The University of Saskatchewan Wind Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Darrin Oehlerking, is the premiere instrumental ensemble of wind and percussion players on the University campus, and is open by audition to any university student each semester. Comprised of approximately 45 members, the Wind Orchestra performs artistic and challenging repertoire for this large and small wind ensembles.
The legacy of the concert bands at the University of Saskatchewan began under the direction of Dr. David Kaplan in 1961. In 1967, Professor Dwaine Nelson assumed direction of the University Concert Band that later became known as the Wind Ensemble. During Professor Nelson’s tenure, he conducted the Wind Ensemble and started a second Concert Band in 1974, which he directed until 1980. Dr. Thomas Staples assisted and directed both ensembles from 1978-1982. From 1982-2001, Professor Emeritus Marvin Eckroth directed the Wind Ensemble and changed the group’s name to the Wind Orchestra in 1986. After Professor Eckroth’s retirement, Dr. Glen Gillis assumed leadership of the group until the Spring semester of 2010, and he will conduct the Concert Band during the 2012/13 academic year. Previous directors of the Concert Band include Mr. Darrell Bueckert (1995-2006), and Mr. Brian Unverricht (2006-2010).
The Wind Orchestra has a strong reputation of performing throughout Saskatchewan, Western Canada, and internationally. Twice the Wind Orchestra has performed at the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Conferences (WASBE), in Kerkrade the Netherlands (1989) and Schladming, Austria (1995). The ensemble also performed at the Canadian Music Educators National Conferences in Edmonton (1975), Vancouver (1979), and Saskatoon (1987). In 2006, the Wind Orchestra toured Texas with an invited performance at the University of North Texas College of Music, and a performance/clinic, Making Music in 3D, collaborating with Dennis Fisher and composer Samuel R. Hazo at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference in San Antonio. The ensemble recently shared the stage with the University of North Dakota on their campus in Grand Forks, furthering their international performance pedigree.
In 2005, the ensemble released a commercial CD, Winds of the Prairie: A Celebration, as a part of Centennial Saskatchewan. In 2007, a 2nd commercial CD was released, Lilium: A Celebration, as a tribute to the University’s 100th anniversary and the University Band’s 45th anniversary. In Fall 2009, The Wind Orchestra released their 3rd commercial CD, Innovare: A Celebration. In addition to recordings, the USWO is active in commissioning new works for wind band. In 2012, the ensemble partnered with the University of Saskatchewan Jazz Ensemble to commission Mr. Jeff Presslaf. The resulting work, Chorea Latina, was a piece for full wind band and big band together. The 2012/13 season will see two more world premieres, with commissions for Dr. Peter Meechan (United Kingdom) and U of S Professor Emeritus Dr. David Kaplan.
Most recently, the University of Saskatchewan Wind Orchestra has been invited to perform at two festivals in Europe during the summer of 2013. The Jungfrau Festival in Interlaken, Switzerland, and the World Music Contest in Kerkrade, Netherlands, have graciously extended invitations to the ensemble to perform in mid-July. Details are being worked out, and we hope to have a finalized itinerary during the first week of September. Please check back for more details.
2013/14 Calendar (Subject to Change)
September 20-22 - Wind Orchestra Retreat
October 3 - Joint Concert with Greystone Singers (Quance Theatre, 7:30)
October 26 - U of S Fall Convocation (TCU Place)
November 7-9 - Saskatchewan Music Conference (Delta Regina)
November 18-21 - USWO Performance Evaluations (sign up at EDUC 1048)
November 29 - USWO Fall Concert (St. Joseph High School, 7:30)
January 31 - Professional Development, Dr. Robert Duke (Texas)
January 31-February 2 - High School Select Wind Ensemble
February 7 - Joint Concert with U of S Jazz Orchestra
February 8 - U of S Conducting Workshop, Dr. Gillian MacKay (Toronto)
April 4 - U of S Spring Concert, featuring TorQ (St. Joseph High School, 7:30)
June (dates TBA) - Spring Convocation
All inquiries regarding auditions should be directed to Dr. Oehlerking via email or phone. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or (306) 966-1370
You can listen to the Wind Orchestra by clicking here.