The GVCB has over 100 musicians, all working together to enjoy playing. We have musicians in our band from all walks of life – students, music teachers, engineers, lawyers, accountants, etc. We play in 10-12 concerts a year throughout the Capital Region and beyond.
The Greater Victoria Concert Band was originally formed in 1964. Sponsored by the Victoria City Police Athletic Association, the band was called the Victoria City Police Boys’ Band. The band members were provided with new police style uniforms to play in concerts and march in parades.
The first transformation of the band came in the late 1960’s. After a few years, the band experienced some recruiting limitations and it was decided that girls should be allowed to join. The band then became known as the Victoria City Police Youth Band.
Over the next decade and following a significant turnover in membership, a decision was made to permit adults to join thus changing the name yet again to the Greater Victoria Police Community Band. As the band no longer fit the “youth” criteria of the Victoria City Police Athletic Association, their sponsorship was withdrawn and the band thus became in 1978 as the Greater Victoria Concert Band.
A Brief History of The Victoria Boys’ Band
Mr. Charles Rowles, who wanted Victoria to have a band like he had enjoyed as a youth in England, started Victoria’s first youth band, the Victoria Boys’ Band in the 1930s. Mr. Rowles was killed in a traffic accident in the early 1950s, and several volunteers did their best to keep the band going. Mr. Carl Rife and Mr. G. McLeod, along with the assistance of several local musicians worked with the boys during this time, but the membership numbers declined, mostly because of the increasingly popular school band program, until there were fewer than ten members. The Victoria Boys’ Band did, however, continue to provide an opportunity for children as young as eight years to get a start on a band instrument.
In 1955 several parents asked their boys’ private trumpet teacher if he would be interested in helping, and after an audition rehearsal, Dave Dunnet, at the age of 15, was hired as bandmaster for a monthly salary of $25! In the next few years the band grew to around fifty, and successfully took part in several community events in Victoria, for example, the Victoria Day Parade, even winning first place for youth bands in the 1957 parade. Dave graduated from Oak Bay High School in 1958 and left Victoria to attend university, and several successive bandmasters took over the band. With the sponsorship of the Victoria City Police Department, the band gradually became the Victoria Police Youth Band, including both boys and girls as members. Eventually, Victoria’s growing excellent school band movement provided a stronger attraction for young musicians, and after a succession of bandmasters, the Police Band eventually became today’s exemplary organization that includes mainly adult musicians in ensembles at four levels – The Greater Victoria Concert Bands.
Senior Band Conductor: Dr. Michael Keddy
Dr. Michael Keddy is Music Director of the University of Victoria Don Wright Symphonic Winds, Music Director of the Greater Victoria Concert Band (Senior level), Assistant Conductor of the University of Victoria Wind Symphony, and has been a guest conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Victoria. He currently teaches Music Education and Post-Degree Professional Program courses at the University of Victoria where he recently completed his PhD in Educational Studies (Music Education/Conducting) under the supervision of Dr. Gerald King. Prior to this, Dr. Keddy completed a Master’s Degree (Wind Conducting) with Dr. Dale Lonis at the University of Manitoba, and was Head of Performing Arts at Parry Sound High School in Parry Sound, Ontario. Ensembles under his direction have consistently been praised for their exceptional musicality.
Dr. Keddy completed the Graduate Diploma in Conducting from the University of Calgary, conducted and performed in Europe as Associate Conductor (Concert Band) and Music Director (Jazz Band) of the Ontario Youth Concert Band, and has also held the responsibility of Music Director and Music Education Clinician for the Senior Band component at Camp Musical d’Asbestos in Asbestos, Quebec. He has adjudicated and provided numerous music education and percussion clinics at many festivals and venues throughout Canada.
As a percussionist, Dr. Keddy taught as a member of the faculty at the University of Manitoba and performed in a variety of venues, from solo performer at Buckingham Palace to Symphony Orchestras to World Champion Drum and Bugle Corps’.
Intermediate Band Conductor: Joe Hatherhill
Joe Hatherill grew up in England and played saxophone with the Hertfordshire County Youth Wind Band. He studied clarinet, piano and theory then moved to the Light Music program in Newcastle Upon Tyne. This led to a four year stint as a professional musician aboard various cruise liners. After relocating to London he became a father to twins and passed exams in Adult Education and gained his Teaching Certificate from the Associated Bard of the Royal Schools of Music in 2001.
Joe emigrated to Canada in 2003 and led various ensembles near Roberts Creek including the Sunshine Coast Community Orchestra and Concert Band. He continued studies at Vancouver Community College including conducting with Dr John Trotter. He currently leads the Monterey Concert Band and the Moodswing Chorus and has a studio in Fernwood. Joe continues to be an active performer including work with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the Canadian Federation of Musicians and the BC Registered Music Teachers Association. He appears on commercial recordings by Dave Lang and the Insolent Rabble, Jon and Roy and the Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble.
Junior Band: Christina Kempenaar
Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Christina signed on with the Greater Victoria Concert Band –
Junior Band in 2021. Christina obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Music) and her Bachelor of Education from
Lakehead University, where she studied piano performance, choral conducting, and secondary music
education. She continued her studies at the University of Victoria, where she competed her Master of Arts
in Musicology. Prior to her work with the Greater Victoria Concert Band, Christina worked with the
Lakehead University Vocal Ensemble for several years as both a student conductor and Assistant Director.
Christina is currently an elementary music teacher in Sooke School District. When school is not in
session, Christina spends her time in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where she is a pianist at First Christian
Reformed Church, enjoying the outdoors with her niece. In her spare time, Christina enjoys playing board
and card games with her friends, reading, and finding fun ways to keep active.
Novice Band Conductor: Yvonne Norris
Yvonne learned to play piano at a young age and picked up the flute in junior high in Edmonton. She continued to play in her school band, and then played sporadically over the years until she arrived in Victoria in the early 1990s. In 1994 Yvonne was presented with the wonderful opportunity to assist Sheri Robertson in her music room at Royal Oak Middle School and held this position until 2009. During that time, Yvonne also assisted at North Saanich Middle School for 6 years. These positions allowed her the opportunity to gain a good fundamental knowledge of playing wind and brass instruments, as well as basic repair skills. Yvonne also had the opportunity to conduct, teach theory, and work one-on-one with students. As such, she is able to provide beginner players with solid basic skills for their instrument.
Yvonne loves to impart her love of music to those around her who show an interest in picking up an old or new instrument. She enjoys challenging the Novice group members by teaching them basic music theory, how to read music, how to hold and play new instruments, and how to follow a director. Yvonne is thrilled to be helping people from so many different walks of life – she has taught people from ages 19 to 83! She continues to teach lessons privately (piano, guitar, saxophone) and looks forward to a continued relationship with new and old students at the GVCB.