I founded the Bloomfield Youth Band in 1986, when I was 17 years old, and just celebrated 31 years as the director of this extraordinary group of young musicians. The band held its first rehearsal on August first of that year at the Glen Ridge Congregational Church in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. The members of the group paid for the use of the facility and the music was borrowed from the Bloomfield High School Band Library.
The Youth Band's first public concert was held on May 8, 1987 at Bloomfield High School. By that time the youth band had become a member of the Bloomfield Federation of Music. The Federation relieved the burden of paying for a rehearsal site by providing it with the use of Bloomfield’s Civic Center at no charge. The Federation also secured performing venues for the band and paid for the printing of programs
Today, the Bloomfield Youth Band has earned the reputation as an outstanding musical ensemble. Comprised of some sixty high school and collegiate musicians, the band performs three or four public concerts each year in Bloomfield. At its Tenth Anniversary Concert in June 1996, the band was recognized by the Township of Bloomfield, the New Jersey General Assembly, and the United States House of Representatives for its civic and cultural contribution to the town and to the State of New Jersey.
We have brought in some of the finest composers of wind band music to work with the BYB over the years, including: Sam Hazo, Philip Sparke, Robert Sheldon, Mike Sweeney, and Jared Spears.
The band’s mission, like the four other ensembles which comprise the Bloomfield Federation of Music, is to provide musical enjoyment for the residents of Bloomfield and neighboring communities. This is a task which the band takes very seriously and one which it strives very hard to meet.
Why do we need your help?
1. Expenses for Rehearsal Space. Beginning last year, we incurred a large increase to our expense budget, particularly in the area of rental expense for rehearsal space. We meet most often on Friday evenings at a local middle school, and we are not charged anything for these rehearsals. However, an increasing number of rehearsals per year need to be scheduled on Sunday afternoons, and each of these costs us $150. Last summer, we ran a successful GoFundMe campaign which helped us to offset these expenses significantly. However, as we approach a new concert season, we need to replenish our budget, with first priority given to funding the rental expense line item. And it also appears that we will have even more Sundays on our calendar for next season (I estimate 12-14 at this point). Additionally, our season finale, held at Bloomfield High School each June, incurs its own additionalrental expense, which itself exceeds $300, just for that one afternoon/evening.
2. Summer Arts Scholarship Fund. The Youth Band funds scholarships to the Bloomfield Summer Arts Workshop for our interested members, approximately $600-$1,000 annually, depending on our financial position at the conclusion of each concert season. The SAW is a wonderful program in its 40th year, and I am in my 20th year as a music department faculty member. The program is designed and committed to nurture the development of the creative process in each individual at his/her level of ability. Individual and group lessons enable students to express themselves through musical and visual experiences. This process extends beyond skill development in singing, playing an instrument, acting and/or creating a visual art piece. Emphasis is placed on learning to work together in ensembles, group activities, performances, and exhibitions.
We are a non-profit organization.
The BYB is a member ensemble of the Bloomfield Federation of Music, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. We support ourselves by ticket sales to our concerts, donations from audience members, and band membership dues (only $50 per student, per year). This funding structure has worked very successfully for quite awhile, but we are at the point where it's getting more difficult each year to meet our expenses running an organization which meets from September through mid-June.
Every donation will go toward our rental expenses for the 2017-2018 concert season, and to our Summer Arts Scholarship Fund. We have lots of other expenses, but I am confident those financial obligations will all be met. All donations are 100% tax deductable.
On behalf of our 60 band members, I want to thank you for taking the time to read about us and to consider donating to our organization. We appreciate each and every donation we receive, no latter how large, no matter how small. Really, there is no such thing as a small donation, because they all add up to helping us continue on our path toward the pursuit of artistic excellence and continued service to our communities.
To learn more about us, visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Bloomfield-Youth-Band-58395288567/
And have a listen:
Yours in Music,
Patrick Burns, Founding Director
Bloomfield Youth Band