R.Duane Hendricks (2003 - 2021)

Dr. Benjamin Schneider (2021 - 2022)

Benjamin D. Schneider is a Canadian musician, music educator and conductor.  Dr. Schneider is a graduate of the University of Calgary and the State University of New York at Fredonia.  He later served for two years on the SUNY Fredonia music faculty teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in addition to directing ensembles.  Dr. Schneider taught conducting at Morgan State University while he was the assistant conductor of the Peabody Wind Ensemble during his doctoral residency at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he studied with Harlan Parker and Gustav Meier.  He went on to become Director of Bands and Orchestra and Coordinator of Music Education at Jamestown University in North Dakota. He joined the staff of Notre Dame High School in continuing over twenty-five years with Calgary Catholic Schools as a clinician, guest teacher or music specialist.  Dr. Schneider is an associate conductor of the Calgary Wind Symphony, and was humbled to accept the directorship of the Rocky Mountain Concert Band following Duane Hendricks’ tenure of twenty-five years.

Dr. Schneider has conducted youth performances at festivals in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and across Canada and the United States.  He has served as a guest conductor or adjudicator to numerous regional festivals, and as a content specialist to assess other post-secondary programs for the state of North Dakota.  He enthusiastically supports the commissioning of new works from composers worldwide, including the WASBE-sponsored Dance Sequence (2002) by composer Marco Pütz of Luxembourg, as you were (2013) by Guggenheim-award winning American composer, Dr. Amy Kirsten, and numerous other works funded by schools and consortia.  Dr. Schneider is the recipient of many awards and scholarships, including an Alberta Arts Study Grant, the Peabody Conservatory Carol Jean and John R. Young Conducting Scholarship, and the Medal of the Governor General of Canada.  He continues to hold membership in both professional and honorary organizations promoting music and music education internationally.

R. Duane Hendricks is a conductor, trombonist, pianist and composer. Duane was selected as the musical director of the Accidental Stars in 1997 and continued as the musical director when the Accidental Stars merged with the Chinook Winds in 2002 to become the Rocky Mountain Concert Band (RMCB). Duane has over 50 years of experience as an instructor at junior/senior high school and university levels in Alberta, NWT, BC, Manitoba and Minnesota. He has studied at MacPhail College of Music, the University of Minnesota, Brandon University and the University of Calgary. Along with being an active conductor, clinician, performer, teacher and adjudicator, Duane is also an artist and art instructor working mostly in pastel and acrylic.

Under Duane’s direction, the RMCB membership nearly doubled in size, approaching 60 members pre-COVID. The band rehearsed weekly, had biannual workshops at Easter Seals Camp Horizon, entertained audiences biannually at the University of Calgary Rozsa Centre and performed multiple times at senior facilities, Riley Park, Strathmore Amphitheatre and Canmore. The RMCB traveled to and performed in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Northern Alberta, Drumheller, Wayne and Crowsnest Pass. All these experiences allowed the Rocky Mountain Concert Band to become a well-bonded family of musicians.

When COVID hit, the RMCB continued via ZOOM rehearsals. Duane embraced the new challenge of virtual conducting, leading the band by playing piano, providing motivational and instructive suggestions, choosing a repertoire that would work with limited and changing numbers, and inspiring us to continue playing and joining together to play music. He knew each of us and he knew his band. His efforts kept our group intact during a very difficult time.

After 25 years conducting our musical group, Duane, our musical conductor, our inspiration, our example of a true artist and musician, and our friend, decided it was time for additional personal, professional and artistic growth. He relocated to Gatineau and is connecting with that and the Ottawa area musical and artistic communities. The Rocky Mountain Concert Band will be forever indebted and thankful for all that Duane shared with us and helped us to accomplish.  Thank you Duane, we will miss you.