Miguel C. (MC) Meyrelles (16 September 1830, Oporto, Portugal – 30 May 1909, Leavenworth, Ks.) was a Portuguese-born American compose, conductor and arranger.
Meyrelles enlisted in the Portuguese Army, serving as bandmaster of the Imperial Portuguese Army Band. Dom Pedro, Emperor of Brazil, awarded him a medal for his musical proficiency and exemplary conduct as director of the Imperial Band. After his discharge from the army, Meyrelles led the band at the Crystal Palace in Oporto for five years.
Miguel, along with his brothers Pedro and Joaquin, immigrated to the United States in 1870. Upon his arrival in America, Miguel Meyrelles joined Gilmore's Band in Boston and later moved to New York with him when he assumed leadership of the 22nd Regiment Band. In 1883, Meyrelles became leader of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry Band, then stationed at Fort Custer, Montana. The band remained in the Northwest for nine years and found much success in both military and civilian engagements.
In 1885, the 2nd Cavalry Band was stationed in the Walla Walla, Washington, Territory. The local press praised the band's performances. Beginning in 1886, the band filled an engagement at the Mechanics Fair in Portland, Oregon, for three consecutive years. The band so impressed the fair management that they presented Meyrelles with a gold medal in 1886, an ebony baton in 1887, and an ebony cane with a gold-scrolled head in 1888. While the band was stationed in Walla Walla, Meyrelles also served as director of the Walla Walla Oratorio Society, and this group also enjoyed a fine reputation.
As early as 1880, Meyrelles began to suffer ill health. In May of 1886, he was severely injured when thrown from a buggy, and in 1890, he underwent two operations for severe gallstone attacks. He recovered from these infirmities, but they took their toll. When the 2nd Cavalry was sent to new quarters at Fort Wingate, New Mexico, in 1892, he could not adjust to the climate and was discharged on May 10 of that year.
After discharge, he lived for little more than a year in the New Bedford, Massachusetts, area, which has a large Portuguese population. In 1894, at the age of 64, he was appointed the music and band director of the Soldiers' Home in Washington, D.C. He held this position at the time of his death in October of 1900.
While his compositions are few, the name M.C. Meyrelles is familiar to over four generations of bandsmen as the prolific and talented arranger and transcriber for the publishing house of Carl Fischer in the latter part of the 19th century.
Miguel Meyrelles had over 1,000 compositions and arrangements published between 1880 and 1900. He was the leading arranger of that era, both in terms of quantity as well as quality, and his work laid the foundation for other arrangers such as T.M. Tobani, V.F. Safranek, T.H. Rollinson, L.P. Laurendeau, and Tom Clark. Many of Meyrelles's arrangements of the classics are still in use a century after they were first published.
Works for Winds
- Barber of Seville (as arranger) (1816/1899)
- Coronation March from "The Prophet" (as arranger) (1849/1891)
- Inflammatis from "Stabat Mater" (as arranger, with Laurendeau) (1842/1911)
- Invitation to the Dance (as arranger) (1816/1891)
- Musician's Strike (as arranger, with Barber) (1885/2013)
- Poet and Peasant Overture ((as arranger) (1845/1911)
- Rienzi Overture (as arranger) (1842/1892)
- Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Miguel Meyrelles." Accessed 23 March 2020
- MC Meyrelles." HeBu. Web. Accessed 23 March 2020