From Feb. 25-27, CSU-Pueblo holds an annual festival called The Festival of Winds. The Festival of Winds is an event where students from all over the state come to audition for and play in one of four honor bands as well as get the chance to listen to several high level ensembles.
Each student’s placement was based on their audition score and placed in an ensemble based on their skill levels. The four ensembles were named Gold, Green, Blue and Red, with the Gold and Green ensembles being the ones for higher skill levels. Of the nine Mountain Vista students sent to this festival, three were placed in Gold, four were placed in Green, and two were placed in Red.
Each ensemble had their own guest conductor who were from all over the world. Colonel Václav Blahunek, Ph.D. from Czech Republic, Dr. Leonard Tan from Singapore, Dr. Amy Acklin from the University of Louisville and Dr. Steven Chang from Taiwan each brought their own unique style, culture and music choice to their respective ensemble.
Within the total of 12 strenuous hours of rehearsals, students got to listen to several top level ensembles. These included the US Air Force Falconaires Jazz Band, Air Academy Concert Band, CSU-Pueblo Jazz Ensemble I, CSU-Pueblo Wind Ensemble, and my personal favorite, The Pikes Peak Brass Band. All of these ensembles had excellent performances and were very entertaining. The CSU-Pueblo Wind Ensemble even got to play the world premiere of a piece by composer Anthony O’Toole titled “Pastorale.”
Several instrument vendors and instrument repair companies were at the festival to help with emergency repairs and sell instruments to students. Senior Ryder Strauss got a chance to try out some new saxophones from one of the vendors. “My favorite part about the festival was playing a pro horn and realizing at that moment how much I want one,” said Strauss.
The Festival of Winds was an amazing experience for the members of Mountain Vista band and I will definitely attend this event again next year.