Royal Oak Concert Band

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Royal Oak Concert Band
Royal Oak Concert Band Logo.png
Background Information





Music Director

Kevin Czarnik


(586) 930-2504

Mailing Address

Royal Oak Concert Band
P.O. Box 1086
Royal Oak, MI 48086



The Royal Oak Concert Band is a sixty-piece adult community band open to all area residents which performs a variety of music, from big band classics to major symphonic works.

The ensemble rehearses from September through June at Royal Oak Middle School and features a season of four concerts at Royal Oak Middle School, as well as outdoor performances at area parks. The band is open to adults who have attained at least a high school level of performance. New members are welcome throughout the year. There are no auditions. ensemble


From Website
In the Fall of 1963, a very ambitious, respected and beloved professional tuba player and instrumental music teacher, Russell Peters, with the support of several teachers in the area organized an adult community concert band, which became known as The South Oakland Concert Band. Dr. Harry Begian, former band director at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Wayne State University, Michigan State University and The University of Illinois was the conductor for the first year. The band flourished for the next four years under the leadership of Mr. Herbert Couf, who played clarinet with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and is known in the area for instruments bearing his name and for his ownership of Royal Music Center in Royal Oak.

The band lay dormant for next five years, due to a lack of leadership and sponsorship. In the Fall of 1972, Walter Mison, then Band Director at Berkley High School, and clarinetist in the Detroit Concert Band was asked by Oakland Community College, Royal Oak Campus system, to organize a community band. Community orchestras offered only limited opportunity for adult wind and percussion players, Southeast Oakland County needed a band! The time was ripe! Community bands of Plymouth and Farmington had sprung up and were flourishing.

In 1994, Oakland Community College administration decided to discontinue the college‘s relationship with the band and after his 22 years of dedicated service, Mr. Mison retired as band director.

A meeting of band members was held and they decided to continue the band as an incorporated, non-profit organization. Rev. Herb Glenn was named the band‘s first President. A retired minister, and a long time trombonist in the band, Herb and the new Board of Directors named Mr. George Gillespie, a retired Band Director from the Royal Oak Schools, as the new SOCB Director of Music, and Mrs. Betty Hixon as Assistant Director of the Concert Band and Director of the Jazz Band.

In 2003, George Gillespie decided to retire after 9 seasons with the band, and 45 continuous years of directing bands. Richard Perkins, retired Dondero High School Band Director was named the new Director of Music. Betty Hixon died in 2000 after a long illness. Mr. James Gregory was named the Assistant Director of the Concert Band and Director of the Jazz Band.

Following the death of Mr. Perkins in 2006, James Conaton, retired Kimball High School Band Director was named the new Director of Music. In 2008, James Gregory resigned and Mr. Phil Lombard was named the director of the Jazz Band which was re-named The Woodward Avenue Jazz Orchestra. In 2010, Jim Conaton retired and Mr. Roy Johnson was named Director of Music.

In 2013, The South Oakland Concert Band changed it's name to The Royal Oak Concert Band The Royal Oak Concert band and Woodward Avenue Jazz Orchestra now boast a strong membership of approximately 65 - 70 members with a concert schedule including 7-10 concerts annually.


External Links

YouTube Channel