The Rockville Concert Band was founded in 1957 by Frank R. Troy, Jr. He was the director until 1974. He was followed in 1975 by co-directors Steven and Carol Barnes. Dr. Robert Tennyson reigned from 1978 to September 1994, when he left to take a position in Austria. Dr. Vincent Patterson held the director’s position from July 1995 to 2009. John Saint Amour has led the band since 2010. Dr. Juan Gallastegui was selected as the associate music director in 2019.
The band is supported by the city of Rockville, Maryland, through the Department of Recreation and Parks. We have a current roster of approximately 75 members.
A constitution was first adopted by the city and the band in 1971, and was revised in 1980 and 1999. The purpose of the band, as stated in the constitution, is “to provide for the community of Rockville, Maryland, a concert band and a recreational outlet for adult musicians.” The goals are 1) to provide an organization which meets regularly as a musical outlet for adult musicians, 2) to encourage musicianship among adult musical performers, 3) to maintain the highest standards of performance within the limits and abilities of the membership of the band, 4) to provide concerts primarily for the city of Rockville, and 5) to present to the public in general the best in the tradition of both contemporary and classical band music.
All types of music are played by the band: classical transcriptions, original compositions for concert band, pops, Dixieland, marches, musicals, jazz, rock, patriotic, and novelties. Our concerts include holiday concerts, children’s concerts, and animation concerts with music from movies and television with an accompanying slide show. Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays at 8:15 p.m. throughout the year.
The band performs about 10 concerts each year. About six concerts are played during the fall, winter, and spring season at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Auditorium, Rockville Civic Center. Our outdoor season includes concerts at the Memorial Day ceremonies for Rockville and at various locations throughout the county. The band has played at the Antique and Classic Car Show in October on the grounds of the Rockville Civic Center. We have played concerts at Wheaton and Cabin John Regional Parks; at the Maryland Community Band Day; at the Washington National Cathedral; on the Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center; and at Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach, Delaware. The band had a festive 50th anniversary celebration in 2007, including having Keith Brion, dressed as John Philip Sousa, conducting a program typical of Sousa’s concerts.
The Rockville Concert Band has performed on the Ellipse, as entertainment for White House visitors; at the President’s Cup Regatta; at the Bicentennial celebrations in Philadelphia; for Flag Day ceremonies; for college commencement exercises; for special celebrations of Rockville’s sister city, Pinneberg, West Germany; and at various parks in the city of Rockville. The band has featured soloists on accordion, piano, xylophone, drum set, jug, and Alphorn, as well as on standard concert band instruments.
Two very memorable events for the band were European tours. The first, in 1989, was a fifteen-day tour with concerts in Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and West Germany, including a tour and concert in Rockville’s sister city Pinneberg (near Hamburg). The second, in 1994, was a seventeen-day tour with concerts in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and The Czech Republic, and sightseeing in Germany and Hungary. Both of these European tours were wonderful opportunities to raise our level of musicianship, to become closer as a group, and to see the world.
The band has fostered two additional musical ensembles: The Rockville Swing Band and The Rockville German Band. These bands play concerts in venues where smaller ensembles work better.