NWS Season 44 – 2020-2021

NWS did what many other organizations did during the time of covid. We improvised! Some concerts were canceled, some were moved online, some were re-imagined with alternate instrumentation. All of these concerts were free to the public, but we asked for a donation to help offset our costs.

NWS July 4th Concert
– Sunday, July 4, 5PM at the Capitol District

The Nebraska Wind Symphony, Omaha’s Community Concert band presented a rousing patriotic band concert at the Capitol District, 1022 Capitol Ave, in downtown Omaha. Conducted by Dr. Joshua Kearney and Associate Music Director, Keith Michael Davis, the band played music by Sousa, Bagley, Schuman, and others plus a medley of songs made popular by the group Deep Purple! Student piccoloist Catherine Boese joined Christie Beard, professor of flute and piccolo at the University of Nebraska at Omaha on a piccolo duet.  Guest conductors Ben Coatney and Cassandra Rathman directed the band in works by Fred Allen and Henry Fillmore. Local author James Rees narrated A Jefferson Portrait.
Feel free to review the full program.This 5pm concert was free to the public. 

NWS and Omaha Area Youth Orchestra (OAYO)
– Sunday, June 13, 3PM at SumTur Amphitheater

The Nebraska Wind Symphony presented our first full band NWS concert in over a year! On June 13 at 4:00pm, the Nebraska Wind Symphony and the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras (OAYO) under the direction of Aviva Segall collaborated on an exciting performance at the SumTur Amphitheater (11691 S 108th St, Papillion, NE 68046).
See the flyer for this event.
View the concert program.

The concert featured the immensely talented performers of OAYO joined by select musicians from the Nebraska Wind Symphony on works by Beethoven, Brahms, Armbrust, and others. Additionally, NWS Music Director, Dr. Joshua Kearney, guest conducted OAYO in  a new cinematic work by OAYO alumnus Lee Armbrust.
Following intermission, the Nebraska Wind Symphony presented a rousing full band concert conducted by Dr. Joshua Kearney and Associate Music Director, Keith Michael Davis, featuring the music of Sousa, Bagley, Schuman, and others plus medleys of music by Deep Purple and the music from the Wizard of Oz! Guest conductors Ben Coatney and Cassandra Rathman directed the band in works by Fred Allen and Henry Fillmore.

NWS Live – Outdoor Concert, April 25 – 4PM – St Robert’s

The Nebraska Wind Symphony presented an outdoor concert featuring our wind and percussionists in four smaller chamber ensembles plus the combined group  playing two selections to close the concert. We performed a variety of music composed or arranged for “flex” instrumentation.  “Flex” music are selections that 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 also featured guest trumpet soloist, Jason Johnson.
Check out the program.

NWS returned to in-person rehearsals on March 22 at OCM to prepare for the concert.  We continued 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.

NWS Participates in Dunedin Virtual Band Festival
NWS participated in the Dunedin Florida Music Society’s Virtual Band Festival on Saturday, August 29, 2020. 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 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 went virtual for our 2020 Holiday concert!  We divided into 5 smaller chamber groups so we could meet requirements of physical distancing.  Other research-based safety measures have made our safe rehearsals possible. Our concert premiered on December 23, 2020 at 6PM on the NWS YouTube channel.  Please check out all of your Holiday favorites in some exciting arrangements for mixed instruments. 
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.

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.

Stay up to date with the Nebraska Wind Symphony by visiting us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at the pages below.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NebraskaWinds/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NebraskaWinds 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/NebraskaWinds/

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

Fall Concert – Saturday, October 17, 2020, 3:30pm – FREE
– featured chamber groups – outdoors at St. Robert Bellarmine, 120th and Pacific
This concert was originally scheduled for Sunday, but we did a last minute adjustment to account for bad weather.

Holiday Concert – Wednesday, December 23, 2020  – 6PM on our YouTube channel
– featuring sounds of the seasons by 5 small chamber groups
Rather than being live, we recorded this concert in 5 separate sessions and edited them together to the concert that can be seen on the NWS YouTube channel.

Winter Concert – cancelled

Our original planned concerts – these all had to be cancelled/reimagined differently

Fall Concert
Saturday, October 18, 2020 – 3:30PM – this is an updated date/time
free Outdoor Concert – featuring chamber groups – St. Robert Bellarmine, 120th and Pacific

Holiday Concert
Sunday, December 13, 2020 – 3PM
The University of Nebraska at Omaha – Strauss Performing Arts Center

Winter Concert
Sunday, February 14, 2021 – 3PM
The University of Nebraska at Omaha – Strauss Performing Arts Center
featuring our NWS Middle School All-stars

Spring Concert  
Sunday, April 11, 2021 – 3pM
The University of Nebraska at Omaha – Strauss Performing Arts Center
tentatively featuring our 2021 NWS Scholarship Winner

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