Richards is the Community Conductor of Musical Affairs for Mountain Town Music, a nonprofit organization that produces, fosters, and supports live music for Park City and Summit County residents and it's visitors.
Auerbach, the former director for Utah's branch of the School of Rock, founded MusicGarage.org, a musical resource center where musicians, producers, recording artists, bands, songwriters, students and hobbyists go to hone and share their craft in performances, workshops, rehearsals, training programs and classes.
For nearly five years, they have worked together in the summer to present young musicians to Park City audiences during the Grand Valley Bank Community Concerts at Deer Valley.
They are now working together to offer other young Summit County-based musicians $1,000 scholarships to the MusicGarage.org program.
Both Richards and Auerbach hope to create a house band that will perform at Park Silly Sunday Market, Deer Valley and Newpark this year, Richards said.
"This is an opportunity to have an effect on future musicians from Summit County," Richards told The Park Record.
The idea for the scholarships stemmed from Mountain Town Music's successful educational outreach program.
"We have been presenting music as a cultural art form in Summit County elementary schools for the past few years," Richard said. "While that has been going well, the problem lies in the fact that we can't always find the bands and artists that fit within that particular program."
So, Richards and his board of trustees discussed ways to expand the program.
"We decided to think outside the box, and reached out to Steve," Richards said. "He suggested that we do a scholarship program for one student." Ryan Walsh, one of our trustees took it one step further and said "why not a whole band that could play for us in the summer."
The idea struck a chord with Richards.
"One of the issues that Mountain Town Music faces is that often times successful educational outreach programs happen behind closed doors without the community understanding the full scope or the influence it has on our children," he said. "Building and nurturing a band is something that can be seen in the community, especially when students get the opportunity to play live on stages attended by thousands."
MusicGarage.org will hold auditions for musicians ages 12 to 16 every Thursday through April 24 at its Salt Lake facility, located at 250 W. 1300 South.
Parents can sign up their vocalists, guitarists, bassists, drummers and keyboardists for an audition by visiting www.musicgarage.org/#!mtm-scholarship/c781 .
Auditions can also be scheduled by calling 801-577-BAND (2263).
The judge will be GarageMusic.org music director and renowned guitarist Terence Hansen. Once awarded the scholarships, carpools will be available to the Park City musicians.
"The idea is to take the band from the beginning and see what MusicGarage can do," Richards said. "We wanted the kids to be early- to mid-teens so we could help them develop as musicians once they got the scholarships. We didn't want experienced students who might already be great players try to mesh in with musicians who weren't as developed."
Auditions will be very informal, Auerbach said.
"After registering, we will send them a list of songs that the kids in our program already know," he explained. "The hopefuls will pick a song to learn and work on and then they'll play the song with our kids during the audition, where they will also meet other musicians and their families."
Students will be selected based on musical merit and financial situation.
"We also want to give some of the kids who might have had some musical training, but don't have the financial means, an opportunity to be a part of the program," Auerbach said.
Rehearsals are held once a week and Auerbach is looking forward to do more for young Summit County musicians, because MusicGarage actually started as a summer camp in the Park City School District through the Community Education program in the early 2000s.
"That went well and we soon became an after-school program at Treasure Mountain Junior High, which was called Treasure Mountain Middle School back then," Auerbach said. "We ran a couple of seasons there, but the logistics of overhead and storing the equipment got a little much, so we contacted the Utah Arts Alliance and moved."
Even though it moved, GarageMusic.org still maintained a relationship with Mountain Town Music.
"Because we have partnered with Mountain Town Music for so long and have always wanted to be in Park City, Brian and I figured that creating this scholarship program would be another way to provide Park City residents a service," Auerbach said. "We connected the dots between us and Mountain Town Music and their board wanted to do it. And we are so grateful to the board members who approved this."
The benefits are simple to Auerbach.
"Mountain Town will further it's mission and nurture a youth band and MusicGarage will get five top young Park City musicians from that age bracket in our program," he said.
Once the musicians are selected, they will have the opportunity to work with MusicGarage.org's staff, including Hansen, Fictionist guitarist Brandon Kitterman, Melodramus drummer Andrew Hopkins, Big Blue Ox bassist George Simon and vocal coach Megan Lee, who is with the Cathedral Choir from the Cathedral of the Madeleine, Auerbach said.