NWS Live – Outdoor Concert, April 25 – 3PM – St Robert’s
The Nebraska Wind Symphony presents an outdoor concert featuring our wind and percussionists in a number of smaller ensembles. We’ll be performing a variety of music composed or arranged for “flex” instrumentation. That means that these selections can be played by any number and combination of instruments. This is one way that instrumental music has been adapted to work within the constraints of the pandemic.
The concert will be in the back parking area of St. Robert’s at 118th and Pacific. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the music!
NWS returns to in-person rehearsals on March 22 at OCM to prepare for this concert. We continue to follow the guidelines for performance including physical distancing, wearing masks while we play, masking our instruments, limited time within the enclosed space, and extra sanitation.
Do Good Week – April 19-24
SHARE Omaha’s Do Good Week, presented by FNBO (First National Bank of Omha), is five days dedicated to meeting the cash needs of nonprofits in our community, as well as volunteer and item needs, followed by a day of celebration. April 19-24, 2021 is your time to do good. Give cash to causes that matter to you. Buy items for nonprofits. Make a new volunteer commitment. It’s all happening at SHAREomaha.org.
Check out NWS’s ShareOmaha Profile Page for additional info about NWS.
Find out more about Do Good Week.
Thank you, FNBO and all of our donors, for your continued support through Do Good Week.!
What’s Up in 2021?
As we begin 2021, the Nebraska Wind Symphony is taking some additional time off from in-person rehearsal activities. We hope to be able resume some rehearsals in the March/April timeframe with the potential for some additional recorded or even live performances as outdoor options become open to us. We are eager to get back to performing and are proactively looking for outdoor venues for two summer concerts.
We are having a series of Monday night Zoom sessions for our playing members that will feature a number of different opportunities.
Zoom Music – We’ve commission our Associate Director and Composer, Keith Davis, to write a piece that can be performed by our members over Zoom. There is a lag in all of these interactive platforms that make group music performance a real challenge. We’re giving this a shot and plan to record Keith’s piece to show others one way real-time music can be accomplished.
Happy Hour – Just a chance to talk about things we are doing and possibly share in some games.
NWS Seminars – Josh Kearney has arranged some guest speakers to talk about music making in this time of covid. We explore how science is being leveraged to help us play together safely and other things that are happening around the US and elsewhere.
NWS Holiday Artwork by Jeff Koterba
The Nebraska Wind Symphony commissioned national award winning and Omaha cartoonist Jeff Koterba to create an original 11” x 17” work of art to reflect the themes of “2020”, “winter holiday”, and “Nebraska Wind Symphony”.
Thanks to our fans and playing members for supporting us through your donations towards chances for this artwork. NWS received over $900 in donations!
Music Director, Josh Kearney, completed the live raffle drawing on January 2, 2021. The winner of the artwork was Jenny Holtz, a former NWS flutist. Congratulations Jenny!
Thank you all for your continued support of the Nebraska Wind Symphony and we wish everyone a happy and much improved 2021!
Here is a cool time-lapse video showing Jeff create this holiday-themed artwork. Watch the master at work and get a look at the final product at the end.
Do you enjoy Mr. Koterba’s work as much as we do? If so, consider supporting Jeff on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/jeffreykoterba.
Virtual Holiday Band Concert, December 23, 2020
NWS is going virtual for our Holiday concert this year! We’ve divided up into 5 smaller chamber groups to meet requirements of physical distancing. Other research-based safety measures have made our safe rehearsals possible. Our concert will premier on December 23, 2020 at 6PM on the NWS YouTube channel. Please join us anytime during and after the premier as we play all of your Holiday favorites in some exciting arrangements for mixed instruments. More to come soon.
Check out our promotional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e70p6y-CL4
Fall Mini Concert – Saturday, October 17, 2020 – 3:30PM – FREE!
We’ve learned a lot of things with Covid-19 including the need to adapt. Weather for Sunday: Not very nice. Saturday? Perfect for being outside and enjoying good music. So, we decided to reschedule our concert to Saturday, October 17 at 3:30PM, still outside, at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Parish, 11802 Pacific Street. We explored some of the finest music for small and chamber ensembles written over the past 250 years – including many works composed in recent months. The concert was free and open to the public.
We organized three small groups of mixed instruments for this performance. Program included: Partita No. IV for winds by Georg Druschetzky, John Mackey’s new work entitled
Let Me Be Frank With You and his beautiful arrangement of Sheltering Sky for small ensemble, Frank Ticheli’s In C-Dorian inspired by Terry Riley’s landmark piece In C, Julie Giroux’s small ensemble version of Our Castaways, Giovanni Santos’ exciting Rattlesnake Blues, selections from Roger Zare’s Three Ostinatos, and Louis Panella’s uplifting American Red Cross March.
44th Concert Season for 2020-2021
NWS is busy making plans for different types of concert experiences as the coronavirus situation continues to unfold. Tentative dates, times, and locations for upcoming concerts.
Fall Concert – Saturday, October 17, 2020, 3:30pm – FREE
– featuring chamber groups – outdoors at St. Robert Bellarmine, 120th and Pacific
Holiday Concert – Wednesday, December 23, 2020 – 6PM on our YouTube channel
– featuring sounds of the seasons by 5 small chamber groups
NOTE that these future concerts are dependent upon COVID-19 control progress
Winter Concert – Sunday, February 14, 2021 – at the University of Nebraska at Omaha
– featuring our NWS Middle School All-stars
Spring Concert – Sunday, April 11, 2021 – at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (tentative)
NWS Participates in Dunedin Virtual Band Festival
NWS participated in the Dunedin Florida Music Society’s Virtual Band Festival on Saturday, August 29, Six different bands provided video recordings of 8 varied musical selections with representatives of each band, including NWS Music Director Josh Kearney, providing some background information between selections.
