Reno Wind Symphony
The Reno Wind Symphony is a community-based professional-level wind ensemble that aims to improve the quality of life in northern Nevada through music. Their performances provide high-quality and challenging musical experiences for their musicians, and promote artistic enrichment in the arts community. They are a family-oriented, classical music tradition for citizens of northern Nevada who strive to continue the history of concert bands and the legacies of Sousa and Fillmore, as well as enhancing and promoting the modern wind ensemble of the 21st century.
Then and Now
The group dates back to January of 2006 when the Reno Wind Symphony (RWS) was founded by Dr. A. G. “Mack” McGrannahan III, director of bands emeritus/professor of music emeritus at the University of Nevada, who serves as conductor and artistic advisor. Mack knew that a common pitfall of teaching music was that you simply don’t have time to play your own instrument anymore. That’s where the idea of the RWS was born. He wanted to give community members a place to come play serious band music, as well as to provide a performance venue for music educators.
Mack said “There were many area musicians and former students who liked the idea, and wanted to play in a community-based band.”
Over the last 10 years, the idea has stayed the same but the group has expanded. The RWS is comprised of around 70 musicians, both amateur and professional including a range of careers and ages, who come together to rehearse each week driven by the same belief: the belief that music and the arts improve the quality of their life and the lives of their community members. This purpose is what allows them to accept everyone in the group, sans auditions, and still produce professional-level performances.
Steve Martin is vice-president, composer, and designer at Gary P. Gilroy Publications during the day, trumpet player and associate conductor of the RWS. He said it this way, “It is my privilege to be part of such an eclectic group of musicians from my local community. Most of us do not spend our days as musicians, and many rekindled their love for music when they pulled their instruments out of the closet for the first time in years — maybe even since high school — to be a part of this group.
“This illustrates one of the special things about music: it brings all walks of life together for a common goal. Bands like this exist all over the world, but we’re especially fortunate to be part of this group right here in our backyard. The culmination of all of these factors is the journey we take into each concert, working together in harmony (pun intended!) to perform at a high level so we may entertain our audiences, and feel proud of what we have done.
“Then it starts over in preparation for the next concert, and we get to ride the roller coaster again! What an exhilarating ride it is!”
Each year the group practices in preparation for four to six concerts at the Nightingale Concert Hall on the campus of the University of Nevada. Concerts are a mixture of contemporary, classical, and popular works for wind ensemble or symphonic band. This year they have already performed three concerts. In February they presented “The Forgotten Gems.” In March they performed for the Western/Northwestern Divisional Conference of the College Band Directors National Association. And in May, they presented “On Broadway!”.
They are currently practicing for their last three concerts of the year. Mark your calendars with these dates: “Monsters, Ghouls and Ghosts Oh My!” on Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.; “A Veteran’s Day Salute” on Nov. 6 at 3 p.m.; “Holiday Celebration” on Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 3 p.m.
Fulfilling their purpose doesn’t stop with music. The mission of the Reno Wind Symphony to improve the quality of life here in northern Nevada is a big goal, but that’s what they are about. When they aren’t practicing or performing they are active in outreach in the community. This year they had the honor of performing for the dedication of the new Virginia Street Bridge where they got to honor the new architectural centerpiece of the downtown Reno area. This was a big community event that featured speeches by city officials, a brief inaugural parade featuring classic cars, service vehicles, and the local university marching band.
As the RWS moves forward into the holiday season and starts looking toward the new year, they are excited to serve this community by participating in more community outreaches and producing inspiring concerts.
For Reno Wind Symphony’s performance schedule, please visit their website at http://www.unr.edu/cla/music/calendars. For other inquiries, contact Mack McGrannahan at email@example.com or Steve Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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