The Dallas Winds: The Heritage of the Wind Band and a Bold Statement for the Future!



For close to 40 years, the Dallas Winds under the direction of Jerry Junkin has brought the joy of music to countless students, Directors, and enthusiasts. Time and again with performances, recordings, and YouTube videos they have proved to be an integral part of the wind band community. Their performance last night proved why they are poised to be one of the most influential Ensembles of the new millennium.


The concert opened with a powerful fanfare by Strauss. The impact was felt by the audience. For many it was the first time they heard in person the sounds we have grown to love through recordings. The brilliance of the fanfare was cleansing in a way. Washing away the fears and anxiety we have all felt from the pandemic. A bold cry from the wind band community that we are returning to our stages to fill our concert halls with the joy of music!


The programming of Jerry Junkin displayed the rich heritage of the wind band while presenting a bold statement for the future of our community. Our heritage was presented in the mix of transcriptions by Strauss, Purcell, and Stravinsky. Junkin’s interpretation of The Glory of the Yankee Navy featuring a delicate, soft, and light trio section breathed new freshness into the music of John Philip Sousa.


However, it was the new music which projected the future of our profession. The audience was spellbound as revered composer Frank Ticheli took the podium to conduct his newest contribution to the wind band world. Bash is an amazing composition which displays Ticheli’s brilliance and constant growth as a composer. He folds new rich textures with new rhythmic ideas while developing open scoring to expose the listener to the individual sounds of the wind instruments in some ways reminiscent of some of his earlier compositions.


The evening was also highlighted by two composers who are making waves in the wind band community, Viet Cuong and Omar Thomas.


Cuong’s Re(new)al is changing the landscape of wind band composition. The listener is exposed to new sounds, new textures, and new voicings woven into a fabric of rhythmic energy. The Dallas Winds performance last night featured the Epoch Percussion Quartet. The artistry of the musicians was perfectly complimented by the visual interpretation of the composition from the quartet. The audience was mesmerized as they toasted each other with wine glasses in the first movement, revolved around a snare in the second movement and encompassed a vibraphone in the third. The Dallas Winds brought to life the intellectual brilliance of the young composer, Viet Cuong.


Also on the concert was Omar Thomas’ Come Sunday. The composer introduced his composition and reminded the audience of the influence the church has had on the wind band idiom while pointing out that we are not hearing many of the voices from an African American perspective. Last night's performance served as a beacon for directors to not only listen to the voice of diversity but to be a proud champion of diversity. Thomas’s composition is beautiful, energetic and poignant. Come Sunday has quickly become an integral part of the essential wind band repertoire.


Jerry Junkin closed the Dallas Winds concert with Peter Meechan’s Song of Hope. Maestro Junkin reminded us of the struggles our profession has had over the past two years. Where concert halls and band rooms were silenced in the pandemic, last night’s performance was a vivid reminder of of the hope we have for the future - and there is no doubt Jerry Junkin and the Dallas Winds will be an integral part of that future.

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