The Vic High R&B Performance Band operates within the Victoria High School Music Program. Auditions for the band are open to any students in Grades 9 through 12 who sing or play the trumpet, saxophone, trombone, electric bass, electric guitar, or drum kit. You do not need to be a student at Vic High to audition for the band.
In 1992, Eric Emde began to develop the concept of an R&B band for inclusion in the Victoria High School music curriculum to replace the stage band which had been the educational standard for over 25 years. As music director for the school, Emde wanted to create a course that would fit with the school’s mandate of programs designed for job readiness. In keeping with shifts in the music industry, Emde understood that this repertoire would be more in keeping with current values in the workplace.
Since then, over 500 students have participated in this extra-curricular school band program. Many of them have gone on to successful careers in the music industry, and credit the Vic High R&B Band program for providing them with the discipline, training and on-stage experience it takes to launch successful careers after high school.
This amazing young band impresses audiences wherever they play with their professionalism, upbeat song list, choreography and style. They are often seen fundraising with The Midnights and were featured at the World Forum 2006 in Vancouver, to spectacular praise and applause.
In 2005, the band traveled to Detroit, and met Motown legend Martha Reeves. Martha was so impressed with the band and the music program that she traveled to Victoria in 2006 and played the Royal Theatre, inviting the Vic High R&B Band to join her on stage during her performance. Read more here.
The Vic High Band and their remarkable relationship with Martha Reeves was documented up to and including the concert by local filmmaker, Barb Hager (Aarrow Productions). See the promo here, and stay tuned for more on the release of this documentary film.
In 2006 the band was hosted in Denmark by the Ballerup School Orchestra, and returned the favour by hosting the Orchestra in Victoria the same year.
Each New Year’s Eve the Vic High R&B Band organizes and performs in Victoria’s Countdown to Midnight. The event is a great success in the community with over 400 people attending the celebrations. In April 2007, Eric Emde and the Vic High R&B Band were named ‘Runner Up” in the Arts Leader category of the CFAX 24th Annual Community Awards.
In August 2007 the R&B Band capped off one of their busiest year’s yet, (over 30 performances!) with an amazing highlight — to open at Victoria’s prestigious Royal Theatre for R&B legends The Temptations.