Bandmaster (Founder)

José Gonçalves de Freitas

He was born on 27 August 1884 in Caminho Grande e Ribeira d’Alforra, Camara de Lobos. He started his music career playing E-flat clarinet in the Banda Recreio dos Lavradores (Banda Municipal de Câmara de Lobos) under Mr. Noronha.

After some misunderstandings amongst the core members of the Banda Recreio dos Lavradores, José Gonçalves de Freitas and some of the other original members decided to leave the group.

So, on 1 December 1910, José Gonçalves de Freitas founded the Filarmónica Recreio Camponês (now known as Banda Recreio Camponês) with approximately twelve original members.

Even at the young age of 26, the Founder was a highly regarded and respected man, not only by the members of his Philharmonic Band but also by many of his supporters.

He died suddenly on 30 November 1913 at the age of 29.


João Ornelas de Abreu

Born on 19 December 1898 in Ribeiro d’Alforra e Fonte Garcia, Câmara de Lobos, he started his music training when he was 11 years old in the Banda Recreio Camponês, a few months after it was established, with the master José Gonçalves de Freitas.

The first instrument he played was the piccolo, some years later he learnt the clarinet. He was also taught the violin by Mr. Guilherme Nuno (Conductor for BRC 1915-1918). He went on to play at countless religious events in different churches across the archipelago.

At the age of 20, he was elected by both musicians and supporters to be bandmaster for the Banda Recreio Camponês. He continued to lead the band until 1972, being Master for a total of 54 years which is an unusually long period of time.

During this time, he was known as ''Master Ornelas,'' because he fulfilled many functions related to the organisation: he was a Master, teacher and copyist as well as the President, Secretary and Treasurer.

In 1972, due to his health and age, he handed over his leadership to one of his pupils, João Figueira Quintal.

He died on 2 February 1985.


João Figueira Quintal

Born in 1934 in Ribeiro Real, in the parish of Camara de Lobos, he comes from a family with a long history of musical traditions.

He played the saxophone before moving on to the E-flat and B-flat clarinets.

Joao Figueira Quintal began his musical career when he was 15 years old. He became a professional musician at the age of 20 when he joined the Military Band in 1955. During this period, he moved up the ranks till he reached the position of Chief-Sergeant, playing the clarinet.

He was also a student for several years at the Academy which is now known as the School of Arts. During this time he became a very good violinist not only for the
Orquestra de Câmara da Madeira (of which he is a founding member) but also in religious music, enriching many religious events in various churches throughout the archipelago of Madeira.

He led the band from 1972 until 2000.

Bandmaster (actual)

Nélio de Freitas Silva

Nélio de Freitas Silva, born on 28 August 1971 in Câmara de Lobos, began his musical career in 1983 in the Banda Recreio Camponês School of Music and the Academia de Música da Madeira (now the Conservatório) studying the clarinet.

In 1989, he enlisted in the army as a volunteer, through which he became involved with the Banda Militar da Madeira. In 1990 he joined the Banda Sinfónica do Exército as a student enrolling on the training course for Band Sergeants.

On successful completion of the course, he rejoined the personnel at Banda Militar da Madeira in 1992, this time as 1st Band Sergeant.

In 1998, he was appointed as Deputy Head of the Banda Recreio Camponês and teacher of music, and went on to lead the band in the year 2000 following the departure of Chief Sergeant Quintal.

In 2003 he successfully completed a course for promotion to Assistant Sergeant.

In 2007, he was invited by the Associação de Bandas da Madeira to run two concerts with the Orquestra de Sopros da Associação de bandas.