Cascadia Wind Ensemble to perform concert in Hope

Group will bring An Old Fashioned Christmas to town on Nov. 24

The Cascadia Wind Ensemble will bring An Old Fashioned Christmas to Hope on Sunday.

The group has flourished under conductor and music director Shannon Goldsmith over the last couple years. Through her efforts the ensemble took root, providing an outlet for 25 musicians with a passion for good wind music. Members come from all over the Fraser Valley and several play in symphony orchestras.

A wind symphony orchestra is also known as a wind band, symphonic band, concert band, and wind ensemble or wind orchestra. Musical groups that mainly use wind instruments and percussion are known as wind symphony orchestras. There aren’t any string sections as there are in classic orchestras, but there’s little difference between orchestra music and wind symphony orchestra music. The concept of the modern wind ensemble was born when Frederick Fennell created the Eastman Wind Ensemble in 1952. Fennell’s new instrumentation used the instruments generally found in symphonic or concert bands, but reduced the size of certain sections to feature one player on each part. This allowed players who often got buried in large sections in the concert band to rise to the challenges of playing as soloists in an ensemble context. Fennell also encouraged contemporary composers to write for this new instrumentation, which was similar to an expanded orchestral winds/percussion section but included characteristic color instruments from the concert band, such as saxophones and euphonium. At that time, few original band pieces existed, and band concerts usually included numerous transcriptions from orchestral repertoire, with notable exceptions from Sousa and other marches composers. Fennell began programming works for groups of any size that followed the one-on-a-part guideline, such as Mozart Serenades for wind octet and works for brass groups by Gabrieli. This allowed wind ensemble members to perform music from all eras of written wind music, including the small but excellent repertoire for military and symphonic bands by composers such as Holst and Vaughan Williams.

The wind ensemble concept has found a home in many community organizations throughout the world and was joined by the Cascadia Wind Ensemble in the Fraser Valley. Despite the relative youth of the wind ensemble in comparison to other musical media, numerous contemporary composers have responded to the idea of writing for this collection.

The Cascadia Wind Ensemble follows this tradition of performing great works for bands and wind groups of all sizes from all eras, including wind works, marches, military and symphonic band pieces, show music and compositions written for the modern wind ensemble.

The group will perform a variety of Christmas carols at the rec centre conference room on Nov. 24, starting at 1 p.m.

Tickets are $15.