Arizona Wind Symphony showcases ASU musicians

The new year calls for students to explore the artistic opportunities available in Tempe. For monthly events to attend, the Arizona Wind Symphony is worth checking out.

The Arizona Wind Symphony kicked off the new year this Wednesday with “Cornerstones,” a concert featuring contest-winning high school ensembles and ASU’s own Wayne Bailey.

An 80-piece concert band, the Arizona Wind Symphony is a non-profit organization based in Tempe. Supported by both the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, the band continues its 12th season through director William J. Richardson, a devoted (and highly accomplished) Arizona-based musician and music educator.

The band consists of diverse instrumentalists: Some are professional musicians, some are teachers, while still more have careers in areas such as computer science and health care. There are even ties to ASU, with both current and former students within its membership.

David Melkin, president of the Arizona Wind Symphony, wrote in an email, “I don’t take it lightly that current students choose to participate in our community ensemble in addition to their School of Music responsibilities as well, and (I) feel that they lend additional credibility to our own mission of continuing education for all of our members.”

The Arizona Wind Symphony’s connection to ASU extends past its student membership: Wednesday’s guest director, Wayne Bailey, currently teaches as a music professor in the ASU Herberger College of Music.

Bailey has not only directed ensembles at nationally televised events, he has published four authoritative textbooks on conducting and music education as well. His reach extends beyond the United States. He has led ensembles in events such as the International Community Band festival in Switzerland and the All-Japan Band Director’s Clinic.

Prior to the concert, Melkin anticipated Bailey’s appearance Wednesday night. He said the event was to be “a huge honor for (the Arizona Wind Symphony) given Bailey’s record of achievement within his career at ASU and other previous stops.”

The concert featuring Bailey also showcased the winners of the Arizona Wind Symphony’s ensemble competition. High school music ensembles audition to perform at the concert one week before the performance.

“Cornerstones” took place at the Tempe Center for the Arts, a sleek, modern building that hosts events ranging from dance performances to Green Revolution art exhibitions. Fortunately, for those who missed out on attending “Cornerstones,” the Arizona Wind Symphony performs monthly; February’s lineup is called “Bells & Whistles,” while a concert in April will feature a saxophone virtuoso.

Tickets cost $6 and can be ordered at the door, by phone at (480) 350-2822 or on tca.ticketforce.com.

Supporting the organization in turn gives students in Tempe a monthly outlet to build upon a noteworthy New Year’s resolution: development through the arts.

 

Reach the reporter at jconigli@asu.edu.