When Charles A. Maguire was hired to lead a small orchestra at a local Methodist church, he didn’t know that ensemble would morph into Las Vegas’ professional wind band. But after a handful of string players didn’t show up for rehearsal, Maguire was left with a tiny contingent of highly skilled woodwind and brass instrumentalists. The band’s artistic director says he realized then “there was a place for a wind ensemble” in Las Vegas, and officially established the Desert Winds in 2009.
The Desert Winds features up to 75 musicians depending on the performance, with approximately 40 instrumentalists and 30 singers, many of whom are music teachers and professional musicians around town. The ensemble will perform the latest installment of its annual concert series, “Colorations in Purple,” February 28 at the College of Southern Nevada.
In addition to playing a work by David Maslanka, an American composer prolific in the world of wind band music literature, the instrumental group will also premiere a piece written solely for them—a first for the Desert Winds. U.K. composer Peter Meechan created it, inspired by the tragic deaths of civilian children during the chemical attacks in Syria. “The piece represents the souls of the children rising from their bodies,” Maguire says “It’s a very poignant piece of music.”
Colorations in Purple February 28, 7:30 p.m., $15. CSN's Nicholas J. Horn Theatre, 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave., thedesertwinds.org.