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ASU Wind Symphony 1 of 8 ensembles selected to perform at regional conference

Symphony performing onstage.

ASU Wind Symphony students performing at ASU Gammage. Photo courtesy the School of Music, Dance and Theatre

November 13, 2023

The Arizona State University Wind Symphony is one of eight ensembles selected to perform at the combined Western/Northwestern Division Conference of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 27–30, 2024.

“I am excited for this opportunity to travel with the wind symphony to showcase their hard work and talent,” said Jamal Duncan, associate director of bands and assistant professor in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. “The CBDNA is the gold standard for collegiate wind band performance, and to be selected to perform at this regional conference is an honor.”

The conference regions include Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, as well as British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.

The ASU Wind Symphony is composed of nearly 70 undergraduate and graduate students who represent majors from within the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, as well as from across ASU.

“I am excited for this trip because I get to showcase the talents of my friends in Las Vegas,” said Patrick Newman, trumpet player and undergraduate music learning and teaching student.

The members of the ASU Wind Symphony hail from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Washington, and internationally from China, Taiwan and Turkey.

“I am from Las Vegas, and I am excited to share our music from one desert valley to another,” said Madison Willacey, oboe player and undergraduate music therapy student.

Duncan said he submitted unedited recordings without the band’s knowledge because he did not want their music-making to only be about being selected to perform. The students worked hard and delivered inspired performances, he said, which resulted in their invitation by peer review to perform at the conference.

ASU and CBDNA have a long relationship that began in 1964, when ASU hosted the CBDNA national conference in the then-brand-new Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium. Most recently, the conference returned in 2019 to ASU Gammage and the Tempe Center for the Arts.

While the ASU Chamber Winds and the ASU Wind Ensemble have both been featured at various CBDNA conferences, this is the first time that the ASU Wind Symphony has performed at such an event.

“This trip will allow students to delve deeper into their music-making in more musical detail by being able to repeat pieces at home and away,” Duncan said. “Conferences like this are also great networking events. Our students will hopefully make friends in the other ensembles that they will interact with throughout their careers.”

The ASU Wind Symphony has planned a two-day trip, during which they will perform for the conference and for children at local schools.

In order to make this experience a reality for the students, the ASU Wind Symphony has partnered with PitchFunder to help fund the trip.

“We are hoping that supporters, alumni and champions of these wonderful students will consider donating to allow us to make this trip come true without having to burden the students with any of the travel-related costs,” said Duncan.

Information about contributing to the students’ experience is available at the ASU Wind Symphony PitchFunder webpage.

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