Swiss Guard Band

The Swiss Guard Band (Latin: Pontificia Cohors Helvetica; Italian: Banda della Guardia Svizzera; German: Musik der Schweizergarde; French: Musique de la garde suisse) also known as the Guard-Internal Banda is a military band from the Vatican City that is a musical sub-unit of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, which serves as protection for the Pope and the Apostolic Palace.

Members of the band during a ceremony in May 2006.

It has since 2015 been led by François Fournier.[1]

There is a band located in Switzerland strictly consisting of band veterans.


The modern band was first founded in the year 1881. The first instrumentalists in the Swiss Guard included drummers and pipers, both of which were service in the unit in the 1500s, Between the unit's establishment and 1881, there was no formal bands for the guardsmen.[2]

One of the first photographs of the band is dated back to the 1890s.

In 2006, on the occasion 500th anniversary of the foundation of the Guard, the regular band was officially recognized as a special unit of the corps.[2]


It officially performs at the pleasure of the Pope, often playing at Papal inaugurations.[3] The Swiss Guard Band annually performs during a Christmas concert on St. Peter's Square and all official National Day (24 April) celebrations.[4][5]

In early December 2012, it released a Christmas CD. The funds from its sale benefited two charities in Switzerland and Zimbabwe.[2][6]

It cannot perform outside the Vatican walls without the direct permission of the Secretariat of State.[2]


The structure of the Band is as follows:[2]

  • Maestro (appointed by the guard's commandant)
  • President (responsible for the organization of the band)
  • Governing Committee
  • Musicians

Because the composition of the musicians always changes every few months, the band does not participate in very many major events during a given year.[2] An example of this is the Federal Music Festival in Montreux, which it participated in for the first time in 25 years in 2016.[7][8] The first time it participated in the festival was in 1991, which was the first time it had left the Vatican walls as a group.[9][10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Guardia Svizzera. Un nuovo maestro della banda musicale". January 2, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f amy.gress (2013-12-14). "Christmas with the Band of the Pontifical Swiss Guard". Inside The Vatican. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  3. ^ Guard, The Pontifical Swiss (April 5, 2016). The Vatican Cookbook: Presented by the Pontifical Swiss Guard: 500 Years of Classic Recipes, Papal Tributes, & Exclusive Images. Sophia Institute Press. ISBN 9781622823321 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Le attività ricreative della Guardia Svizzera Pontificia - Vatican News". July 23, 2019.
  5. ^ "Päpstliche Schweizergarde: Life in the Swiss Guard".
  6. ^ Moorhead, Joanna (December 5, 2012). "Swiss Guard band: On the front line of pope music" – via
  7. ^ "Fête de la musique: après 25 ans d'absence, la fanfare..."
  8. ^ "La fanfare de la Garde suisse pontificale à Montreux". SWI
  9. ^ "La Banda Musicale della Guardia Svizzera Pontificia (1991)". YouTube.
  10. ^ "Banda di Canobbio - viaggi".