Thirty years ago, two New Rochelle High School graduates, Rachel Eckhaus and Robert LaPorta, realized how much they missed the musical and social experience of playing in their high school concert band. They also discovered that there were virtually no local community bands in Westchester County, so they persuaded their former band director, James D. Wayne, to work with them to form a new organization, which they named the Hudson Valley Wind Symphony.
From its humble beginning of 30 members, the group has grown to 65 wind and percussion players, has found a permanent home at the Tarrytown Music Hall, and has changed its name to the Westchester Symphonic Winds, to better reflect that its members are drawn from Westchester County and surrounding tri-state metropolitan area.
The Westchester Symphonic Winds is an adult community-based wind and percussion ensemble, proud to celebrate its 30th season. We exist to promote music in our area, instill pride in our nation and heritage, provide opportunities for personal expression and growth within our membership, and nurture the love of music by offering an exceptional musical experience for people of all ages.
The ensemble has profited from the leadership of its conductors. James D. Wayne conducted the band from 1988-2004. Dr. Luis Fernando Jimenez was conductor from 2005-2008. Curt Ebersole was invited to conduct the 20th Anniversary Gala Concert in 2008, and was subsequently invited to stay on permanently as Conductor/Music Director. During Maestro Ebersole’s tenure, the ensemble has been honored with several high-profile performances. These have included our Lincoln Center debut at Avery Fisher Hall in 2010, performances at the Association of Concert Bands National Convention in 2012 and the New York State Band Directors Winter Symposium in 2017, an Exchange Concert Program with the Northshore Concert Band in 2015-2016, and four sold-out performances at the Caramoor Music Festival in Katonah, New York in 2014-2017. In addition, guest conductors and clinicians have included the finest wind band conductors from across the nation, and superb soloists, both guests and those from within the ensemble, have headlined our programs.
Over the years, we have given concerts on behalf of many service and benefit organizations. Our educational outreach program has included a Side-by-Side Concert with the Mahopac Central School District. Our Exchange Program with the Northshore Concert Band of Evanston, Illinois, provided opportunities to perform at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University and the Palace Theatre in Stamford, Connecticut. Our Apprentice Conductor program gives music educators from within the group an opportunity to conduct the ensemble, with coaching and feedback from Maestro Ebersole. The ensemble has been the subject of articles in The New York Times and Teaching Music, the magazine of the National Association for Music Education.
Like many avocational groups, WSW members represent many backgrounds and vocations, but the common thread is the love of the concert band experience. Since a broad cross-section of the public has never heard a serious concert band, one of the aims of the group is to expose music lovers to this wonderful, vast repertoire. The organization is an Ensemble-in-Residence at the historic Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, New York, and rehearses there on Monday evenings from September through June.
Visit us at www.westchestersymphonicwinds.org for more information and personnel opportunities. We also maintain a presence on Facebook and Twitter (@WSWinds). Westchester Symphonic Winds, Inc. is a Section 501(c)(3) Not-for-Profit organization. Contributions, financial assistance, principal chair underwriting, and volunteers are essential to our success, and always welcomed.