The Kamloops Community Band was founded in 2001 by Dick Dickens. It began as an option for high school students who wanted the opportunity to supplement their high school music program, as well as university students and adult members of the community who wanted to continue playing in a concert band after their conventional high school experience was completed. Dick Dickens believed in the lifelong learning that music presented and the importance of having musical opportunities available to people once they had left high school. He saw the need for an organization, and had the devotion to get it started.
The idea for the band originated from the Canada Games band put together by Dick Dickens, among others, for the Canadian Olympic Games that took place in Kamloops in 1993. That band consisted of musicians from a variety of age groups and of all walks of life. Dick Dickens used that idea to base the Kamloops Community Concert Band on eight years later.
The fall of 2001 meant the commencement of the the first rehearsals of the Kamloops Community Concert Band in the band room of the Kamloops Christian School at its old location on 8th Street. After a year there, the band moved for a few years to Plura Hills United Church on Pacific Way, before finally moving its rehearsals to its present location in the South Kamloops High School band room.
Our present conductor Cliff Noakes joined Dickens in conducting the band from its early years. Although other local band teachers and musicians have helped conduct the band over the years, Dick Dickens and Cliff Noakes were the main force behind this band since the beginning; the joy and excitement of watching community members playing music kept them coming back each year!
However, on Sunday, March 22 of 2009, Dick Dickens passed away suddenly from complications of diabetes. He had left early from that night's Community Band practice, having felt unwell. A Celebration of Life was held in the Sagebrush Theatre for Dick on April 4, 2009, at which the band played in his memory.
Since then, Cliff Noakes has taken on the reigns as Director of the band and ensures Dick Dickens vision continues. He has since saw the formation of a full Executive Committee to help with the day to day running of the group, and ensuring its success. In 2013, Don Bennett has joined as co-conductor of the group, and ensures the band can have the support and direction to continue.
The Kamloops Community Band takes pride in continuing to carry on the mission originally set out by Dick Dickens. Our group continues to be open to musicians from all walks of life, ages, and skill and we strive to keep costs to members to a minimum. We continue to hold various benefit concerts each year, performances in a variety of retirement homes in our community, and for numerous community events.
Year in and year out, our regular concerts tend to include: the Chase Food Bank Hamper Concert in December (started by Dick Dickens in about 2002) with the Chase Secondary School Band, the Richard Dickens Scholarship Fund Concert (February), and the Canadian Diabetes Benefit Concert (in memory of Dick Dickens, started in 2011).