The Kamloops Community Band‘s annual fundraiser for the Richard Dickens Music Scholarship has a special place in my heart. Dick was a longtime music teacher in Kamloops, and an even longer time friend of my family.
While there are several people I can credit with encouraging me to study at university, Dick was right there at the centre of it all planting the bug in people’s ears to echo his suggestions. And every day I’m glad that he did. I have no idea where life would have taken me otherwise, but I’m certain I would not be able to say that I am an international award-winning composer if not for his (not even remotely subtle) nudging. His congratulations when I completed my BMus degree was very meaningful for me, as he had taken on an important mentor role in my life.
Dick formed the Kamloops Community Band in 2001, when I was in the midst of preparing for music school auditions. I have the distinct pleasure of saying I was one of the founding members of the band. He passed away in 2009, and in his will he left money for the formation of the scholarship named in his honour. Every year since, the band has dedicated one of their concerts each year to being a fundraiser for this incredible scholarship. It provides $2,000 per year for four years to a Kamloops student studying music full-time at university.
All the while I lived in Vancouver, I would buy 2 tickets to this concert to be given to high school students who wanted to go but couldn’t afford it. I wanted to support this fund, and that was the easiest way I knew how. I love that this scholarship exists. Dick might not be with us to help point people like me in the right direction, but he still gets to help get them there, and his legacy lives on.
This is why I love the Kamloops Community Band’s Play Like The Dickens concert every year. You can enjoy a fun concert (always a good thing), support local musicians (definitely important), and help keep the Richard Dickens Music Scholarship fund going.