Festival Band

The 17th annual Three Rivers Community Band Festival will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2020, and again will feature a Festival Band as one of four performing bands. The Festival Band is comprised of players from numerous community bands throughout the region. No audition is necessary; players must only complete a registration form and pay a small fee. The goal of the Festival Band is to include as many players as possible from the widest number of area groups–and to have a great time making music together!

Guest Conductor:

James Gourlay conducted our Festival Band in 2012 and returns by popular demand! He is currently celebrating his 10th season as the Artistic and General Director of the River City Brass.

James Gourlay was born in Scotland where, at the age of ten, he was ‘volunteered’ to play in his school brass band. Being tallest in class, he was serendipitously given the tuba, an instrument he loves and continues to promote all over the world.

After much success as a solo champion, James entered the Royal College of Music but left after a short time to become, at eighteen, the Principal Tuba of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Four years later, he took up the same position with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with which he worked for ten years. He then performed for a further ten years with the Orchestra of the Zürich Opera.

James’s career as a chamber musician and soloist continues to flourish. He has been a member of the Philip Jones and English Brass Ensembles with which he has toured the world and as a soloist, continues to performs extensively. He has recorded five solo CDs, the latest, British Tuba Concertos, recorded for the Naxos label, with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, received international critical acclaim.

Gourlay’s work within the Brass Band movement forms a vital component of his creative output. After early success with the Brass Band Berneroberland, he became music director of the Williams Fairey Band with which he won the English Masters and British Open Contests. James has also been the professional conductor of the Grimethorpe Colliery and the Brighouse and Rastrick bands and is currently guest conductor of the Brass Band Treize Etoiles, with which he has won the Swiss National Championships, the Swiss Open Championships, second place at the European, as well as the World Brass Band Championships.

James Gourlay’s commitment to music education is a continuing passion. He has been Head of Wind and Percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music and Deputy Principal and Music Director at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Salford University, a Masters Degree from Leeds University, a Fellowship of the Royal Northern College of Music, a Fellowship of the London College of Music and is also a recipient of the Henry Iles Medal, presented by the Worshipful Company of Musicians for services to the Brass Band Movement. Currently, James is International Vice President of the International Tuba and Euphonium Association, former Director of Music of the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band and now Music Director of the River City Brass.


Registration is now closed.

You now have the option of registering and/or paying online. Just follow the simple instructions at the link below.

(Note:  registering and paying online simplifies the work of the festival committee.  And you will be emailed a registration confirmation within minutes.)

Register and/or pay online at2020 TRCBF Online Registration Form

You may also download and complete a registration form and mail it with your check.

Download the Registration Form: Link to Printable Registration Form

If you have trouble accessing the files or need a different format, please send us an e-mail at festival@ewsb.org.

Then please mail completed forms to:

Three Rivers Community Band Festival
5714 Elgin Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Deadline: Your registration is due by February 10th, and Festival Band acceptance notifications will be emailed to applicants by February 25th.

If you do not provide an email address, you will be notified either by phone or US Mail. We are planning for a full, balanced symphonic band that represents as many community bands as possible; although we hope to accept all applicants, this may not be possible for balance reasons.

If you play multiple instruments, please list all you are willing to play in the Festival Band on the registration form. This will help us balance instrumentation as well as enhance the likelihood of your participation.

Fee: There is a $30 fee to cover music costs and breakfast/lunch expenses. If we have to turn you away, we will return your registration fee.

Please include payment with your registration form.

Refunds: If you are unable to play in the Festival Band after being notified of your placement, you have until March 21 to let us know. After that time you will not receive a refund.

Guest Lunches: If you are bringing a spouse or other guest(s) who would also like to purchase lunch, please include an additional $15 per guest.

Guests: Guests may attend all the festival performances for free, including the after-performance reception.


To be eligible, you must:

  • Currently play in a community band or instrumental ensemble
  • Be willing to come to the morning rehearsal (report at 8:30 AM, rehearsal 9 – 11:30 AM)


The following is a rough outline of the day of the festival. Exact times will be posted as they are finalized.

Check-in and Breakfast: Starting at 8:30 am, you may check in and enjoy a light breakfast (included in registration fee) in the cafeteria.

Rehearsal: 9 am to approx. 11:30 am with the guest conductor in the auditorium.

Lunch: A luncheon (included in registration fee) will be held between the Festival Band Rehearsal and the start of the concerts during which musicians can meet, socialize, and discuss issues pertaining to community bands.

Performance: The Festival Band will be performing first at 2:00 pm. If you need to leave after the Festival Band performance, you may, but we hope you will stay to hear the other bands from our region perform!

After-festival Reception: Bands performing in the afternoon are asked to provide cookies (home-made or store-bought) for the reception following the afternoon program. If you wish to bring cookies for the reception, please bring them to the cafeteria during registration prior to rehearsal. Beverages will be provided by the festival committee.

Location – Upper St. Clair Theater

Upper St. Clair Theater / Upper St. Clair High School
Just below South Hills Village on Rte. 19 South
The address is:
Upper St. Clair High School
1825 McLaughlin Run Road
Upper St. Clair, PA 15241
Google Maps

Other information

Attire: bottom: black, top: black, white, or band shirt with logo

Stands: Please bring your own stand.

Part Assignment and Chair Placement: We will try to assign instrumentation and parts based on preferences indicated on your application or on overall balance requirements of the band. Please indicate the part you prefer to play (first, second, etc.), but keep in mind that we may have to rotate parts for different pieces among several players to accommodate all requests.

Accessibility: The stage is wheel chair accessible via a loading elevator in the back. If you require other accommodations, please let us know.

Past Conductors of the Festival Band

Max Gonano elisabeth heath charles
2008 2009
Max Gonano Elisabeth Heath Charles
Denis Colwell Paul Gerlach
2010 2011
Dennis Colwell Paul Gerlach
2012 2013
James Gourlay Sam Hazo
 Marty Sharer Headshot
2014  2015
Don Wilcox  Marty Sharer
2016  2017
Steve Gage  Major William Garlette
Otis French