He is a composer, arranger, music director, conductor
and producer born Howard Reid Cable in Toronto, Ontario. He took his musical studies as a
bandmaster and conducting at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music,
graduating with an Associate diploma in 1939, and took further studies at
Parkdale Collegiate Institute in clarinet, oboe and piano.
In 1935 he became the leader of the dance band The Cavaliers
and remained with them until 1941.
During this time he also continued with his education at the Toronto
Conservatory of Music and worked for the Toronto radio station CFRB as a
scriptwriter and programmer from 1936 and working as a composer for the CBC
in 1941. He went on to also
become the main conductor and arranger for CBC with his Howard Cable
Concert Band after Percy Faith relocated to Chicago in 1941.
He entered the broadcasting area of music when he
wrote and arranged the original theme for The Saturday Game in 1952,
which was one of the programmes aired as part of Hockey Night in Canada. This led to him arranging and
conducting for many other radio and television shows during the 1960s as
well as producing and directing various Canadian events. He then arranged “The Hockey Theme”
by Dolores Claman in 1968, which replaced his own music and it has since
been dubbed “Canada’s Second National Anthem”.
In 1962 he went to the Colorado Springs in the United
States and conducted the NORAD Command Band for the next four years. He went to New York in 1964 to work
as an arranger on Broadway and also do some conducting in the studio. After
finishing his tenure with them he became the executive producer for
Montreal’s Expo 67.
In 1971 he hosted his own hugely popular Howard Cable
Presents radio show, which ran for 14 years on CHRE-fm. Also during the 1970s he became a
composer and arranger for the Canadian Brass with this association lasting
two decades over which he produced over eighty arrangements and
Aside from his work with bands and orchestras, he
worked with many singers such as Tony Bennett, Victor Borge, Ella
Fitzgerald, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye and Peggy Lee. He also spent time teaching at Toronto’s Humber College
Music Department from 1983 to 1985 and in 1989 he started a musical theatre
technique and production training program at Dalhousie University which ran
for two years.
His compositions, often written for bands and wind
ensembles include “Good Medicine”, “Newfoundland Rhapsody”, “O Canada”,
“Quebec Folk Rhapsody”, “Scottish Rhapsody”, “Snake Fence Country”, his
choral works include “Anne of Green Gables” and Up On a Rooftop” and his
march “The Ten Provinces” is performed daily on Parliament Hill, Ottawa,
during the summer.
Continually active he has been regularly invited since
1986 to be a guest conductor for various Canadian symphony orchestras and
ensembles. He has also written
music and arrangements for many of these groups.
Recognised for his achievements in music he was
awarded the Canadian Band Director’s Association Award in 1980, received an
honorary doctorate from the University of Lethbridge and honoured by his
home nation when he was made a Member or the Order of Canada in 1999.
Edmonton Wind Ensemble recordings
Snake Fence Country (Howard Cable)
CBC Records SMCD 5165
Conductor – Harry Pinchin