Hello Solano Winds family,
My apologies that this email has taken a while to get to you. Opening the season in a brand new fashion has required a bit of rethinking along the way!
I am excited to announce that Solano Winds has expanded our reach into the world of small ensembles, and we now have SIX small ensembles. I'm even more heartened to report that there should be a space in a small ensemble for every member who would like to participate. I encourage each and every one of you to find an ensemble (or multiple ensembles) that works for you!
The small ensembles give us a degree of flexibility in terms of personnel, scheduling, and facility. That same flexibility, though, makes the behind the scenes logistics a bit more complex. Bear with us as we navigate this together.
We are building on our existing ensembles (Brass Quintet, Woodwind Quintet, and Flute Choir) and adding three new ones (Clarinet Ensemble, Saxophone Ensemble, and Octoberfest/Polka/Dixieland Band). The quintets are true quintets in that they are limited to five members each. Those members are the same folks that were with these groups as of March 2020. The other four ensembles are open to any member of Solano Winds. Earlier this evening, I joined the entire flute section for the first Flute Choir rehearsal of the year! (What fun!!) The clarinet and saxophone ensembles are open to all members. The Octoberfest/Polka/Dixieland Band is also open to all. We'll tailor the music for this group to the actual instrumentation we end up with, but it could include any instrument in the band - woodwinds, brass, percussion, even our stringed instruments! Percussionists, there may additionally be specific pieces performed in the other ensembles that would welcome your participation, but you likely would not be a "full time" member of those groups.
Our Board of Directors is committed to supporting these groups through the purchase of sheet music. More details on that will be shared when the groups get together. You will be issued your concert band folio at your first small ensemble rehearsal or when the concert band returns, whichever comes first.
The goal for all of these groups is to come together for a combined performance(s) in October. Details are TBA at this point. Of course, any ensemble that wants to perform in addition to this would be quite welcome to do so. I will be available to support those opportunities whenever they may arise.
I've been using an online scheduling tool (Doodle) to help our quintets find rehearsal dates/times that work for all. I will likely use that same tool to get the other ensembles off the ground. My guess is that the non-quintet ensembles would gravitate toward Tuesday evenings as that is what we all generally have kept open for concert band rehearsals. Since membership in the quintets overlaps with these other groups, the quintets might gravitate toward other evenings. But as we get each group started, we'll go through the process of determining the best day/time for those musicians involved. I will also work with those musicians to find the most appropriate rehearsal space, once we know who will be attending.
Starting with small groups allows us to make music together more safely. We continue to require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to participate. Depending upon your chosen ensemble's configuration, PPE for wind players may be appropriate. At this time, we have not mandated that as a condition of participation, but we also have not precluded that from coming our way down the road.
So, the next step is for you all to express your interest in these groups! We've already had some informal recruitment going on with some of these, but I ask that everyone complete this brief survey to let me know your current thoughts. Please complete the survey even if you do not intend to participate in any small ensemble, just so that I know what we're working with. If you could take the survey by Friday night, then I can start polling ensemble members for rehearsal date/time/location over the weekend. The survey is not asking for a commitment from you, only an expression of your interest. It should take only a minute to complete. Consider doing it right now!
I should also note that it remains our goal to return to the full concert band as soon as possible. That is unlikely before October, but we will resume as soon as we are able. Additionally, we are anxious to continue our progress with our Jazz Ensemble, which held its first and only rehearsal just days before the pandemic shut things down. That group is on hold for now, but also hope to bring it back soon.
Thanks for reading through all of this! (Just think, you could have been listening to all of this in our pre-break announcements tonight!} If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please consider joining us for our next Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, August 24. Contact Ron at email@example.com or myself for more information on that.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
Solano Winds Community Concert Band
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1) Download the App and select SOLANO WINDS as your Beneficiary
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