Members of Virginia Tech’s Wind Ensemble will have the honor of performing at the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Southern Division Conference on Feb. 23.
“This prestigious conference is easily the most important performance we have ever given,” said Jonathan Caldwell, conductor of the Wind Ensemble and a visiting assistant professor of music in the School of Performing Arts.
The Wind Ensemble’s performance at Carnegie Hall last year helped spark the invitation to play at the CBDNA conference, which will take place at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
“The benefits of such a performance for our students and institution cannot be understated,” said Caldwell. “CBDNA is the premier professional organization for wind band conductors, and no Virginia Tech ensemble has ever performed at one of its division conferences.”
The ensemble’s journey to the conference was given a significant boost by a Virginia Tech JUMP crowdfunding campaign that had immediate engagement.
“We raised more money and got more donors in the quickest amount of time than any other group so far on the JUMP platform,” said Caldwell. “Our goal was $10,000, and we raised it in less than 48 hours. We added a stretch goal and ended up raising more than $14,000.”
Exceeding the initial goals of the campaign will allow the Wind Ensemble to livestream and record a piece by Tōru Takemitsu, a renowned composer from Japan.
Members of the Wind Ensemble used several tactics to highlight their Tampa performance: They created a call to action through their JUMP crowdfunding page, used video to share the need, and initiated a robust social media campaign.
Rachael Glasgow, a sophomore from Williamsburg, Virginia, double majoring in music education and music performance, has been spearheading the Wind Ensemble’s social media campaign.
“We have been planning our social media strategy to promote the CBDNA performance since this summer,” said Glasgow. “We have amped up posts and tried to get more student involvement to highlight their experiences.”
In a Facebook campaign called “One Word,” students have been describing their feelings and expectations about the CBDNA performance.
Jill Schmitz, a freshman accounting major from Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, chose “memorable” to describe the opportunity. This performance, Schmitz said, means “going on an adventure with some of my good friends to make new memories and have, possibly, a life-changing experience that has an impact on the importance of music in my life.”
Nick Meredith, a freshman music education and music performance double major from Wytheville, Virginia, chose “inspiring.” This performance, he said, is “a way for musicians to get together and not only perform, but to communicate and share ideas on how to make music a better craft as a whole.”
The students have also been engaging with their Facebook community through “Fun Fact Monday,” which highlights famous composers, and “Student Spotlights,” which encourages music majors to share insights into their time at Virginia Tech. The students will also be sharing content during the conference, highlighting their post-performance experiences, and detailing the lessons they have learned.
As a send-off to the conference, the Wind Ensemble will perform at the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre in the Moss Arts Center on Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. The program will feature Christopher Stark’s “Augenblick,” Tōru Takemitsu’s “Concerto de chambre,” Nick Omiccioli’s “The Field Well,” Wayne Oquin’s “A Solemn Place,” Matthew Browne’s “Kill Screen,” Dana Wilson’s “Fanfare for Karel,” Karel Husa’s “Music for Prague 1968,” and David Biedenbender’s “Stomp” with guest conductor David McKee, director of The Marching Virginians. The performance will also include the Symphony Band, with guest trumpet soloist and Virginia Tech alumnus Steve James.
Tickets for the Feb. 18 concert are $10 for general admission and $7 for students and may be purchased online, at the Moss Arts Center Ticket Office, or by calling 540-231-5300.
Written by Ryan McHugh, of Blacksburg, Virginia, a graduate student studying arts leadership in the School of Performing Arts.