Philip Sousa, who composed most of our familiar American military marches.


In June of 1971 during the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Spirit sponsored by the Irmandade do Espírito Santo (I.E.S.),

Rev. Carlos Macedo, then pastor of Five Wounds Portuguese National Church, was in procession with the congregation in devotion to the Holy Spirit. With Fr. Macedo were co-celebrant priests and the crown of the Holy Spirit, as well as an older gentleman playing the hymn of the Holy Spirit on an accordion. This was the scene that inspired Eleutério Borba with the idea that a marching band was a necessity.


He spoke to Fr. Macedo about his idea and wanted the pastor’s support and guidance in founding the first Portuguese marching band in California in many years. The two risk takers set out to find musicians to start a band.Rev. Carlos Macedo.


Just a few weeks later, they held the first meeting of many whose result would be the founding of the Portuguese Band of San José. The meeting minutes of the first and subsequent meetings leading up the the band’s inauguration can be accessed below.


The Portuguese Band of San José was inaugurated on February 13, 1972. The special guest in attendance was Dr. José Moreira de Campos Alves, Consul General of Portugal in San Francisco. The master of ceremonies was Mr. Joaquim Esteves, and the inaugural program was:


9:30 a.m.    Ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the I.E.S. Hall

                   performed by the band’s godmother–Barbara Silva.

9:45 a.m.    Anthems performed in front of Five Wounds

                   Portuguese National Church.

10:00 a.m.  Mass celebrating the inauguration of the

                   Portuguese Band of San José.

11:00 a.m.  Lunch at the I.E.S. Hall.

2:00 p.m.    Card Party

5:30 p.m.    The Portuguese Band of San José performs 

                    their first concert.

Amparito Roca (P.D.)

Pequena Sinfonia

Flor do Topo (P.D.)

União e Lealdade

Um Ano Depois (Overture)

Ferreira do Santos (P.D.)

O Cigano


The founding musicians of the

Portuguese Band of San José:


Eleutério José de Borba (Conductor)

João de Castro (Assistant Conductor)

António Alvernaz Gene Arruda

José Domingos Arruda Agostinho Bettencourt

José António O. Borba • João G. Dutra

Tony Dutra • Silvino Espinola

Joe A. Fagundes • Manuel A. Furtado

Vital A. GarciaJosé Maciel Gois

Manuel Goulart • José Manuel Medeiros

Manuel Medeiros • Norberto Medeiros  

Tom MedeirosJosé João Melo

Artur F. MonizGilberto Nunes Sr.

José RodriguesFlorindo Santos

João A. Santos • Jorge Manuel Sequeira

José R. SerpaFrank Silva

Manuel A. Sousa • Manuel Bettencourt Sousa

Luis TosteAmaranto Vitorino • Leonel Vitorino          


Since its founding, the Portuguese Band of San José has flourished while proudly representing the Portuguese culture throughout California and beyond.

Portuguese Band of San José

Mr. Eleutério Borba

Portuguese Band of San José

Rev. Carlos Macedo

Portuguese Band of San José Flag

Inaugural Flag

Portuguese Band of San José Logo

PB San Jose Logo

Portuguese Band of San José Band 1972

1972 Inaugural Photo

Portuguese Band of San José band 2016

2016 Current Band Photo

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