Classics Sounds of the Big Band Era
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To assemble and maintain a group of musicians willing to give of their time and talent in order to perpetuate music education in the local community high schools.


To continue raising funds that will provide self-funding music scholarships at all of our local high schools.


The Downey Alumni Band was formed in 1991 at the request of Downey High School’s then Activity Director, the late Major Bob Porkorny. Glenn Mount (Downey Pep Band Director 1975) was asked to assemble a band to play for Downey’s 40th year Celebration held on Sept. 21st 1991.

The result was a 37-member group of past Downey Band members playing "Pep Band" songs from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. A group of players talked about keeping this organization together. So we did. Of course we had to crawl before we could walk. Since many of the players hadn’t touched their horns in many years our repertoire was limited to the easy marching/pep band charts. During those early years we played for high school football and basketball games including the North South all-stars and also a Pop Warner football championship game. We played in Modesto’s Fourth of July parade, various concerts in the park, company parties and several community activities. Our dream however was to someday become proficient enough and have the endurance (chops) to play for dances.

As our chops got tougher we started adding more difficult music and our goal became a reality in 1998. The band played its first bonafide dance for the Ballroom Dance Club of Modesto. The response from the club was overwhelming. At that first gig we had several club members tell us that was the first time in many years they had heard a band play their favorite tunes the way they remembered them, with full orchestration and original scores. Since that first engagement the band has changed direction and its name. We now go by the name of Knight Sounds  (Downey Knights..... Get it?) Our main function is to play Big Band Era music for dances although we do continue to play local festivals and special events.

Now all this playing must have some purpose, right? Well it does. This group of musicians has to be the most selfless group of individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Knight Sounds is a non- profit organization that turns all of the proceeds from performances into scholarships for high school musicians as well as donating to the school’s music program.

In 1995 we honored Mr. Kenneth Farrell who was the Band Director and instrumental music instructor at Downey High school from 1954 to 1974 and for whom most of us played. Mr. Farrell received his Master's Degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan and as of 1974, had fourteen published works and over two hundred musical arrangements to his credit. To honor Mr. Farrell we held a dinner and band performance and called it "Farrell Night". The turnout was tremendous with many alumni attending to show their respects to Mr. Farrell. That night we presented Mr. Farrell with a plaque that conveyed the appreciation of his past students for his hard work and selfless dedication establishing and maintaining a band of "Command Performance" quality. It was then that we established a music scholarship in his honor. In 1995 the first recipient of the Ken Farrell Music Scholarship received a certificate and a check for $500.00 from the Alumni Band presented by Mr. Farrell at Downey’s award assembly. We have continued this scholarship at Downey ever since and plan to expand to the other area high schools.

Of course like all things change is inevitable. Having a band of strictly "Downey Alumni" was not very practical and limited the bands ability to keep moving forward. Today the group is made up of a variety of players from many different musical backgrounds. These players have allowed us to continue to increase our repertoire by bringing in fresh ideas and also gives the band a greater pool of musicians to select from. We are constantly looking for new players in the area who would like to be a part of this great organization. If you’re a player (or once were a player) can read music and would like to play Big Band Music, give us a call!

For more information about booking the band, contact Glenn Mount at

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