The Festival of Winds, Brass and Percussion offers students an opportunity to perform in ensembles of like instruments under the direction of artists from the VCU’s wind and percussion faculty, and to spend the day in concentrated study of their individual instruments. In the past 30 years, the festival has grown to include eight homogenous instrumental ensembles, such as the clarinet choir and percussion ensemble, and includes more than 300 students each year. It has served as a model for similar events at other universities across the United States.
2018 Festival of Winds, Brass & Percussion
VCU’s 31st annual Festival of Winds, Brass and Percussion will be held on Saturday, January 20, 2018. VCU’s Monroe Park Campus Students must be nominated by their instrumental music or private teachers in the fall and invitations are issued in December.
The cost for attending the festival is a nominal fee of $30, which includes lunch at the VCU dining hall and a pizza dinner before the concert. A free t-shirt is included for participants who register before January 5.
Each student should bring:
- A pencil
- A collapsible music stand labeled with your name
- Concert attire — no band uniforms, just nice, dress-up clothes
- Your instruments
One of the most exciting features of the Festival of Winds is the unique ensemble experiences that are offered. Rarely do students have the opportunity to perform within ensembles made up of just the instruments from their instrument family.
Brass and percussion
- Low Brass Ensemble: Directed by Ross Walter, this ensemble is comprised of trombones, euphoniums, and tubas.
- Horn Choir: Directed by Patrick Smith, horn professor at VCU.
- Trumpet Choir: Directed by Rex Richardson, trumpet professor at VCU and member of Rhythm and Brass.
- Percussion Ensemble: Directed by Justin Alexander, percussion professor at VCU. Each student will have the opportunity to play a variety of percussion instruments throughout the day.
- Double Reed Ensemble: Oboists and bassoonists join forces to perform music of many styles and genres under the direction of Alyssa McKeithen and Bruce Hammel. This is an experience unlike anything these young musicians will find in their school programs.
- Saxophone Choir: Directed by Al Regni, legendary saxophonist of the New York Philharmonic, Broadway, and countless recordings. This ensemble utilizes the entire family, including bass and soprano saxophones.
- Flute Choir: Directed by Tabatha Easley, students have the opportunity to play the piccolo, alto, and bass flute on works specifically written for flute orchestra. Works range from Latin style to traditional Baroque; educational and fun simultaneously!
- Clarinet Choir: This ensemble is orchestral in scope and utilizes the entire clarinet family, from contra-bass clarinet to E-flat soprano clarinet. Conducted by Tiffany Valvo, recently appointed Assistant Professor of Clarinet, the Clarinet Choir performs outstanding literature.
For the first time, students will be offered a few options for learning experiences in a variety of topics. For example, the following sessions are being considered for this year’s festival:
- Learn techniques to make professional sounding recordings using the latest in technology without having to spend a ton of money. Many opportunities for music experiences during the summer or school year, or for college admission will hinge on the quality of the recording you submit.
- Have an audition coming up? Learn how to be at your best in the audition room. Find out what to expect at auditions for music schools and how to best represent yourself.
- Take a tour of the VCU campus to see the incredible new facilities that have sprung up all over campus including our dining facilities, recently renovated library, new dormitories, etc.
- Tentative meet-and-greet with The Peppas