NWS contributed our virtual recording of “Earth Song” by Frank Ticheli to the festival.
Other participating bands: Dunedin Concert Band (Florida), Big River Brass Band (Iowa), The Franklin Band (New Jersey), Newmarket Citizens Band (Ontario, Canada), and the Quad City Wind Ensemble (Illinois). The entire festival event can be viewed on YouTube.
NWS Virtual Performance – Earth Song by Frank Ticheli
Earth Song was chosen for its deeply meaningful words and sentiment during this difficult time. Ticheli wrote the poem and then set it to music. He adapted the wind ensemble edition of Earth Song from his own original choral setting.
Regarding this work, Ticheli writes:
“Earth Song is one of only a few works that I have composed without a commission. Instead, it sprung out of a personal need during a time when so many in this country, including myself, were growing disillusioned with the war in Iraq. I felt a strong impulse to create something that would express my own personal longing for peace. It was this longing which engendered the poem’s creation. I knew I had to write the poem myself, partly because it is not just a poem, but a prayer, a plea, a wish – a bid to find inner peace in a world that seems eternally bent on war and hatred. But also, the poem is a steadfast declaration of the power of music to heal. In the end, the speaker in the poem discovers that, through music, he is the embodiment of hope, peace, the song within the Song.”
This is the poem:
Sing, Be, Live, See…
This dark stormy hour, The wind, it stirs. The scorched earth cries out in vain:
O war and power, You blind and blur. The torn heart cries out in pain.
But music and singing Have been my refuge, And music and singing Shall be my light.
A light of song Shining strong: Alleluia!
Through darkness, pain and strife, I’ll Sing, Be, Live, See…
Listen and enjoy: https://youtu.be/N0NJOqBvrLI.
Summer 2020 Concerts Canceled
NWS regretfully announces the cancellation of our summer concerts scheduled for Sunday, June 28 and Friday, July 3. We are very disappointed that the novel coronavirus has impacted our ability to gather to rehearse and perform as a group. We believe that canceling this summer’s performances is the right decision to make for the safety of our membership, our patrons, and our friends and families.
Our music director, Josh Kearney, speaks about the cancellation of our summer concerts.
Stay up to date with the Nebraska Wind Symphony by visiting us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at the pages below.
A Different Kind of Music by NWS Playing Members
In 1952, noteworthy American composer John Cage conceptualized a work that changed the landscape of music composition: 4’33” (read four minutes and thirty-three seconds or simply four thirty-three). In 4’33”, audience members and performers sit in a performance space and make no sound – there is only silence. The piece was premiered in the Maverick Concert Hall in the middle of a forest near Woodstock, New York.
The soundtrack was provided by participating playing members of the Nebraska Wind Symphony. They recorded their surroundings during the time of COVID-19. These recordings have been layered to create a soundscape and paired alongside still photos of our home – Nebraska. Though the video is four minutes and forty-two seconds in length, the audio track supplied is exactly 4’33”.
Check back as additional tracks will be layered for future iterations of this project along with updated photographs.
May 15, 2020 video
May 1, 2020 video – https://youtu.be/PgUQ-FujorA
April 13, 2020 video – https://youtu.be/VfDAMCzxFZM
We welcome Dr Joshua Kearney as our new Music Director! Josh is Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He brings a lot of enthusiasm and a love for all different kinds of music for concert band. Please join us in welcoming Josh!
Our former Music Director, Larry MacTaggart has decided to not return in our upcoming 2020-2021 season so he can commit more time to writing music and other interests. We thank Larry for his service to the Nebraska Wind Symphony for 5 years and wish him well. We are looking forward to playing more of Larry’s original music for concert band.
We Couldn’t Do This Without Your Support!
NWS relies on financial support from its playing members, concert patrons, and businesses and individuals from around the Omaha metropolitan area. These gifts help us to pay for rehearsal and concert space, music director and other staff salaries, new music purchase and rental, performance rights, insurance, replacement equipment, and so many other things.
Consider providing your financial support of NWS through one or more of these methods:
– Direct Financial Donation
– Concert Series Sponsorship
– Program Advertisement Purchase
– Omaha Gives
– Donation Programs like AmazonSmile; Giving Assistant; TAGG (Together a Greater Good)
Thank you for your past and future support!
Watch and listen to our salute to Women of the Military
Hey Nebraska Wind Symphony Fans!
Omaha Gives – Thank You for your support!
We received great support from our playing members and friends through Omaha Gives May 20, 2020. This year, 30 donors gave a total of $4,810! These donations fill a large void created by the loss of summer concert revenue. Thank you for helping us to continue to function and make music joyfully in the greater Omaha area.
NWS Memorial Scholarship News
2020 NWS Concerto/Scholarship Competition award amount is $1,000.
2020 application period has ended.
Congratulations to Kendall Wooden for being selected the 2020 scholarship winner! Plans are in place for Kendall to perform with NWS at an upcoming concert. Read more about Kendall and our other scholarship winners at our scholarship recipients page.
Visit our scholarship page for additional details about the NWS Scholarship.
Larry MacTaggart Receives NSBA Distinguished Service Award
The Nebraska State Bandmasters Association (NSBA) awarded the Duane Johnson Distinguished Service Award to NWS Music Director, Larry MacTaggart in March 2019. This award is given by the NSBA Executive Board to individuals who have helped make “Better Bands for Nebraska”. The award is designated in honor and recognition of Duane E. Johnson and the many invaluable contributions he made to bands of Nebraska.
Other 2019 recipients of this award were Tom Jaworski (Retired, Adams Central Public Schools) and Joanie Mathis (Omaha Symphony).
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with the support of the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment