About the Ensemble
The Central Winds history began in 1984. Music educators Jeff Renshaw, Mark Ponzo, and Don Carducci envisioned an ensemble made up of local musicians in the Central New York landscape. The ensemble would be an outlet for local musicians who wanted more opportunities for performance. The group was originally named the Syracuse Wind Symphony and included professional musicians as well as university and public school educators. The Syracuse Wind Symphony had 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: To provide the music educator - wind/percussion player with professional level performance opportunities that will result in 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 including chamber works. The Ensemble will pursue that 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 it’s 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 any other organizational aspects of the group. As the group has evolved we have gone from having only guest conductors, to having anchor conductors: Andrew Perry (West Genesee High School) and James Tapia (Syracuse University), with some additional guest conductors.
The Central Winds has organized workshops and performed at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY and the Crane School of Music, Potsdam, NY, and has performed at the New York State Band Directors Association Symposium (1998 & 2009), and the New York State School Music Association Winter Conference (2003). To date the ensembles pinnacle accomplishment was realized in December of 2009 as it was chosen to perform at the 63rd Mid-West Clinic in Chicago, Ill. Since 2005, the ensemble has become a regular part of the Oneida Performing Arts Concert Series (Oneida, NY). Each season the group performs at an area high school in a combined concert with a side-by-side experience. In past seasons we have also held an honors concert in which each teacher in the group could nominate students to be selected to perform with us. Guest conductors include Charles Peltz (New England Conservatory), John Laverty (Syracuse University), Timothy Topolewski (Crane School of Music), Scott Levine (Crane School of Music), and Stephen Peterson (Ithaca College). Special guest conductors/artists have included Donald Hunsberger (2002), David Waybright (2003), the Boston Brass (2003 & 2006) and J. D. Shaw (2009).