The Lowcountry Wind Symphony began as an "idea" in June 2014 with the formation of a Planning Committee and the belief that there is a wealth of local talent interested in performing in a traditional band setting. The call for musicians was answered - slowly at first, but enthusiastically. Musicians from throughout the area - Beaufort, Bluffton, Dataw Island, Hilton Head, and Parris Island - came to an initial general meeting in September 2014. The first rehearsal was held on October 22, 2014. Now numbering more than 60 musicians, the growth has been steady and gratifying.
There is a breadth of musical experience among the players in the Lowcountry Wind Symphony. Members are active musicians from the local area, current music educators, and a growing number of High School musicians, all seeking an additional performance outlet. The band is blessed with many musicians who have chosen to pick up their instrument and play - some after many years since their last performance. The band is open to wind and percussion musicians at all levels, and strives to promote continuous learning through performance.
The Lowcountry Wind Symphony made its first public performance at a Combined Concert with the Parris Island Marine Band the the Beaufort High School Bands in May 2015. Since that initial performance, full concert seasons have been planned and presented to audiences who are now familiar with the musical quality and varied repertoire performed by the LWS.
Each season the Lowcountry Wind Symphony presents three exciting concert series to area audiences, beginning with two annual Veterans Day concerts. Programs include selections from the vast literature written for winds and percussion, and some of the great transcriptions for Band. Add in patriotic music, marches from the masters of the genre, and tunes from Broadway and the Silver Screen, and there is a recipe for broad and diverse appeal to all musical tastes.
The band rehearses weekly on Wednesdays in the Beaufort High School Band Room on Lady's Island. Brass, wind, and percussion musicians who are interested in joining the Lowcountry Wind Symphony may contact Director, Don Jemella at 917-439-0244 or e-mail LowcountryWindSymphony@gmail.com for more information.
The Lowcountry Wind Symphony is grateful for the enthusiastic support from area audiences as it continues "Exploring What's Musically Possible."
The Lowcountry Wind Symphony has performed a wide variety of music since our first concert in October 2014. Read about some highlights below.
In November 2018 we continued our tradition of presenting outstanding patriotic music with 'Saluting America's Veterans IV'. The program included traditional favorites, a sampling of music commemorating the end of WWI, and a very special musical presentation. We commissioned a work by legendary American composer Stephen Melillo entitled 'Midway'. The band presented the World Premier of this work at this concert.
Our February 2019 concert, Mystery and Mythology explored mythological characters and some of the triumphant or tragic mysteries of life through the music of Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi, Gustav Holst, Stephen Melillo and others. The program included songs such as: Triumphal March from Aida, Symphony #1: Lord of the Rings-Gandolph, Jupiter, Fate of the Gods, Winged Stallion, and more.
We traveled around the globe and through history when we joined forces with the Mary Green Chorale for our April 2019 concert, European Treasures, with masterpieces such as ‘Finlandia’ by Jean Sibelius and 'Gustav Holst’s ‘2nd Suite in F' for Military Band’, both arranged for Band and Chorale. Richard Wagner’s ‘Rienzi Overture’ and Julius Fucik’s ‘Florentiner March’ were also on the program, along with some smaller ensemble pieces. The program ended with Tchaikovsky’s popular ‘1812 Overture’ for full band and chorale. The Mary Green Chorale performed the choral sections as Tchaikovsky composed them – in Russian.
Cecilia Wright, a Senior at Beaufort High School, was presented with a $1000 check at the Lowcountry Wind Symphony’s recent Spring Concert, ‘European Treasures’ at Sea Island Presbyterian Church. This gift, given by the LWS Board and Hamner Music Company, honors Miss Wright’s two-year commitment to the French Horn section of LWS, and will go toward her college expenses as she begins a degree program in Music Education at Western Carolina University in September.
Cecilia is a musician with a diverse background. In addition to her skills as a French horn player, she served as pianist for the Beaufort High School musicals for the past three years. Her accomplishments are both academic and musical. She is an honor student, being selected for both the French National Honor Society and the National Honor Society at Beaufort High School. She plays in the Honor Band at BHS and served as Brass Section Captain of the Marching Band, and Concertmaster of the Honor Band. Her activities outside school include volunteering at a local homeless shelter and working at a local business.
Since January, Cecilia has studied music theory and harmony, and begun to explore conducting with LWS Music Director Donald F. Jemella. She made her debut on the podium, directing ‘American Flourish’ at the Lowcountry Youth Wind Symphony’s Concert on May 19th at Church of the Palms in Bluffton. She is also studying oboe and performed one piece on that instrument at the concert.
One of the missions of the Lowcountry Wind Symphony is to support and encourage young musicians. LWS is finalizing plans for a Music Scholarship program that will allow Beaufort County district music students who are accepted at a school of music for their academic studies to apply for financial consideration.
Talented high school students and adults are welcome to join LWS, depending on the instrumentation needs of the percussion, brass or wind sections. For more information about LWS, or the Lowcountry Youth Wind Symphony, please contact Donald F. Jemella at (917) 439-0244 or Bobbi Logan at (843) 705-3289.
article by: Chris Raskind; photo credit: Anita Leming