It has been said that Stan Roberts was a Music Camp legend. He joined the trumpet section of the Victorian Symphony Orchestra (now the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) in 1949. When National Music Camp resumed in 1952 following a poliomyelitis outbreak that had caused a two-year hiatus, conductor Sir Bernard Heinze invited Stan to music camp at Geelong Grammar School to assist an under-powered trumpet section perform Dvořák’s Symphony for the New World.
Stan often said,
“I decided to go to camp for only one week but once I got there you couldn’t keep me away. That’s
been a bit of a joke. I went for a week and stayed twenty-seven years.“
Throughout his professional life, Stan was committed to teaching and the development of trumpet and brass players to the highest standard. His decades as a trumpet tutor attest to that commitment.
Perhaps understandably, Stan was assigned the responsibility of rousing campers with a reveille each morning. Starting with small bands of brass players, budding composers were soon inspired to create original music for unusual and difficult-to-transport instruments, including timpani and double basses.
Stan’s attendance at Music Camp soon involved his family – his wife Rosemarie and children, Judith, Ian, and David, who attended many Camps in the 1960s and 1970s.
With Thomas Wightman and Lloyd Davies, Stan was one of the first musicians to be made a Life Member of the National Music Camp Association. His citation included:
“Stan seemed to be forever rehearsing brass wnsembles. No major concert at camp would be complete without an opening fanfare from the brass. The standard of brass playing was always enormously high. Stan, more than anyone in Australia, over a long period of time has been responsible for that at Music Camp.”
Stan assisted at state music camps each year and also camps in Malaysia.
John How (Trumpet, 1978 – 1982) remembers
“… Stan encouraged me to attend National Music Camp, which was the highlight of every year for me. We always had a number of budding composers at camp (Carl Vine sat next to me with his Trumpet!) There was no shortage of original compositions for the morning reveille around the dormitories. One morning, a rousing fanfare, and the next, a soothing lullaby (Campers were late for breakfast that day!) As a Trumpeter, I was often on the morning dorm tour, with Stan leading and chaperoning us. Of all the people in my life, Stan has had the biggest influence and effect on my future. His recognition of not just talent, but love of music, and his unyielding drive and professionalism has stayed with me always.”
Former QSO Trumpeter John Gould (Trumpet, 1978 – 1983) says
“I started my trumpet studies with Stan when I was 11, and continued through to the end of my Uni years. He was a great mentor. Not only was he a great teacher, but he was also a great person and friend. I owe so much to him in making me the trumpet player that I am.”
With his family, Stan moved to Adelaide in 1966 to become Principal Trumpet in the South Australian Symphony Orchestra (now the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra), and he established and conducted the University of Adelaide Brass Ensemble. Stan died in 1993 and bequeathed his brass ensemble music to the National Music Camp Association Library.
The Roberts family has established an endowment with the Australian Youth Orchestra – the Standish Roberts Memorial Scholarship – to commemorate Stan’s long standing commitment and involvement with the organisation, and to support the trumpet players of the future.
To learn more about supporting AYO, please contact the Philanthropy Team via email@example.com.