In 1970 Dr. John Birrell, pediatrician, initiated The Hippocratic Oath Big Band. Many of the members were physicians. Over the years musicians from other walks of life joined the band, and therefore the name was changed to The Oath Big Band. John has retired from medical practice and the band. After moving to Victoria he has returned to Calgary. He is considered to be the father of the band. John had been a member of The Musical Medics, which played during the '50's and '60's, and was the precursor of the Oath Big Band. John writes,

"It is impossible to write the history of the Hippocratic Oath Big Band without recognizing the existence of the Musical Medics Doctors Big Band which was founded in 1953 by Dr. Noel Smith, and nurtured by him, until his intimely passing in 1964. Without his leadership the Musical Medics slipped into oblivion. Six years later (1970) I, having enjoyed a great rewarding personal experience with the Musical Medics, decided it was time to establish another band. The following "history", hopefully, will allow the reader to understand and appreciate the challenges, frustrations, excitement and great fun of developing a very professional big band during its formative years, The Hippocratic Oath, now well known in the community as "The Oath".

  The History of the Musical Medics Doctors Big Band, by John D. Birrell, M.D.
The History of the Oath Big Band to 1978, by John D. Birrell, M.D.

  The band's logo shows the medicinal worm (snake) entwined around a note, reflecting the origin of the group.