The East Winds Symphonic Band is comprised of musicians of all ages mainly from the east-suburban communities of Pittsburgh. As the name indicates, the band is interested in performing serious concert music, but includes a variety of music in the repertoire such as Dixieland, Broadway show medleys, and marches. The musicians come from all walks of life and professions, sharing a common interest in instrumental music. Experience levels vary, but most have experience playing in high school, college, military, or professional organizations.
Formed in 1981, the band now has over 75 musicians led by Susan Sands, our conductor since 1990. We have performed at dozens of different venues, including: Ligonier, Monroeville, McKeesport, Upper St. Clair, Crafton, Sewickley, Forest Hills, and Twin Lakes Park. Our 2011 Summer season ended as the attraction of the final day of the Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch series in Pittsburgh’s Mellon Park.
In 2004, EWSB founded the Three Rivers Community Band Festival. The event has happened annually since then and has showcased numerous community bands from our region.
2008 was an especially exciting year for the band. In April, the band traveled to Corning New York to perform in the 30th Annual Convention of the Association of Concert Bands. In December the band was notified that they were to be recognized by the John Philip Sousa Foundation as a recipient of the prestigious Sudler Silver Scroll. The Sudler Silver Scroll is North America’s most prestigious award for community concert bands. It is named after Chicago real estate magnate Louis C. Sudler, a patron of the arts who founded the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The band was formally presented with the award in May 2009.
In 2011, EWSB made its second appearance at the ACB convention, this time in Muskegon, MI. The band also commissioned a piece by Sam Hazo called Parkour. The band performed the world premier of Parkour under the direction of Mr. Hazo at a concert at Rodef Shalom Synagogue on November 6.
Rehearsals are held Monday evenings from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Trinity Christian School in Forest Hills. Concert performances occur about eight times throughout the year at various locations in and around the city.
Membership is open to anyone with instrumental experience. An audition is not required, however, acceptance is subject to ensemble performance approval by the director. New members often share a similar story, they were active and enjoyed playing in their high school or college bands but haven’t had their instruments out of the case lately. Everyone is given an opportunity to clear the cobwebs and rust from their instruments, and regain the pleasure and camaraderie of ensemble musical performance.
The East Winds has some affiliated smaller ensembles, including a saxophone ensemble and a clarinet quintet. These groups perform on some EWSB programs and independently at other venues.
If you are interested in becoming a member, or would like to inquire about contracting the band to perform for your event, please contact us.
The East Winds Symphonic Band Association is a non-profit organization, governed by a board of directors.