It’s been a busy summer for Northwestern State University’s Wind Symphony. Members of the ensemble are preparing to perform at the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles conference in Buñol, Spain July 10-13. WASBE is the only international organization of wind band conductors, composers, performers, publishers, teachers, instrument makers and friends of wind music. It is the only organization completely dedicated to enhancing the quality of the wind band throughout the world and exposing its members to new worlds of repertoire, musical culture, people and places. The conference is held every two years.
NSU was one of seven groups chosen to perform and was one of two selected from the United States. Ensembles from Australia, Canada, Italy, Spain and Portugal will all play at the conference.
“Being selected to perform at the international level is an honor and speaks volumes about the dedication of everyone involved in the School of Creative and Performing Arts,” said senior music education and music performance major Hope Spaw of Bossier City. “This opportunity would not be possible without the past members of our wind symphony and their contributions they made while they were in school.”
To apply for WASBE, Director of Bands Dr. Jeff Mathews submitted a recording of the ensemble’s spring concert for review by the WASBE artistic council. The recording was peer-reviewed by an international committee of wind band conductors. He also submitted concert programs covering the last three years to inform the artistic council of the style and caliber of work the ensemble typically performs, a history of the program and a proposed program of what they will perform at the WASBE conference in Spain.
“This has been a long-time goal of mine.” said Mathews, who conducts the Wind Symphony. “Bands from all over the world apply for this opportunity, so the committee recognized the quality of our program. It is the result of the work done over the years to build the School of Creative and Performance into a world-class program.”
The NSU Wind Ensemble is a concert band that performs in winter and spring that is counterpart to the Spirit of Northwestern marching band. Participation is by audition and members are regarded as among the top musicians in the department.
“Over the past 30-plus years, we have built an outstanding marching band, so it is gratifying that our concert band — our serious musical side — is being recognized as well,” Mathew said. “Some of our best recruiters are band directors out there and they understand what this means.”
NSU’s performance at the conference will be live-streamed for internet viewers and recordings will be available for purchase of the performance.