About the Ensemble
The Central Winds: A Music Educators’ Wind Ensemble was established in 1984. Central New York Music educators Jeff Renshaw, Mark Ponzo, and Don Carducci envisioned an ensemble comprised of exceptional local musicians eager for more opportunities for performance. The ensemble was originally named the Syracuse Wind Symphony and included public school and university educators alongside other professional musicians. The Syracuse Wind Symphony performed its first concert in 1985.
In 1987, the group reorganized under the auspices of the Onondaga County Music Educators’ Association and created our existing mission statement: It is the mission of our Ensemble to provide the instrumental music educator with professional level Wind Band performance opportunities that will result in personal growth, camaraderie, satisfaction, and enjoyment. Existing primarily for its membership, the Ensemble shall engage the best conductors available and perform a variety of high quality literature. The Ensemble will pursue the planning of educational activities that will benefit student-musicians, other music educators, and the community at large.
In 2000, the group was revitalized and refreshed with the addition of an advisory board and a name change to the Central New York Music Educators’ Wind Ensemble and later to Central Winds: A Music Educators’ Wind Ensemble, to better reflect its membership. The group is now run by a nine member advisory board, which consists of the General Manager, Personnel Director, Secretary, Treasurer, Webmaster, Publicity Chairperson, and three Members at Large. The board is responsible for hiring quality conductors, setting the rehearsal and performance schedule, seeking performing opportunities, and serving other organizational aspects of the group. Mr. Andrew Perry (West Genesee High School) serves as the Central Winds Artistic Director and he and Dr. James Tapia (Syracuse University) are our named Co-Conductors of the ensemble.
Central Winds offers four to five local concerts yearly, and has also traveled to perform at the Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College, the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, and presented concerts at the New York State Band Directors’ Association (NYSBDA) Winter Symposium and New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Winter Conference. In both 2009 and 2016, the Central Winds performed at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. In 2019, the Central Winds performed at the the Texas Bandmasters Convention in San Antonio, Texas. Our ensemble has worked with exceptional guest conductors and artists including Charles Peltz, John Laverty, Timothy Topolewski, Scott Levine, Stephen Peterson, Donald Hunsberger, David Waybright, the Boston Brass, J. D. Shaw, and Timothy McAllister. Aside from our yearly concerts, the Central Winds is proud to sponsor educational initiatives across Central New York including summer study for young instrumentalists, youth wind ensembles and orchestras, side-by-side playing experiences, masterclasses and chamber programs, and concerto competitions.