San Diego Concert Band: Band About Town

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by Bruce Rainey

April 14, 2013 Concert: 4 p.m. Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center 6845 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92115

Community groups are an integral part of Americana. The San Diego Concert Band proudly carries on this tradition. Based in East County, we serve San Diego and neighboring counties and have acted as cultural ambassadors during overseas performances.

Originally founded as La Mesa Community Band in 1989 by Charles D. Yates and Warren Toms, the San Diego Concert Band continues to deliver the best in concert orchestral music to audiences in San Diego and abroad. Celebrating nearly two and a half decades of entertainment for San Diego residents, this group has planned an exciting concert schedule this year.

Over the years, the annual spring and winter concerts have been performed throughout the county, including the East County Performing Arts Center, the beautiful setting of Point Loma Nazarene University, and the Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center.

strip 6A more laid-back summer series of “concerts in the park” is performed at the Southern California Community Band Festival (in Poway), Harry Griffen Park in La Mesa, La Jolla Cove and Balboa Park. The group frequently performs solos, full sections and small ensembles and the group has featured many local artists and celebrities including Pat Brown, Larry Himmel, Joe Pechola, George Roberts and Kingsley McLaren. For many years, Pat Brown has been our mistress of ceremonies for the annual holiday celebration. Most recently, Joe Pechola was the featured holiday soloist, performing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch from the Dr. Seuss TV special.”

A wide range of music is played, from concert arias, film scores and marches to concert pieces for symphony orchestra. At its peak, the group sold the 1200-seat East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) twice in 1991. At the time, the group had over 100 local musicians.

The San Diego Concert Band strives to provide the audience and band musicians with a variety of musical experiences, including formal concerts with an educational and fun musical experience for the audience and a stimulating musical experience for the musicians; informal / summer concerts with a musical theme for the audience and exposure to a wide variety of musical styles for the musicians; and a place of ‘low pressure’ training, performance experience and skill enhancement for the individual musician.

Members of the San Diego Concert Band come from all walks of life, from high school students to retirees. The members live in various parts of San Diego County and choose to work with our group because of its musical challenges, performance schedules, and personal convenience. Many members play in other community groups or musical groups. A few of our members are professional musicians, usually music teachers in the school system. The group recently saw one of its members, Mr. Richard Robinette, inducted into the California Alliance for Jazz Hall of Fame.

strip 4There is no limitation on skills because the band has no hearing requirements. The range of talents represented in the group literally goes from novice to professional. In many cases, a new band member, when asked to introduce himself, will say that he has not played “formally” for 10 to 20 years. This underscores the veracity of the original recruiting call, “If you used to play in high school or college and missed the fun, come join the San Diego Community Band.”

Our conductor Roy Anthony, Jr., retired from teaching instrumental music full time in 2003. His bands have performed in Australia, Spain, France, Italy, Hawaii. and in the eastern and western regions of the United States. In 1996, Mr. Anthony was invited to participate in the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics which took place in Sydney, Australia in September 2000.

After his retirement, Mr. Anthony was a music teacher / mentor in middle and high schools in San Diego County. He has served as a conductor of the San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra, director and director of the district and community honor groups, guest director of the San Diego County Honor Group, of the Honorary Orchestra and director of the A11-State Honor Group.

We invite everyone to come and enjoy the music of the San Diego Concert Band. Our upcoming concerts include these dates and times:

  • April 14, 2013 4 p.m. Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center
  • May 4, 2013 2 p.m. Temecula Community Band Festival
  • May 19, 2013 3 p.m. Poway Festival (Old Poway Park)
  • June 23, 2013 6 pm “Sunday at Six” (Griffen Park, La Mesa)
  • June 30, 2013 2 p.m. Independence Day (St. Dunstan Church)
  • July 21, 2013 Fundraising for water conservation to be confirmed
  • August 6, 2013 6:15 pm “Twilight in the Park” (Balboa Park, Organ pavilion)

For more information about the group, please visit our website

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