Nielsen stepping down from community band

Robert Nielsen

Robert Nielsen: final season.

After serving on the podium since 1994, Robert Nielsen will give his last concert as conductor of the Fresno Community Concert Band on May 27.

Nielsen, one of the co-founders of the band along with Larry Huck, will pass the baton on to Sandy Headrick and Bruce Weinberger, who will take over as co-conductors in the 2018-19 season.

The band, which regularly plays to standing-room only audiences, is made up of a mix of some professionals, retired professionals and “many exceptional amateurs,” Nielsen says.

He writes in an update on the band’s website:


I have seen this wonderful concert band grow from a very small ensemble in 1993 to the 75-piece concert band it is today. Not only have we grown in numbers, we have grown in artistic quality as the band has demonstrated through its performances of the last few seasons. I have been able to program more and more difficult music, and as I’m sure everyone will agree, the band has risen to the challenge. We measure our success not only by our personal satisfaction but more by your, our audience members’, comments and applause.

Nielsen will be celebrated in his final May concert, titled “Bob’s Big Bash,” which will include the premiere of a commissioned work by Mike Dana. The season opens Oct. 22. The complete schedule is here.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (2)

  • His first conducting gig was Fresno Community Theatres production of West Side Story, 1966! He did it brilliantly!

  • Robert Halseth

    Just prior to leaving Fresno in 1966, I got to play trombone in the Fresno Brass Quintet (with Bob Nielsen & Gilbert Rodriguez, Trumpets, Richard Smith, horn, and Dick ______, tuba). I also got to play trombone in the Fresno Philharmonic on Rhapsody in Blue. In both settings, I was filling in for outstanding trombonist Billy Robinson, who has taken a new job in the Bay Area. Wish I could remember the last name of the tuba player, who also played in the Phil.

    Robert Halseth


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