Who We Are
The Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches is a nonprofit community band comprised of extremely talented volunteer musicians from all corners of our communities. Founded by a group of Palm Beach High School band alumni in 1961, the band performs a wide repertoire of music – from classical and jazz to marches and Broadway hits. Proceeds from the band’s concerts benefit music students and school music programs in Palm Beach County.
- Give our audiences a memorable, toe-tapping experience at an affordable price and at easily accessible venues
- Challenge our members to grow and develop musically and provide quality entertainment to the community
- Award scholarships and grants to the youth of our community for their continued educational and cultural growth
A local cultural treasure, the Symphonic Band is considered one of South Florida’s finest wind ensembles and has won several awards for outstanding performance. Now in its 63rd season, the all-volunteer band will present eight concerts during the 2023-2024 season at Palm Beach State College’s Eissey Campus Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens and Duncan Theatre in Lake Worth.
Proceeds from concerts are used to purchase musical instruments for elementary and middle-school students in lower-income neighborhoods and to offer college scholarships to talented young musicians.
As a community partner with the Save the Music initiative, the band contributes new and restored used instruments to the Palm Beach County School District in cooperation with the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County. Through that program, the band gives talented young students who cannot afford their own instruments an exciting opportunity for self-expression and music appreciation.
The Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches is a not-for-profit organization in the state of Florida under the IRS code 501(c)(3). Your contributions may be tax-deductible as allowed by law. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) within Florida or on their website at www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com.
In the summer of 1961, graduates of the Palm Beach High School Band loved music and performing so much that they founded the Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches in order to continue playing together after high school. The first conductor, Howard Swyers, was the beloved and highly respected director of the acclaimed Palm Beach High School “Wildcat” Band.
The founding members could not have known how much the band would grow and develop, nor could they have imagined the number of lives the band would touch in meaningful and positive ways. Current members of the band come from all walks of life and freely donate their time and talents.
From 1964 to 1982, the band was under the capable direction of legendary Rudolph von Unruh, who was the Band Director at Riviera Beach High School (now Suncoast). Mr. von Unruh’s life came to an untimely end in 1982, and the band took the step of formally recognizing Mr. von Unruh’s long-term contribution to the band and the youth of our community with the first Rudolph von Unruh Memorial Scholarship Concert.
From 1994 to 1998, the band was honored to be under the directorship of Dr. George Sparks, who was also Director of Bands at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Sparks challenged the Band and elevated its performance level.
Under the directorship of George Sullivan from 1998 to 2008, an expanded audience base enabled the band’s scholarship program to grow to include grants to music programs in the Palm Beach County School District.
Since May 2008 the band continues to grow and develop musically under the skilled leadership of Music Director Mark Humphreys.
Board of Directors
Dietta Slayton, President
Steve Gebeloff, Vice President
Al Horner, Treasurer
Tracy Conner, Secretary
Cliff Fritz, Librarian
Members at Large
Julia Atkins, Marketing & Public Relations
Perry Borman, Development & Philanthropy
Mary Godwin, Concert Operations &
Joe Terrell, Membership
The Symphonic Band is always interested in identifying local talented musicians. Currently, there are openings for trombone, tuba, and bassoon. New members are chosen based on their musical ability, but also on their readiness to faithfully commit to the band’s schedule of concerts and rehearsals. For more information, please contact our Music Director at email@example.com.