Gustavus Wind Orchestra Earns CBDNA Invite Posted on July 22nd, 2015 by

The Gustavus Wind Orchestra, James Patrick Miller, conductor

The Gustavus Wind Orchestra, James Patrick Miller, conductor

Adding another accolade to its storied, 137-year history, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra has received word from the College Band Directors National Association that the ensemble has been honored with an invitation to perform at the 2016 CBDNA conference at Iowa State University.

The invitation, a first for the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, followed an audition process by the association that included unedited recordings of 2014-15 performances, the entire past season repertoire and a proposed program for the conference performance. The North Central division of CBDNA includes collegiate and university programs in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas. The Gustavus Wind Orchestra, under the direction of James Patrick Miller, was the only collegiate ensemble from Minnesota invited to perform at the 2016 conference.

For this conference titled “….. and all that Jazz,” Conductor James Patrick Miller has developed a program that reflects that theme. The Gustavus Wind Orchestra will open its concert with the Dmitri Shostakovich “Waltz” from Jazz Suite No. 2, led by Dr. Karrin Meffert-Nelson as guest conductor, followed by Gunther Schuller’s Nature’s Way under the direction of Dr. Heidi Johanna Miller. Former Director of Trumpet & Jazz Studies at Gustavus, Dr. Steve Wright, will then join Conductor Miller and the wind orchestra to perform Elegy for Miles Davis by¬†Richard Rodney Bennett. The premiere performance of a new work, as yet untitled by composer Katherine Johns Bergman ’07, will follow. Bergman, a member of both the GWO and the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band while a student, was commissioned to write the piece for the ensemble’s 2016 spring concert tour. The Gustavus Wind Orchestra will conclude its performance with David Maslanka’s Symphony No. 4.

Conductor James Patrick Miller

Conductor James Patrick Miller

In a note announcing the honor, Dr. James Patrick Miller wrote, “I am humbled and honored that the Gustavus Wind Orchestra has been selected to perform at the North Central College Band Directors National Association Conference. CBDNA is an organization that I have been closely involved with now for a long time, and to bring GWO to CBDNA for the first time is an honor that our students will be able to carry with them for their entire lives. This performance invitation places GWO squarely in the national spotlight in collegiate wind band performance; I could not be more proud of our students.

“I wish to thank President Rebecca Bergman, Provost Mark Braun, Dean Paula O’Loughlin, Vice President Tom Crady, Scott Moore, chair of the music department, Al Behrends, director of fine arts, and all of my colleagues for their support of this professional endeavor. It is impossible to bring a large ensemble to a national conference without great administrative support. We are blessed here at Gustavus to have administrative leaders who understand the value of arts education and music performance.

“I also wish to acknowledge my colleagues Heidi Johanna Miller and Karrin Meffert-Nelson for their hard work and dedication to our wind orchestra program and for their willingness to be involved in this project. Thanks too to our former trumpet and jazz professor, Steve Wright, and alumna/composer Katherine Bergman ’07 for accepting the invitation to join GWO at CBDNA. And, of course, none of this would be possible without the vision and leadership of Douglas Nimmo, who led the Gustavus Wind Orchestra for 27 years prior to my appointment in 2014.

“Our concert will be early in the afternoon on February 27 and we all hope that our supporters will make the drive to Ames to cheer us on. We all look forward to bringing what we do at Gustavus to CBDNA!”

The Gustavus Wind Orchestra/Gustavus Band was founded in 1878 as the first music ensemble at Gustavus Adolphus College and was a joint venture with the City of St. Peter. It is believed to be the oldest ensemble west of the Mississippi and has presented concerts throughout the United States, Scandinavia and Europe. Its touring history includes concert tours with the legendary Australian composer Percy Grainger, the first concert by an American ensemble in East Germany after the wall was opened in 1990 and performances across the country.

While conference attendance at the CBDNA is restricted to its members, attendance at the Gustavus Wind Orchestra’s concert is open to the public at no charge. As the schedule for the 2016 conference has not been set at the time of this publication, please watch here for the time and location of the GWO appearance. Additional information about the Gustavus Wind Orchestra is located at:


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