The Northwinds Symphonic Band
The Northwinds Symphonic Band was organized in 1984 as a performance outlet for adult musicians, primarily music educators, in the north Georgia area. It occurred to Ron Evans, founder and former conductor of the ensemble that many band directors and music teachers in the area were performing musicians on the instrument they studied.
With the blessing and encouragement of area teachers, Evans organized and conducted the group, originally known as The North Georgia Wind Symphony. The Wind Symphony performed several concerts for the community and performed for the 1986 Georgia Music Educators In-Service Conference. The concert was a resounding success and received an enthusiastic ovation from the many music educators present.
In 1988 the Wind Symphony was invited once again to perform its very popular “Tribute to John Philip Sousa” in conjunction with the national effort to have Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” named as the official march of the United States.
In 1997 the name of the organization was changed to The Northwinds Symphonic Band, and it continues to perform a series of concerts throughout the year. The ensemble has performed for the Georgia Music Educators In-Service Conference on five different occasions, the University of Georgia January Music Festival, a joint concert with the Columbus State University Wind Ensemble, and the Northwinds continues to perform a series of concerts throughout the year. Notable guest conductors and soloists who have performed with the band include Dr. John Paynter, Dr. Dwight Satterwhite, Dr. John Culvahouse, Dr. Robert Rumbelow, Robert Sheldon, Col. Arnald D. Gabriel, Colonel John R. Bourgeois, Col. Lowell E. Graham, Dr. James Zingara, Dr. Ed Sandor, Adam Frey, Dr, D. Ray McClellan, Sam Skelton, Geoff Gallante, Ken Waters, and Cecil Welch.
The Northwinds Symphonic Band roster includes band directors, both active and retired, music teachers, college students, professional musicians and several players who pursue an occupation outside the field of music. Upon the death of Northwinds founder, Ronald J. Evans, the band continued under the direction of Conductor Emeritus Mercer Crook. Today, the band is lead by conductors Allen Beach, Elden Moates, and Vicki Pinson. The Northwinds Artistic Director is Craig Cantrell.