About the Australian Youth Band

The Australian Youth Band (AYB) is proud to hold the title of the premier youth marching and concert band in Melbourne and Victoria. The band performs at iconic Melbourne parades, popular regional festivals, major sporting events, marching band festivals, corporate functions as well as on overseas tours.

From October to March each year, AYB performs as a fully-equipped marching band in parades, ceremonies and marching band competitions. Additionally, AYB rehearses a select repertoire of concert pieces throughout the year to perform at various concerts around Melbourne.


Members of the Australian Youth Band will be immersed in an environment that encourages musical diversity. From Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld to Cee Lo Green’s Forget You, musicians will have the opportunity to broaden their skills by playing challenging music that captivates audiences around the world.

AYB Musical Director

Richard O’Toole was appointed as the Musical Director of the Australian Youth Band in February 2005, with a clear vision for AYB’s future direction.

Richard wanted to lift the profile of the band both in Melbourne and throughout Australia, and also on the international stage. The increase of AYB’s profile is most evident with regular invitations to attend festivals in China, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Richard has arranged successful itineraries for AYB tours to New Zealand, North America, Malaysia and Hong Kong, and was very much involved in the band’s 2013 tour to Shanghai, China. The success of these tours is paramount to the future success of the band, and establishes AYB as a versatile performance ensemble that can be a highlight of any festival around the world.

Upon leaving school, Richard joined the Royal Australian Airforce as a performing member of the RAAF Central Band. Richard has also been involved with school and community music in Melbourne for forty years. During this time he has been a choral tutor and conductor with the Australian and Victorian Children’s Choirs, conductor of the City of Croydon Wind Symphony and the Musical Director of the Victorian State Youth Concert Band. During his five years with the State Youth Band, concert tours were undertaken to Christchurch, New Zealand and Expo 1988 in Brisbane. Richard also taught instrumental music at Haileybury College from 1986 until 2000.

Richard was appointed as the inaugural Musical Director of the Melbourne Rainbow Band in May 1995. He oversaw the band’s development from twelve eager musicians at the first rehearsal to a membership of over fifty. Richard’s challenge was to build a viable performance ensemble of a high standard with people from diverse musical backgrounds, and in 1997, just two years after the band’s first rehearsal, he guided the band through its first international tour to the USA.

Richard has worked with, and arranged music for many of Australia’s finest artists – including Rhonda Burchmore, John Morrison, Judi Connelli, Donald Cant, Barry Crocker, Colleen Hewett, Suzanne Johnston, Denis Walter, Tim Campbell and Silvie Paladino.

Richard has also had many successes as a conductor in the USA – he was first invited to conduct at a concert band conference in Rochester, New York in 1996, and has since worked with bands in Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and continues his close association with musicians from around the world.

In his days off from AYB, Richard is the Instrumental Music Director at Yarra Hills Secondary College, where he teaches Clarinet, Saxophone, Voice and Piano, and directs the College ensembles. The College Senior Concert Band had very successful tours to New Zealand in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Richard lists as career highlights, the Australian Youth Band’s performances or parades in such cities as San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Calgary, Beijing, Shanghai, Christchurch and Penang. AYB continues to achieve a high standard of performance and is constantly praised for its professionalism and musicianship, which is testament to Richard’s direction and energy, and his 2005 vision of lifting the band’s profile.

Further Information

Rehearsal information

Saturday 8:45am – 12:00pm

Parkhill Primary School Recreation Hall
Parkhill Drive, Ashwood, VIC, 3147

What to Bring
Your instrument (percussion is provided), a music stand, a pencil

How to join

After attending three rehearsals, musicians will be auditioned by AYB’s musical director and an AYB section leader. To pass the audition, each musician will be required to perform the following:

  • Major/Harmonic scales
  • Sight read a piece from the AYB repertoire
  • Own choice of piece equivalent to your current AMEB grade
  • An AYB march chart (from memory)


Membership is available to musicians aged between 15-28. A membership fee of $250 is due on the 1 July each year.

Keen to join AYB? If you are excited by the prospect of joining this world-renowned ensemble, contact us today to organise a time to visit the band.