The Broward Symphonic Band
On September 6, 1960, Broward Junior College opens its doors to the first class of 701 students. The Central Campus, home for the Broward Symphonic Band, opened its doors to students in August of 1963. Since that time, the college has continued to grow and expand meeting the needs of more than 68,000 students, including the transformation from Broward Community College to Broward College, with baccalaureate programs added to meet specific needs of the community.
The Visual and Performing Arts Department at Broward College has been an important part of the college since its doors opened in 1960. The Concert Band, known as the “Broward Symphonic Band”, is an important musical link between the Visual & Performing Arts Department, Broward College, and the community at large. The Band is unique, serving a dual purpose as a credit earning class offered by the Visual & Performing Arts Department and a Community Band, providing an outlet for countless numbers of community members and invited high school students.
History of the Band prior to the 70’s is vague and incomplete. Dale Jensen was the founder of the Broward Concert Band in 1966, followed by David Snively from approximately 1968 to 1973. Fred Humphreys, a Past President of the Florida Bandmasters Association and Hall of Fame member, held the position of Music Director in the mid 70’s, followed by Michael Lisena from the Fall of 1977 to the Spring of 1979. Dr. Malcolm “Mike” Black, a full time faculty member at the college, took over as Music Director for the band from the Fall of 1979 until the Fall of 1998. It was during this period of time that the Band converted to a Community Band meeting during the evening hours. Dr. George Sparks, former Director of Bands at Florida Atlantic University, took the reigns from the Winter Term of 1998 until the Fall Term of 1998. Dr. John Southall, current Director of Bands and Coordinator of Music Education at Indian River State College, directed the band from the Spring Term of 1999 until the Spring Term of 2000. The current Director of Music for the Broward Symphonic Band, Neil Jenkins, took the reigns in the Fall Term of 2000, while serving as band director at J. P. Taravella High School, and has conducted the group through 16 seasons. Jenkins retired from Taravella High School in June 2010, after 40 years of public teaching.
During the initial years under the direction of Mr. Jenkins, members of the Wind Symphony of South Florida joined forces with the Broward Symphonic Band. The Wind Symphony was founded in 1996 by Saul Rubin, our timpanist and percussion section leader, with 55 members and formerly directed by Mark Humphreys. The joining of these two bands helped to lay the foundation of what has become one of the largest Community Band programs in South Florida.
Membership in the Band is open to all college students, community adults, and select high school students. The band meets weekly at the Broward College Central Campus and performs four regular Concerts per year at the Ralph Bailey Concert Hall. Membership in the Band has grown over the years from approximately 54 members in 2000, to the current 120 members. The goals of the BSB are to not only meet the needs of aspiring music education majors, but also to provide its audiences with entertaining concerts, and to challenge the member musicians with a variety of wind band literature.
The Broward Symphonic Band has been a proud member of the Association of Concert Bands since 2008.