There were only seventeen boys rehearsing that June day in 1957. Conducting his own backyard session was SYB’s founder W. Russell Kline. By 1958, the SACRAMENTO SYMPHONIC BAND had 40 members, giving its first concert at Stanford Junior High, Dwight Breed was the first solist. Ages ranged from 8 to 10. A Parent’s Association was formed. Officer’s James Alvey (President) and Ken Scotland (Finance) directed this team of supporters. Men like Ed Sauer, Charley Johnson, William Bennett, Ray Gaither, Doug Bell, Lou Coppola, Bob Pollock would follow. Women such as Dorothy Barnes, Delcie Hazzard, Amy Green, Joe Baumgartner, Helen Cummings, Mary Schmidt Bennett and Minnie Anderson would make extensive efforts.
By 1959-60 over 75 youngsters played at County Fairs and dedications Soloists included Corky Barnes and Roger Kubler. Sponsorship came from active 20-30 and Optimist Clubs, Musicians Local #12 and the City of Sacramento thanks to the hard work of Ken Scotland.
In the 1962-63 period, the band became a marching unit, changed its name to the Sacramento Youth Band, played before a high of 35,000 people, and was twice invited to YB Jubilee at the L.A County Fair. 100 youngsters belonged to SYB and wore new uniforms of maroon jackets with black pants. Solists included Tim Lawrence, Bob Montgomery, Dave Green, Paula Caplinger and Richard Birdlake, The Junior Band was formed in 1963.
The 1964-65 era found SYB marching to 17 parades, performing at 18 concerts. Camp Sacramento Music Camp was held in July of 1965. A 5-city mountain tour, Optimist All-Star Football Game and the Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos in Sacramento were extras. Barbara Sauer, Gary Larkey and Bill Owens were the main soloists. The Alvey, Pollock, Sanborn and Walsh families were hard at work behind the scenes.
From 1966-69, SYB highlights included a summer Music Camp in the Sierras, jet and bus trips to Disneyland, a 5-day tour of Northern California, including Mount Shasta, Alturas, Quincy and Weaverville; performing for the Apollo 10 heros in Sacramento; trip down the Sacramento River on the Delta King; and concerts at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in 1966, 1967 and 1968. Solists: Stan Kline, Bob Johnson, Steve Rock, Michael Butterfield, Gary Reynolds, David Sandord and Rex Kline. Extra efforts by Fred Chritopel, Dick Gury, Marcia Trimble Peters, Minnie Anderson, The Bennett’s, Fergusons, Gaithers, Roberts, and many others helped Russ Kline to make SYB so popular.
The 1970-75 era was exciting with the rebirth of the Stage Band at the 1974 week long music camp at Gold Rush Resort near Coloma. The outstanding unit of the Corinthian Guard winning award after award, and the new red, white, and blue uniforms in 1974. Besides the regular trips to Santa Clara, San Francisco, etc., they marched at the Frog Jumping Jubilee in Angels Camp, “Old Spanish Days” in Santa Barbara, “Mother Goose” Parade in El Cajon, concerts in William Land Park that they had been doing each summer since 1958. They also played for a National Hockey League game in Oakland, Pioneer Days in Chico, Escalon Spring Festival, Turlock Round-up, Vacaville Fiesta, Shasta District Fair, Contra Costa County Fair, etc. Soloists included: Cathy Howard, Steve Rock, Doug Bell, Don Abel, John Z’Berg, Richard Anderson, Ron Cunha, Jeff Knezovich, Jackie Avilar, Mike Bybee, Charlie Coppola, Nancy Balser, Steve Yee, Bill Hocking, Kendall Yee, Philip Laing. Doug Bell and Lou Coppola did the impossible by raising $12,000 for new the uniforms. Henry Kinkel then devoted his time to taking care of the new uniforms. Others with extra efforts were the Yee, Balser, Mullen, Hocking, Ferguson, Woolford and Nieto Families and Vern Deming and as ever, Ray Gaither and Minnie Anderson.
In the 1976-81 era, inflation and Prop. 13 changed some aspects of SYB. Travel became very expensive, the summer William Land Park Concerts were cut, and schools began to charge for using their facilities for concerts etc. Trips included Disneyland, Vallejo, Corte Madera, Salinas, Escalon, Napa, Newman, Lodi, Grass Valley, Soquel, Santa Clara, Reno, Santa Cruz, Stockton, Sonora, performances at Rancho Murieta and Old Sacramento and Cal Expo brought recognition by Channel 3. Column by Herb Michelson on Ray Gaither (Another Music Man) and his involvement in GO BIG TRAIN – Karen A. Michaels Days. The little ones delighting the crowds in 1979 and 1980 (Sean Sweet, Tanja Anguay, Traci Athey and Cathy Carda, and in 1981 Phillip Mitchell and Maurice Wheatley). Soloists: Scott Lindfeldt, Janet Gaither, Kathy Grinager, David Repace, Vince Vasquez, Ken Frisbee, Gary Hawkins, Brad Wetmore, Stacy Yee, Mary Simas, Linda Holland, Jeff Bertacchi, Tom McCandless, Janelle Sanjo, Dawn Love, Amy McAmis, and Rich Carlson. Bev Duffek organized the trips during this time besides the car washes, dances etc. Thelma Mullen made flag girl uniforms, and arranged performances, Ray Gaither continued to be at every practice and performance caring for instruments and band members. The entire Gaither family helped SYB in every way. Minnie Anderson returned to help with four concerts just because she “luvs” the band.
The Eighties brought more changes, including new directors, and new uniforms. Highlights included the Music Circus, San Diego (Sea World, Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo), Magic Mountain, Newport Beach Boat Parade, and the World Exposition in Vancouver, Canada. EXPO ’86 had the band representing not only Sacramento, but the whole State for the wee of California Days. Soloists included Gary Hawkins, Roger Beam, Kellie Boring, Catherine Mauch, Phillip Mitchell III, Stephanie Bolles and David Wilkinson. Ray Gaither was still a mainstay with assists from Sam Kashiwagi, Mary Mauch, and Mike Duffek.
As we enter the new millennium, SYB is on the upswing, and new horizons beckon. The band is offering new friendships, new challenges and a chance for a new generation of musicians to grow and expand their talents.