Dr. Chris Wilhjelm, community leaders, and musicians founded the Ridgewood Concert Band (RCB) in 1983 with the idea of providing high quality performing venues for the many accomplished wind and percussion players living in the New York Metropolitan area. On July 1, 2017, the Ridgewood Concert Band formally changed its name to the New Jersey Wind Symphony to better reflect the identity of the organization.
Through the years, consistently high level performances have led to the production of two commercially released CDs, performances on the East coast, and peer recognition through the awarding of the be edited John Philip Sousa Foundation’s coveted Sudler Silver Scroll Award in 1996.
The NJWS performs an annual series of concerts presenting the very finest in wind band literature for capacity audiences. Ranging from light classics and famous marches, to cutting edge compositions by today’s brilliant composers, the band’s programming has drawn critical attention for its variety and depth. Originally launched as the Ridgewood Community Concert Band, an early review praising the band’s fine performance proclaimed this is no “Community” band. The Board of Directors decided to incorporate as The Ridgewood Concert Band.
The members of the New Jersey Symphony come from all walks of life. The musicians and board members are drawn together by a common dedication to the study, performance, and support of great music.
The quality of NJWS performances has attracted world class soloists from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, radio and television personalities and other nationally renowned performers and conductors. The New Jersey Wind Symphony has also been active in the commission and performance of new works.
The New Jersey Wind Symphony is actively engaged with area schools, offering opportunities for talented school musicians to perform with the band. In 2006, the band launched a scholarship program that reaches a large network of high schools in the region, inviting musicians who plan to seek a career in music to compete for scholarship funds. Winners showcase their talent as a featured soloist with the band. The competition and concert is one of the highlights of each season.
Each year the NJWS performs a subscription series of concerts at their performance home in the West Side Presbyterian Church in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
The NJWS has also obtained world wide recognition through international touring:
1998 – Central Europe: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria
2003 – Southern France: The Riviera Reeds Festival, La Croix Valmer; Le Pradet
2008 – China: Shanghai, Hangzhou , Xian , Beijing
2009 – Brazil: Sao Paolo, Santos, Novo Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Ouro Preto
2010 Germany, Austria, Italy; Garmisch, Munich, Salzburg, Schladming Festival, Venice