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 2014/15 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. The Wind Orchestra has twice performed at the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Conferences (WASBE) under the direction of Professor Marvin Eckroth, 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, under the direction of Dr. Glen Gillis, 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. Under the direction of Dr. Darrin Oehlerking, the ensemble has performed in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and collaborated with the Greystone Singers on a European tour in 2013 with performances in Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands. The ensemble has again garnered an invitation to the 2015 WASBE Conference in San Jose, California.
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 ensemble commissioned Dr. Peter Meechan (United Kingdom) and performed I.S.S. Flyover. During the 2013/14 season, another exciting commission saw the percussion quartet TorQ visit campus to perform Dinuk Wijeratne’s Invisible Cities – a concerto for percussion and wind ensemble.
In addition to the WASBE Conference, the 2014/15 season will see the ensemble perform at the Mayor’s Cultural Gala in Saskatoon on September 20th, and embark on a small tour with the U of S Jazz Ensemble in October.
September 2-5 Auditions
September 19-21 Fall Retreat
September 20 Mayor’s Cultural Gala – TCU Place
October 16-19 Tour with U of S Jazz Ensemble
October 25 Fall Convocation Ceremonies – TCU Place
November 28 Fall Concert, 7:30 – St. Joseph High School
January 30-Fenbruary 1 High School Select Wind Orchestra Weekend
February 6 USWO/USJE Concert, 7:30 – Quance Theatre
March 20 Winter Concert, 7:30 – St. Joseph High School
June 1-4 Spring Convocation Ceremonies – TCU Place
July 13-19 WASBE Conference – San Jose, California
All inquiries regarding auditions should be directed to Dr. Oehlerking via email or phone. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or (306) 966-1370
2014 Audition Material:
You can listen to the Wind Orchestra by clicking here.