The Valley Winds believes that every community should have access to live classical music. During the pandemic, we have not been able to meet as we normally would to bring you to live, inspired performances. While we have not met in person, the music still goes on! During these trying times, we still feel a great drive to bring our community artistically driven performance. Our members have worked very hard to put together several virtual performances this year, with more to come.
Our 2020 virtual season began over the summer with our release of "Stars and Stripes Forever", by John Philip Sousa
TVW's "orchestra in the orchard" series adopted a socially distant model. We presented three "at home watch party" performances, released weekly in August. These three performances gave our audience and members an opportunity to watch together from the safety and comfort of their homes.
For Halloween, we embraced our whimsical side in a performance of "The Imperial March" from Star Wars, by John Williams.
We have more virtual performances to come this season, we hope you will join us. We appreciate your support and cannot bring these virtual performances to our community without you!
At Pittsburgh International Airport in 2014, Brian Messier was weighing job opportunities, one of which would mean a return to the Pioneer Valley. In order for the move to Massachusetts to become professionally realistic, Brian felt that he needed to create a quality wind ensemble that he would direct. From his previous tenure in the Pioneer Valley, Brian knew many talented professional musicians living and working in Western Massachusetts who lacked professional performance opportunities. The talent was there, he just needed to create the opportunity. Sitting at an airport cafe, he began sending texts to friends and colleagues. By the time he boarded the plane, the Valley Winds was born.
With the recruitment of strong section leaders, Brian charged his colleagues with the task of building and assembling the finest musicians in the area to fill out the ensemble. Once the roster was assembled Brian invested his own money into getting the group off the ground. In the spirit of entrepreneurship, the musicians donated their time and rehearsed weekly at area high schools, borrowing percussion equipment and music from schools and colleagues. The first performance was presented on December 14, 2014 to an extremely enthusiastic audience and received the highest accolades they could imagine. The Valley Winds had arrived.
The Valley Winds continues its mission of providing the highest quality of both classic wind band repertoire and new works written for wind ensemble. Its members are professional musicians whose careers encompass everything from full-time performers, music educators, college professors, private instructors, doctors, engineers, extremely talented college students and, of course, musicians who do a little of all the above.
The Valley Winds has collaborated with many celebrated artists including Grammy-nominated trumpeter Eric Berlin, former principal oboist of the Minnesota Orchestra Basil Reeve, acclaimed soloists including clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois, saxophonist Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, bassist Shigefumi Tomita, percussionist Erica Drake, trombonist Greg Spiridopoulos, hornist Julia Cavagnaro, soprano Mary Hubbell, as well as concerts with the Inés Arrubla Flamenco Dance Theatre, the South Hadley Chorale and the award winning composer Frank Ticheli.
Dedicated to community outreach, the Valley Winds values opportunities to work with both high school and college musicians, as well as music educators. The Valley Winds has shared the stage with musicians from the Youth Wind Ensemble of Springfield, West Springfield High School, Belchertown and Greenfield High School, and in their inaugural season, they ended the concert with a mass community performance of the Jacques Press’ Wedding Dance and the Berlioz Symphony for Band with over 100 musicians on stage. In their third season, the ensemble offered a conducting workshop during the Massachusetts Music Educator’s conference open to any music educator in the district. In 2020 we introduced an annual Concerto Competition, the winner of which performs with the Valley Winds at the Academy of Music. The inaugural competition was open to high school musicians and we plan for future competitions to include college musicians.
Our future is very exciting. With the encouragement of grant awards and generous donors we are embarking on recording projects, commissions, and greater visibility in Western Massachusetts and beyond. We look forward to growing our audience base and seeing you at our next concert.