The AYSB was founded in 1967 by Hugh Dixon – at the time it was called the Auckland Junior Symphonic Band – because there were no other Brass or Wind bands other than the official New Zealand Navy Band. Wind and brass players had no choice but to be in an orchestra, and he had seen the idea of a wind and brass band earlier in America, so set one up in Auckland.
This was a resounding success (no pun intended), and by 1973, he had over 90 players! The solution: form a second band. This was called the Junior Division of the Auckland Youth Symphonic Band, a bit of a mouthful.
Since then, many schools have set up their own groups for wind and brass players, and there are very few schools without such a group. The AYSB fills a niche for musicians who want more than what their school can offer – the joy of playing music in a large group, and making friends with people from other parts of Auckland.
Conductors have included Martin Heath, who is senior lecturer of music at the Teachers’ College, David Adlam, now a professional conductor and clarinet soloist, and Bob Savigny, renowned for his electric violin.
The Auckland Youth Symphonic Band Incorporated (AYSB (Inc)) is currently a society which runs both the Auckland Youth Symphonic Band (AYSB) and the Auckland Wind Orchestra (AWO). The AYSB was the original group and was set up to cater for younger musicians.
The Band will celebrate its 50th Birthday in 2017.