One of only a handful of outstanding community-based adult wind bands in New Jersey, the Hanover Wind Symphony (HWS) delights audiences of all ages by giving a contemporary twist to traditional favorites. HWS differs from a symphony orchestra in that its instrumentation is comprised exclusively of wind, brass, and percussion instruments. Our members are your neighbors – volunteers who share a love for music as well as a desire for enriching the cultural fabric of the community with live wind band performances.
HWS continues to play to enthusiastic audiences in and around the greater Morris County, NJ region. Our mission is to bring “music to people and people to music.” HWS serves the community by making the magic of live performances accessible, raising the musical awareness and expectations of local audiences and by serving as musical role models for local students. By providing free or low-cost concerts in the Morris County area, we are proud to provide access to professional-level musicianship in our community.
The group was founded 1985 by Peter Boor who saw the need for an adult ensemble which could perform music of the highest caliber. At the premiere performance there were 39 musicians. Now in its 33nd season, the Hanover Wind Symphony has a membership of over 70. Roughly half of the members have been in the Symphony for over fifteen years, with eight of the founding members still active. This longevity is rare in a group of this nature and demonstrates the dedication and devotion of the players as well as the distinctive character of the band.
HWS celebrated its 30th anniversary in May 2015 with a gala performance at our home site in Whippany that included the premiere of a newly commissioned piece of wind literature, “Returning Home,” by Morris County composer Chris Bernotas. The concert also featured the return of Peter Boor, Founder and Music Director Emeritus. We celebrated past, present, and future of the ensemble by featuring two soloists – one of our founding members and a local high school player whose parents are members that first met in HWS.
In 2010 HWS marked its 25th anniversary at the Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) in Morristown. The concert featured world-renowned soloist Stanley Drucker, clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic for 60 years, and also debuted a newly commissioned piece of wind literature, “Winds Along the Whippany”, by Sean O’Loughlin. The group was invited to return to MPAC in 2014 and was fortunate to play a second concert with Mr. Drucker while also presenting a program that celebrated the 350th anniversary of New Jersey.
HWS continues to maintain an active and varied schedule. In 2017 the group performed “Symphonic Dances” at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, played an outreach concert with Mount Olive High School, presented “Appalachian Spring” at our home site in Whippany, and shared the sounds of summer in both Whippany and Morris Township. Fall brought the kickoff of our 33rd season and “Friends Old and New”.
Additional highlights in the last several years include: collaborations with the Lakeland Youth Symphony and Morris Choral Society; a concert featuring world-class piano soloist Gary Kirkpatrick performing his signature “Rhapsody in Blue” with the ensemble; readings by “My Hero” student essay contest winners together with music inspired by their entries; joint performances with the students of Morris Hills High School, Dover High School, Edison High School, and Memorial Junior School (Whippany); multiple appearances at the Bickford Theater in Morristown; and participation in the Abendmusik series at UMC in Morristown. HWS was also selected as one of 7 adult concert bands to perform as part of the Boston Festival of Bands at Faneuil Hall in 2013.
In 2017, the Hanover Wind Symphony began a scholarship program that enabled an aspiring young instrumentalist to attend a quality summer music camp. Chris Mantell was selected as the first scholarship recipient. He attended the Chamber Music Program at Rutgers University and studied with Dr. Paul Cohen. In October 2017, Chris performed the Walter S. Hartley Concerto No 1 for Saxophone and Band with the Hanover Wind Symphony and received enthusiastic acclaim from both the audience and the ensemble. The scholarship program will continue in 2018 and beyond.
Through all of our endeavors, HWS remains committed to bringing both contemporary and traditional American wind band repertoire to life.