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          Founded in 1972, the Kearny Mesa Concert Band is the oldest, continuously playing community band in San Diego County.  The band was established as a class in the music department at San Diego Mesa College by Dr. Ellis Benson, then president of the school and a trumpet player in the band.  The band was created as a showcase for older, talented, amateur, and professional musicians.  William Swegles, a music faculty member, was the band’s first music director, succeeded by Robert Olisar, a local musician.  Each had short terms until Robert McKewen became the third music director from 1981-1992.  McKewen led the band through a transition in the mid-1980s from a Mesa College music class to a continuing education class.  James Romeo played in the band for a year under McKewen before becoming the fourth music director from 1993-2016.  The name, Kearny Mesa Concert Band, was adopted early in Romeo’s tenure.  Richard Almanza took over as fifth music director in 2016.  Today the band is a tuition free continuing education class of the San Diego Community College District which meets at Mesa College, the Continuing Education Building, Room 118.  The class meets on Tuesdays beginning at 7:00 p.m. during fall, spring, and summer terms.  Although musicians of all ages are active in the band, the average age is over 55.  The band does not require a formal audition to participate, only a desire to play great music with new friends.

Standley Park
1995 Summer Concert in Standley Park
Old Poway Park
 2018 Pomerado Band Festival, Old Poway Park

Music Director:

AlmanzaRichard Almanza, a graduate of California State University at Long Beach, has been an Instrumental Music teacher for over 36 years, predominantly in San Diego County.  He is a member of and adjudicator for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA), and he is also a member of the California Music Educators Association (CMEA).  He has taught at all levels of music education (K-12 and college).  Almanza has been a clinician as well as guest conductor for bands throughout Southern California.  He has been band manager for many District Honor Bands and Orchestras as well as band manager for the CMEA Honor Band, and he has been host to Band and Orchestra Festivals, Jazz Band Festivals, and Solo and Ensemble Festivals for over 25 years.   


Creative Performing and Media Arts,
December 14, 2019

*Section Leader

Bassoon:  Allen Diamond, and *Dee Wood.

Clarinet:  John Boaz, Franklin Borkat, *Jonathan Crick, Lynne Harrington-Crick, Elaine Edleman, Brian Hess, Simon Nicoud, Elaine Ragazzo, Dick Robinette, Jay Sacks, Sandra Wagner, and Betty Zaleski.

Euphonium:  *Lon Cumberworth, Tara Nijhowne, and Bobbie Svenson.

Flute/Piccolo Andrea Ashbaugh, Marc Fulbright, Elizabeth Hendricks, Regis Komperda, Kate Leonard, *Debbie Olson, Chris Shannon, Kathy Wellbrock, and Cindy Wislofsky.

French Horn:  Bruce Coggins, *Jim Hane, Ashley Harris, and Amanda Mariatori.

Oboe:  *Vincent Broman and Kim Dardin.

Percussion Ann Broman, Kathryn Trainor, and *Matt Trainor.

Saxophone:  *Tim Boelke, Kathryn Edwards, Steven Hendricks, Jessica LaFave, and Buzz Naughton.

Trombone:  Hannah Arzanpouli, Mark Ashbaugh, Bob Brislin, *Jack Close, Joe Quintero, and Jane Yeatts.

Trumpet:  Krista Coppedge, Rachel Doolittle, *Ed Hekman, Chris LaFave, Gregg Lichtenstein, Douglas Mooney, and Kathy Robb.

Tuba:  Chuck Cuccaro, and *Matt Preuss.

Music Director and Conductor:  Richard Almanza.


Joint concert with Japanese Training Squadron Band and Navy Band Southwest, Civita Park, June 15, 2019:

Directors  Overview  Overall 
Solo singer  Solo flute  All members 

Civitas Park, August 15, 2017Civita Park, August 15, 2017

          Click here for a Henry Mancini medley video from the August 15, 2017 concert at Civita Park.  Click here for a Glenn Miller medley video from this concert.

Spreckles Organ PavilionSpreckles Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park


History of community bands in San Diego: 

          Click here to read A Brief History of Community Bands in San Diego.


Joint concert with Japanese Training Squadron Band, Plaza de Panama, Balboa Park, June 14, 2015:

Romeo directing Japanese band Audience toward band
Overall from rear Painting of Japanese ship Trumpets standing
Cultural interaction Audience All posing


Selected recordings:

Poway Band Festival, Old Poway Park, May 22, 2022, John Philip Sousa, Songs of Grace and Songs of Glory Video

Spring Concert, Creative Performing Media Arts, April 5, 2019:  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6  Part 7

 Part 8

Twilight in the Park concert, Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park, November 25, 2017:  Video

James Romeo's final concert after 25 years as Music Director, Community Band Festival, Old Poway Park, May 22, 2016:  Video

Christmas concert, Mira Mesa Presbyterian Church, December 14, 2014:

           Christmas Joy, Audio ;

           Rudolph's Christmas Concert, Audio ;

           American Christmas Rhapsody, Audio ;

          Bay State, Audio 

          Celebration of Christmas Carols, Audio ;  

          Christmas Sing-Along, Audio ;  

          Bells of Christmas, Audio ;

           Christmas Festival, Audio ;

           Sleigh Ride, Audio ;

           American Christmas Rhapsody, Audio  ;

           Silent Night, Audio ;

           Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Audio .

Christmas concert, Organ  Pavilion, Balboa Park, November 29, 2014: 

          Star of Wonder, arranged by James Swearingen and Johhny Marks, Rudolph's Christmas Concert, arranged by Eric Osterling  Video .

Recording made on June 14, 2014 aboard the Japanese Navy vessel, Kashima, in preparation for our joint concert with their band at Balboa Park on June 17, 2014:

          Gabriel's Oboe, composed by Enio Morriconi and arranged by our band member, Joe FurFuro  Video .

Recordings, Crill Performance Hall, Point Loma, San Diego:

           John Philip Sousa, The Stars and Stripes Forever,  Audio

           Leonard Bernstein, Overture to Candide, Audio

           Camillie Saint-Saens, Chorale, Symphony No. 3 (Organ), Audio

           Gioaccino Rossini, Largo al Factotum from Barber of Seville (vocal, Cleve Genzlinger), Audio ;

          Arthur Sullivan, Pineapple Poll Suite (selections), Audio

           Zo Elliot, British Eight March, Audio

           Herbert Clark, Carnival of Venice, Theme and Variations (euphonium, Christian Riesebieter) Audio ;

           Hal Leonard, Armed Forces Salute, Audio ;

           Peter Wilhousky (setting), Battle Hymn of the Republic, Audio

           David Holsinger, It is Well with my Soul, On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss, Audio ;

           Samuel Ward, America, The Beautiful, Audio . 


Founded in 1972
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Member of The Association of Concert Bands