richmond youth concert band
The Inside Story

Band History

Originally called the Richmond Secondary Schools Representative Band, it was formed in 1976 as an honour band with a six week season. The band continued through 1977 and in May 1978 performed for Richmond's sister city twinning ceremonies in Wakayama, Japan. In September 1978 the band became a permanent fixture in the Richmond fine arts community, changed its name to RYCB, and grew into its current format of a full concert band with jazz ensemble. The RYCB has enjoyed the directorship of music educators Ken Hackwell, Earl Hobson, Len Kay, Garth Bowen and its present director, David Fromager.

In the early years, the RYCB travelled to Britain and the Northwest Territory. Now the RYCB stays closer to home and has taken part in numerous festivals in the British Columbia Lower Mainland and has shared the stage with the Richmond Orchestra, Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Wind Symphony, Delta Youth Orchestra and Richmond Youth Orchestra.

The RYCB has always been involved in the community, performing at various venues such as senior centres, community events (Steveston Salmon Festival and Santa Claus Parade, Rick Hansen's Man In Motion Run), Expo'86, and most recently the Richmond O-Zone for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

In 2008 the RYCB celebrated its 30th anniversary. This was also British Columbia's 150th anniversary. The RYCB was fortunate to have the support of the provincial government and was able commission music to celebrate the event.

The Richmond Youth Concert Band is not part of the Richmond School District's Fine Arts Program. It is a separate entity and relies on membership fees, fund raising events and various grants to fund its program.

Supporting the Community

The RYCB supports its community by providing opportunities for the band members to raise funds for other community organizations. Over the years the RYCB has been involved in fundraising events for the development of Gateway Theatre in Richmond, Tsunami Relief, Richmond Family Place and our ongoing partnership with the Richmond Food Bank. We also support the Rotary Club in their annual Winter Wonderland event.

The Richmond Food Bank Society is the recipient of the RYCB's community support. The premiere concert of each season is the Food Bank Benefit Concert. Admission to the concert is a donation (in cash or non-perishable food) to the Food Bank.

In the spring the RYCB holds its Musical Gala. This event is a dinner, concert and silent auction. The band members work very hard preparing for the performance and the parent association works equally hard organizing the event and gathering items for the auction. The Richmond Food Bank Society is the recipient of a large portion of the funds raised at this event.

Musical Opportunities and Education

The RYCB sponsors the Richmond Elementary Honour Band (also known as the REHB). The REHB is composed of predominantly grade 7 students who are taking music at their elementary school. Auditions for the Richmond Elementary Honour Band are held in late January. The REHB rehearses from February to May, when they share the stage with the RYCB at the Music for Moms concert. Members of the REHB and other music students in grade 7 are encouraged to audition for the Richmond Youth Concert Band.

Auditions for the Richmond Youth Concert Band are held in the first week of June each year. Those students who are accepted are notified during the summer and rehearsals start in early September. Individual auditions during the year can be arranged on an individual basis. Rehearsals are held every Monday evening from September to May, from 7- 9 pm, (school closures and statutory holidays excepted). Students accepted into the RYCB may also join the jazz ensemble which rehearses one hour earlier.

The musical repertoire for the RYCB is in the Grade 2.5-4 range and is chosen from a variety of genres: classical, modern, romance, movie, marches, etc.

Many RYCB graduates continue to keep music part of their lives. Some members have gone on to become professional musicians, teachers and composers while others continue to play music as a hobby. Regardless, they all believe that music is an integral part of their lives.

Fall Retreat

The Richmond Youth Concert Band holds its annual Retreat Weekend in Whistler, BC. The retreat is in late October and coincides with the province-wide pubic school professional day. Participation in the Retreat Weekend is mandatory. The fee for the trip is included in the registration fee and covers transportation, accommodation, instructional clinics and all meals (except Sunday lunch). This is a working retreat and provides a jump start to the Band's cohesive sound for the coming year.

We stay at Ramada Harrison Hot Springs. All activities are held in the hotel. Parent volunteers act as chaperones during the trip. The band travels to and from Harrison Hot Springs by chartered bus.

Band members participate in multiple rehearsals and individual or small group instruction throughout the weekend. Music students and instructors from Kwantlen Polytechnic University provide the small group instruction and join in with the full band rehearsals. Dr. Wayne Jeffrey attends the retreat as a guest conductor. The retreat concludes with a concert in the hotel's lobby on Saturday evening.

Winter Workshop

In late January or early February of each year the RYCB has a half-day intensive performance workshop with professional musicians from the greater Vancouver area. This workshop, in small group format, builds on the instruction RYCB members received in the fall and helps them prepare for the upcoming concerts. The workshop is held at Palmer Secondary school.

Musical Gala

Preparation for the event starts in the fall and continues through the winter with development of the dinner menu and collection of donations from merchants for the silent and live auctions. The event itself is a very enjoyable evening of great live music, an awesome Chinese dinner (with something for everyone) and fantastic items in the silent and live auctions.

Bursaries and Scholarships (Higher Education)

Every year, RYCB gives out a number of bursaries and scholarships.

Bursaries are for encouraging the musical growth of a deserving member of RYCB. The bursary is to be applied in the form of a partial reimbursement to the cost of continuing involvement in music (i.e. tuition [lessons, workshops, summer camps], RYCB registration fees, sheet music or accessories, repairing or maintaining instruments).

Scholarships are for encouraging and actively supporting those students who choose to pursue further studies in music at a recognized institution. In addition, one or more general scholarships are offered to encourage and support students who plan to continue their studies in other areas.

Please download the RYCB Bursary and Scholarship Application Form for more information on eligibility requirements, the procedure for applying, the selection criteria and the relevant dates and deadlines.