Woodwinds - April 1966(More photos in Photo Albums Page)
Woodwinds - April 1966(More photos in Photo Albums Page)

First Rehearsal 

Under the name Sacramento Symphonic Band, June 1957, backyard session conducted by founder W. Russell Kline of Sacramento’s longtime Kline Music 


First Concert 


Held in 1958 at Stanford Junior High in Land Park. Band member Dwight Breed performed as SYB’s first soloist.


Founding Members


After its first year, Sacramento Symphonic Band boasted 40 youth members. 


President James Alvey and Finance Officer Ken Scotland led the first SYB parents associations. Other supporters included Minnie Anderson, Dorothy Barnes, Joe Baumgartner, Doug Bell, William Bennett, Mary Schmidt Bennett, Lou Coppola, Helen Cummings, Ray Gaither, Amy Green, Delcie Hazzard, Charley Johnson, Bob Pollock and Ed Sauer.




More than 75 band members played at county fairs and dedications. Soloists included Corky Barnes and Roger Kubler. Musicians Local #12, 20-30 and Optimist Clubs, and the City of Sacramento sponsored the band and events thanks to the volunteer effort led by Ken Scotland. 




The band became a marching unit, changing its name to the Sacramento Youth Band, once playing for 35,000 people. The YB Jubilee and the L.A. County Fair invited them twice to perform.  SYB that year boasted 100 members. Uniforms were made up of maroon jackets and black pants. Solists included Tim Lawrence, Bob Montgomery, Dave Green, Paula Caplinger and Richard Birdlake, The Junior Band formed in 1963.




SYB marched in seven parades and performed in 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 also some of the year’s highlights. 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.




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 heroes in Sacramento; trip down the Sacramento River on the Delta King; and concerts at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in 1966, 1967 and 1968. Solists were 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.




There was an exciting rebirth of the Stage Band at the 1974 week long music camp at Gold Rush Resort near Coloma. Also in 1974, The outstanding unit of the Corinthian Guard dawning their new red, white and blue uniforms, won several awards. Besides the regular trips to Santa Clara, San Francisco, SYB marched at the Frog Jumping Jubilee in Angels Camp, “Old Spanish Days” in Santa Barbara, “Mother Goose” Parade in El Cajon. They performed at concerts in William Land Park, a tradition that began in 1958. 


They also played for a National Hockey League game in Oakland, Pioneer Days in Chico, at the Escalon Spring Festival, Turlock’s Round-up, the Vacaville Fiesta, the Shasta District Fair and the Contra Costa County Fair. 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 tenaciously raised $12,000 for new band uniforms. Henry Kinkel 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.




Inflation and California Propostion 13 had an impact on organizations and 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. Still trips included Disneyland, Vallejo, Corte Madera, Salinas, Escalon, Napa, Newman, Lodi, Grass Valley, Soquel, Santa Clara, Reno, Santa Cruz, Stockton and Sonora. Performances at Rancho Murrieta and Old Sacramento and Cal Expo brought recognition by KCRA News Channel 3. 


A column by Herb Michelson featured Ray Gaither (Another Music Man) and his involvement in GO BIG TRAIN – Karen A. Michaels Days. 


The youngest of the band’s members delighted 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 said at the time, she “luvs” the band.




The Eighties brought more changes, including new directors, and new uniforms. Highlights included the performing in The Music Man at Music Circus and in San Diego at Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and Sea World. They also performed at Magic Mountain, in the Newport Beach Boat Parade, and the World Exposition in Vancouver, Canada. During State fair? EXPO ’86 the band representing not only Sacramento, but the whole State for the week of California Days. Soloists included Gary Hawkins, Roger Beam, Kellie Boring, Catherine Mauch, Phillip Mitchell III, Stephanie Bolles and David Wilkinson. Ray Gaither was a volunteer mainstay with assists from Sam Kashiwagi, Mary Mauch, and Mike Duffek.


Updated April 10, 2024