The Raritan Valley Symphonic Band was formed in 1983 as an offering of the Jointure for Community Adult Education. Dr. Anthony Isch, who had retired as a professor of music at Trenton State College the year before, was invited to conduct the band, and he lost little time accepting the post. “I’ve studied all my life to gain these skills, and I have all this knowledge to give,” he said. The band grew quickly from six members to 40 in its first season, and it now numbers over 80.
The band was initially called the Hillsborough Community Band, but as more and more members came from communities other than Hillsborough, the name was changed in 1988 to the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band to reflect the larger community that the band represents.
Dr. Isch retired from conducting the band in 1998 and was replaced by Dr. Jerry Rife, who lead the band for three years. Dr. Bill Berz directed the band from 2001 to 2005. Larry Markiewicz directed the band from 2005-2013.
While the band has some music professionals, many are amateurs. The band has people from many professions, such as computer programmers or teachers, who also happen to be talented and serious musicians.
Prospective members do not need to fulfill any academic or professional requirements to join the band. The only requirement is that they are able to play the music, which is moderately easy to difficult.
Our concerts are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on on the Arts/Department of State, a partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and are administered by the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission through the State/County Partnership Local Arts Program.