The Honourable Thomas Benjamin Banks, pianist, conductor, arranger, composer, TV personality, actor, producer, politician (1936-2018). The multi-talented Tommy Banks had an unparalleled, multi-faceted career spanning more than 60 years in virtually every aspect of the entertainment industry in Canada. A professional jazz pianist at age 14, he went on to lead his own bands, conduct symphony orchestras around the world, direct musical ceremonies at international events, host his own long-running television show, and act in film and television. He also served nearly 12 years in the Canadian Senate. Banks was chair (1978–86) of the Alberta Foundation for the Performing Arts and chair (1983–87) of the music program at Grant MacEwan College, Edmonton. He was a member (1989–95) and a policy consultant (1996– 98) of the Canada Council, and the chairman of the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation (1989–91). In 1999, Edmonton named a street Tommy Banks Way in his honour. In 2010, he received SOCAN’s special achievement award for his contributions to Canada’s music industry and musical heritage.
In Mr. Banks’ honour, the Festival provides a commemorative plaque to a most outstanding concert band director.
2018 AWARD RECIPIENT
- Neil Yorke-Slader